HOW TO PLANT ROSES
27 Jul 2022
By Michael Jacobson
Roses are the quintessential flower and brighten up any garden by providing big, colorful blooms. They are perennial, so as long as they have the right conditions and are looked after well, they should flower year after year.
In our guide for how to plant roses we’ll take a look at everything you need to do, including choosing the right location, all the correct tools, and the step-by-step process for planting to ensure you get beautiful blooms.
Where’s the best place to plant roses?
Roses need plenty of sun in order to reach their full potential, so choose a spot where they’ll receive at least six hours (or ideally more) of direct sunlight. If you live in a location that experiences long, very hot and dry summers, then planting roses somewhere that receives shade later in the day will also help.
Roses will grow in many different types of soil but do prefer loamy soil that is neutral to semi-acidic. If you are planting your roses in soil that is poor or particularly heavy with clay, you can compensate by adding additional compost.
It’s important to note that a rose's roots will spread quite far - up to a meter wide and a meter deep, so make sure there’s plenty of space for them to grow.
Roses need to be watered regularly, however, if the soil doesn’t drain well it can lead to damaged roots, so ensure the spot where you intend to plant your roses has adequate drainage.
When is the best time to plant a rose?
To help your roses establish and bloom during the summer months, you’ll want to plant them during the spring after the last frost. Ideal temperatures for planting are between 40 and 60 degrees.
You can also plant during the fall months, at least a month (but ideally longer) before the first frost of the year. This enables the plant to establish so it can go dormant during the winter months.
What you’ll need
The tools and equipment you’ll need to plant your roses are:
- A spade or small shovel
- Bone meal/superphosphate
- Compost (if planting in poor soil or clay)
- Rose fertilizer (for later)
How to plant roses step by step
Once you’ve decided on the perfect spot for your roses, have all the correct tools and materials and, most importantly, your new rose plant, you’re ready to start planting.
Step 1: Prepare the area for planting
Get a good idea of the size of your rose plant's root ball, which may be fairly small (but remember they will grow up to a meter both horizontally and vertically). Use the size of the root ball as a guide for how big you should dig your hole, which should be slightly wider than the root ball. Expect to dig a hole around 18 inches wide by 18 inches deep.
Add a small amount of bone meal or superphosphate to the bottom of the hole, as well as some compost to add additional nutrients.
As we’ve already highlighted, ideal temperatures for planting roses are between 40 and 60 degrees. This helps the plant establish itself before the high temperatures of summer.
If you’re planting multiple rose plants, don’t overcrowd them. Overcrowding can disrupt airflow and encourage the spread of diseases, and lead to plants fighting for nutrients and moisture from the soil. Make sure there is plenty of space in between each plant.
Step 2: Prepare the rose plant
Ensure the roots are not tight against the root ball and are hanging loose. This will allow them to become established and grow much quicker.
If you’re planting an established rose plant, ideally in early spring, slightly prune the canes to help the plant to focus its energy on the roots.
Step 3: Plant the rose
Place the root ball in the hole, allowing the roots to spread out. Water the ground, then gradually replace the soil, sprinkling a light layer of bone meal or superphosphate every couple of inches. You may also want to add compost or mulch for additional nutrients. Once all the soil is replaced, ensure that the graft union is buried.
Step 4: Water the planted rose
Thoroughly water your new rose, and add an inch or two of mulch around the area. You should then water your plant every two days, making sure you don’t let it get too dry during long periods of hot weather.
Step 5: Ongoing care for your rose plant
Once planted, ensuring it receives enough sunlight and water, your roses should establish and grow within eight weeks - sometimes sooner if conditions are ideal.
During the spring, once the plant starts to leaf, feed it with rose fertilizer. You can continue to do this every few weeks to encourage growth throughout the season (some fertilizers may differ so check the instructions before feeding your roses). You’ll then want to stop feeding your roses a month or so before the first frost of the year.
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