Roses can be planted from early
spring into early fall. Earlier planting is preferred to late
planting. Spring or early summer planting allows plenty of time for
good root establishment before winter, whereas planting after
mid-summer may not. Other advantages of spring planting are that
selection and availability of quality plants are usually better than
later in the season.
Planting time varies based on how
plants are packaged. Bare root roses should be planted in early to
mid-spring before the new shoots start to develop. Typically, this
will be late March into early April unless soils remain wet.
Container-grown roses can be planted anytime from spring to early
fall. Spring planting should be done after danger of killing frost,
usually late April to late-May in zones 5 to 7.
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Roses thrive in a rich, loamy,
well-drained garden soil with a fairly wide pH range of 5.5 to
7.0. Do a soil test if you know your soil is particularly acidic or
alkaline, so that corrections can be made, if needed, as the soil is
Most soils, whether clay or sandy,
benefit from the addition of organic matter which improves drainage,
aeration, and nutrient holding capacity. Spread a two to four inch
layer of organic matter on the soil surface. Organic matter sources
include compost, rotted manure, leaf mold, peat moss, composted
sewage sludge, fine grain potting bark or other source. Then, apply
three pounds of superphosphate per 100 square feet to encourage root
growth. This is the only nutrient added at planting. Finally, turn
the organic matter and superphosphate into the soil with a shovel or
garden spade to a depth of 12 inches.
If planting a rose in an existing
bed, dig out enough soil to form a hole approximately 15 inches deep
and 18 inches wide. Mix three ounces of superphosphate and
approximately three shovelfuls of orgater with the soil removed from
the hole. This becomes nic matthe backfill soil for the new plant.
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Do NOT overcrowd your roses.
Plant spacing varies according to the growth habit of the rose
plant. Plants growing too close together will be tall and spindly
and produce only a few small flowers.
Follow these general spacing
guidelines for best results:
- Hybrid teas, grandifloras,
floribundas, polyanthas 18 to 30 inches
- Climbers 8 to 12 feet
- Miniatures 12 to 15 inches
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Bare Root Roses
If you are planting bare-root
roses, you'll want to plant them as quickly as you can after
receiving them. They should be planted as soon as the soil can be
worked in early spring. If you must store them, soak the roots
in water for 4 hours, then keep the plant in an open plastic bag in
a cool dark place, misting with water occasionally.
If you are storing them for more than 2 weeks, pot temporarily in a
container of potting soil or damp sawdust, keeping them moist and
protected from weather.
Before planting, soak the roots in water overnight. Some people will
add Vitamin B1 or rooting hormones to the water. If you do,
keep the leftover water to pour on the roses once planted.
Cut off any dead or broken roots. Try to handle the roots
gently. The tiny hair-like rootlet tips are where all of the
action is when it comes to drawing water and nutrients from the
to maintain 3-5 canes per plant, and each cane should be pruned back
to 3-5 buds per cane. Any cane thinner than a pencil should be
removed. Buds are easy to spot as raised oval areas on the cane.
Roots may need additional pruning to remove damaged portions or to
fit the planting hole.
Planting holes should be dug wide
enough and deep enough to comfortably accept the roots of the plant.
Make a cone-shaped mound of soil in the center of the hole to
support the plant, with the bud union at soil level. Fill the hole
about 2/3 full of soil and add water, making a slurry of soil that
gets between the roots. Do not tamp the soil, as this compacts it
and destroys soil structure. After the water has drained down, add
more soil and repeat the water fill process until the original soil
level has been reached. Since the soil is loose, the plant will sink
a little after planting, the bud union will end up 1-2 inches below
soil level. This is where the bud union should be for roses growing
in northern climates because this helps to provide some winter
protection for the bud union.
canes of dormant, newly planted bare-root roses need to be protected
from drying winds and handled to encourage maximum bud break.
To accomplish this, a temporary
soil mound is placed over the canes to a depth of about 8-10 inches.
This process is called "sweating" and is done to keep the
canes moist to encourage maximum bud break. The soil is left in
place for about 2-3 weeks or until new growth starts. When new
growth does start, gently wash away the soil with a hose so as not
to disturb the new growth.
Other methods that works well are
to wrap the canes in burlap that is kept moist or to mound the canes
in sphagnum moss. Some rose growers use brown paper grocery bags to
sweat their roses.
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roses are the easiest to plant because you have a plant that is
already growing. Potted roses offer the flexibility of being ready
for planting throughout the growing season. With containers, simply
tip the pot on its side and tap the root ball out. If the root ball
doesn't come out easily, use a pair of tin snips, shears, or knife
to cut the container off.
Set the root ball into the prepared
hole so the bud union is at the recommended depth. Refill the hole
with soil and water as with bare-root roses. In the case of potted
roses, you will not have to cover the canes with soil or sweat the
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Roses are sometimes offered for
sale in cardboard boxes labeled "plant them box and
all." Well don't. Experience shows that this
practice discourages quick rooting and establishment of the plant.
There are two options for boxed roses. If the rose is planted in
early spring and is still dormant, simply take it out of the box and
treat it like a bare-root rose.
If the plant has broken dormancy
and is growing, cut the bottom off the box and set the rose in the
hole at the proper depth. Then, cut through the sides of the box and
carefully peel the box away. Refill the hole with soil and water as
for container grown roses.
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Into most gardeners' lives there
comes a time when you end up having to transplant a rose. It
could be encroaching shade from a tree, or your nigh-boor's new
fence, or maybe the addition of a drive or patio. If the rose
has been there less than a year or two, dig them up taking as much
of the existing soil around the rootball as you can, and replanting
in the already-prepared new location.
For roses that have been in place
for more than a year or two, here is the two-step process for
successfully transplanting established roses.
- Starting about 12-18" away
from the center of the rose, cut through the soil to the depth
of a good, large garden spade. Make a series of cuts half
way around the circumference of the rose.
- Approximately 3-4 months later,
but with at least 2 months left before a hard fall frost, tie up
the canes of the rose as tightly as possible without causing any
damage. It is also advisable to prune canes back by about
1/3 of their length. Then cut through the other half of
the circumference of the rose, and dig up the largest rootball
you can. Lug this to the already-prepared planting hole in
the new location.
This 2-step approach is required to
allow new roots to grow in closer to the center of the rootball on
the side that is cut first. The undisturbed roots will
maintain the rose until the new roots appear. Then those new
roots will support the rose after transplanting, until the shrub is
established in it's new location.
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