Armed with a few tools and a little knowledge, you learn how to plant roses like a pro.
To plant your roses you will need… rose plants, a pair of gloves, compost or peat moss, bone meal, shovel, small hand rake, a pH test kit, water and mulch.
When it comes to roses, choice abounds. Rose varieties include shrub and landscape, floribunda, climber, miniature, hybrid tea, grandiflora and tree.
To achieve beautiful landscaping that resembles groundcover, choose shrub roses. Hybrid tea and floribunda produce large fragrant blooms, but differ in the number of blooms produced.
The hybrid tea plant yields one blossom per stem while the floribunda can produce up to 15 blossoms per stem.
If you are new to rose planting, visit your local nursery or garden center for advice. The gardening experts at the nursery will help you select the best type of plant for your soil, climate, and intended purpose.
They can also suggest special hybrid rose types cultivated specifically for your area.
When to Plant
Roses love warm weather. The best time to plant potted roses is after the last frost and before the weather turns hot. Transplanting and summer heat are sources of stress for potted roses.
Planting early allows the roses to recover from the stress of transplanting before being forced to tackle the summer heat.
Plant bare root roses in March or early April. In some locations, planting in late winter is acceptable.
If you live in an area with heavy rainfall, wait for the soil to dry out before planting.
Choose Your Site
Help your roses thrive by planting them in areas that get at least 6 hours of sun a day. Choose a spot with good air circulation to prevent excess moisture buildup and disease.
Avoid high wind areas since too much wind can damage delicate plants. If you live where high winds prevail, try planting next to a wall or fence.
Choose a spot without eves, gutters and overhangs to prevent damage from falling water or ice.
Roses are snobs when it comes to sharing space, and they hate being crowded. Some rose varieties will tolerate non-invasive plant species; however, others will not.
Cater to your roses by giving each plant at least 2 or 3-feet of space.
Prepare the Soil
To grow, roses need nutrient rich soil. If your soil is hard, replace it with crumbly soil called loam. Or, mix your existing soil with loam.
If you are replacing a rosebush with a new one, completely remove the old soil and replace it with fresh loam.
Before you plant your roses, check the pH level of the soil. Test kits are inexpensive and available where gardening plants and supplies are sold. Roses prefer a soil pH level that is 5.5 to 7.0.
Test the drainage capacity of the area by digging a hole and filling it with water. The water should drain from the hole in about three hours. If not, you will need to till the ground or opt for a raised bed option.
Dig the Holes
Roses need a comfortable and spacious home to grow. For potted plants, dig a hole that is a little deeper and wider than the pot. Put the pot, plant and all, into the hole to check for size.
The crown, which is the area where the plant grows above ground, should be just a little lower than the top of the hole. If the hole is too deep, add more soil and compost.
If the hole is too shallow, use your shovel or hand rake to make it deeper.
For bare root roses, dig a hole that is about 15 inches deep and 20 inches wide. Build a mound at the bottom of the hole to support the plant.
The hole should be a little deeper in you live in an area where the temperature falls below zero degrees in the winter.
Loosen the dirt on the sides and bottom of the hole with a hand rake or your fingers to make it easy for the roots to spread and grow. Mix the soil or soil and loam combination with compost or peat moss and a handful of bone meal.
Peat moss is best if your soil is sandy. Compost and peat moss contain organic ingredients and the bone meal stimulates bloom production.
Prepare the Plants
Water potted plants to get them ready for the move. Add water until you see it begin to drain from the bottom of the pot. Carefully remove damaged leaves, stems and buds. Soak bare root plants in a bucket of water overnight.
Ready, Set, Plant!
Roses appreciate gentle hands, especially during the planting process. For potted roses, loosen the pot by squeezing and pressing in with your hands.
If this fails to loosen the plant completely, run a smooth-edged butter knife along the inside of the pot.
Remove the plant from the container. Use your fingers to loosen a tightly packed rootball. Be careful not to break off too many roots as you work. Alternatively, you can use a knife to score the rootball.
Make three cuts around the ball, from top to bottom, about ½-inch deep. When the roots are loose, gently place the plant in the center of the hole.
Hold the plant with one hand to keep it steady as you work. Fill the hole with soil until it is halfway full and then water. Allow the water to drain before filling the rest of the hole with soil.
When full, use your hands to pack the soil. The goal is to remove the air pockets without packing the soil so tight it inhibits circulation.
For bare root plants, place the plant on the center of the mound at the bottom of the hole and use the same process for filling the hole with soil and water.
Finish your rose planting exercise by making a mulch basin around the bottom of the plant. The mulch basin helps keep the water where you intended so the roots of your plant stay moist.
Water generously. If the plant sinks a little, use your hands to wiggle it back in place. Pat the soil around the base again to help hold the plant steady.
Learning how to plant roses is the first step; learning to care for them is equally important. Like any living organism, roses need the right amount of nutrients to survive and thrive.
Choose organic fertilizers with the numbers 5-5-5 on the label. The numbers stand for the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium contained in the fertilizer.
Fertilizers with higher nutrient content can damage or burn your roses.
Thirsty roses are unhealthy roses, and so are drenched roses. Protect your delicate blooms by ensuing they get the right amount of water on a consistent basis.
Keep the soil around the bushes moist but not overly soggy. Do not to let the soil completely dry out and never allow standing water. A lack of water can kill a plant; standing water will cause root rot.
Keep rain from pooling around the base of your plants by keeping the soil tilled so that it drains well.
Ideally, roses need about one gallon of water each week. Eliminate the uncertainty of when and how much to water with a simple finger test.
Insert a finger into the soil at the base of the plant about 2-inches deep. If the soil is dry, add water. Give your roses a head start by watering them in the morning before the sun heats up the day.
Water slowly so that the water seeps deep into the soil.
Learning how to plant roses is fun. Keep the joy coming all season long with these simple tips.
- If gardening falls far down on your ‘to-do’ list, choose a rose variety that is disease resistant and low maintenance.
- Plant your roses so that the prettiest side of the bush is the most visible.
- Use a soaker hose to water slowly and to keep the top of your roses dry. Getting water on the upper part of the plant can cause black spot.