Q. I received a rose bush for Mother’s Day and kept it in a clay pot on the deck because it is the only sunny spot. Will it survive the winter in a clay pot. Any special precautions? Also, it has had black leaf problem. Will that kill it this winter? Thanks. Maureen – Holmdel NJ
A. It depends how close the pot is to the house. There is always a chance that a clay pot will break if there are freezes and thaws. Unless the clay pot is sealed the trapped water in the clay pot expands as it freezes and can crack the pot. Also see if you can find the USDA hardiness zone of your rose. It may be printed on the label that came with the plant. You can leave plants in containers safely if they are rated for two zones lower than your zone. I would guess you are at a zone 7 (Having grown up in NJ I know you are near the shore). That means a plant rated to zone 5 could be grown in a pot. The alternative is to find a sunny location in the yard and sink the pot in a hole until spring. The black spot disease you have on the roses won’t be active during the winter but the overwintering spores may attack your rose again in the spring. Once the plant is actively growing again can use organic neem oil to control the blackspot.