In the Garden
In the Garden Home
Fertilizing your roses: A step-by-step guide
Planting Roses: A How to Guide
Pruning your roses: why, how and when
Mulching: benefits and how tos
Selecting the Right Rose
Summer Rose Care Tips
Late Summer Roses
Gifts from Your Rose Garden
Christmas Treats for the Birds
Perennial Companions for Roses
Birds: Our beautiful garden allies
Getting Your Roses Ready
Eat Your Roses! Rose Recipes
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Planting Roses: A "How To" Guide
O.K., so you dig a hole and drop in the rose and that's it, right?!
Well, you could plant your rose that way, but chances are your rose
just might not grow real well. So, we've got a few pointers for
you -- from the basics that you might have heard or read about before,
to a few tricks and tips we've learned along the way.
Planting a Rose
thing to know is that roses can be purchased two different ways:
bareroot or in a container. If you ordered your rose through the
mail, then it's probably bareroot, meaning it arrived dormant (no
leaves) and wasn't in a container. If you picked up your rose at
your local nursery, then it's probably in a container.
Bareroot roses have different planting needs than container or
potted roses. So, we've got two sets of "what to do first" instructions
described below. After that, we move on to the basics of digging
in the dirt.
Don't worry about any of this -- remember to have fun! All we're
basically doing is digging a hole in the ground and putting a rose
in it, then filling in the hole with dirt again. We just elaborate
on the digging part a bit.
Preparing Your New Rose for Planting
Bareroot roses are shipped when they are dormant. They aren't
actively growing but they need your immediate attention as soon
as you receive them.
First, take your rose out of the package and check it over. Cut
off any broken canes or roots that might have been damaged during
Next, soak your rose in a pail of room-temperature water (keep
all roots immersed) for at least four hours, but no more than 24
hours, before you plant. Soaking helps to rehydrate the plant. You
may want to add a biostimulant such as ROOTS™ or SuperThrive™ or
a Vitamin B solution to the water to reduce transplant shock and
If you can't plant your roses right away, soak your rose in water
for four hours, then place it in a plastic bag. Keep the top of
the bag open, and store the plants in a cool (40 to 50 F), dark
place; your basement or garage may be a suitable place. Keep the
plant moist—not soaking wet—by misting it daily. Also, don't let
it overheat or freeze.
Try to plant your bareroot roses as soon as possible! If you have
to store your plants for more than two weeks, plant them in 2-gallon
containers and keep them well-watered and protected from the wind.
If you purchased container-grown roses, remember that they are
actively growing and have probably been watered every day at the
nursery. So, don't neglect them! If you can't plant your potted
roses right away, make sure they are watered every day -- they can
dry out fast. And, keep them in full sun.
Selecting a Place to Plant Your Rose
Roses are tough plants, but they will grow best under the right
conditions. To produce the best show of blossoms, roses need at
least 6 hours of full sun daily; preferably in the morning to dry
the leaves and reduce the risk of foliage disease. Also, try not
to plant the roses next to large trees, because they will compete
with the roses for sun, water and nutrients.
The planting site should have soil that drains well. If water
puddles at the site for more than an hour after it rains, you'll
need to improve the drainage. Placing tiles, french drains, or gravel
two to three feet below the planting hole can help improve drainage.
Make sure the site you select will accommodate the eventual size
of the mature rose plant. A good rule of thumb is to always give
the plant a foot more space than you think it will need. Giving
your plant extra space will also increase air circulation around
the plant, and help reduce foliage disease.
Preparing the Site
First, prepare the planting site by removing all other vegetation—either
mechanically or chemically. A little extra work now will save you
a lot of weeding time later.
Second, incorporate lots of organic matter. No matter what type
of soil you have, you can improve it with organic matter. Compost
is one of the best sources of organic matter and it is readily available
either in bags from your local garden center, or from your neighborhood
leaf-composting center. Composted manure is a great soil amendment;
however, make sure it is well-cured so it doesn't burn the roots.
Roses are heavy feeders, so be generous with compost.
Planting Your Rose
- Prepare the planting site by removing all other
vegetation—either mechanically or chemically. A little extra work
now will save you a lot of weeding time later.
- Dig a hole. The hole you dig for your rose
plant should be at least 1˝ feet deep by 1˝ feet wide (yes, that's
big) with a mound in the center of the hole on which to place
your rose. A large hole allows you to spread out the roots without
bending or wrapping them. Keep the topsoil from this hole (first
eight inches of dirt) and discard the rest.
- Mix the topsoil that you took out of the hole
with well-cured compost or very good black soil (50:50 ratio)
and one-half cup of bone meal or phosphorous (0-20-0). Blend this
- Place the plant in the hole to a depth that
will keep all the roots about one or two inches below the soil
line after the hole is filled in. Spread or fan the roots over
the mound in the bottom of the hole. If the roots wrap around
the bottom of the hole you can do two things: a) dig a deeper
hole to accomodate the roots, or b) prune the roots to fit the
hole (as long as the hole is at least 1˝ feet deep).
- Refill one-third of the hole with the amended
soil, and lightly firm the soil around the plant (no stomping,
please!) Then fill up the rest of the hole with the remaining
soil and gently press down.
- Water, water, water. Slowly pour about two
or three gallons of water over and around the base of the plant
or until it pools on top of the soil. If the water is running
away from the plant and not soaking in, make a one-inch-high wall
of soil around the circumference of the plant about one foot from
the center. This will keep the water from running away and allow
it to soak in around the plant. The most important thing you can
give your new rose is water. Water settles the soil around the
root system, and helps the roots transport nutrients to the plant.
- IMPORTANT STEP THAT IS OFTEN OVERLOOKED: Mound
up soil over the crown of the plant to about six-inches
high so that at least two inches of the canes show. Keep the soil
there for about two weeks—it will help keep the newly planted
rose from drying out. After two weeks, gently pull or wash away
the soil mound. Be careful with this process—new leaf buds can
be easily knocked off.
back the top of the plant so that there are only 3 to 4 inches
of canes showing above the mounded soil. long. Prune back to a
bud that faces out—this encourages the new growth to grow
out rather than into the center of the plant.
- Place mulch around the base of the plant about
three inches thick. Some good types of mulch include: wood chips/bark,
compost or cocoa bean hulls. Mulch reduces moisture loss, adds
organic matter, suppresses weed growth and keeps the feeder roots
of your roses cool.
Important!! Newly planted roses are very vulnerable
to heat and dry weather, so shelter them from wind and keep them
well watered so they don't dry out.
What's Next? O.K., so now
you've planted your rose. Want to know how to make them grow? Check
out our previously published article on fertilizing and other cultural
information available on this Web site: