Plants - Roses

Plant a bare-root rose

Place dormant roses in the ground for a rosy outlook on life

There are thousands of species and cultivars of roses to suit every taste, from antique types that have been cultivated for centuries to the newest introductions from breeders worldwide. Buying field-grown bare-root roses (when the shrubs are dormant) means you can choose from a vast range of cultivars, rather than from the relatively few varieties grown in pots. And most rosarians agree that planting them bare-root will produce superior long-term results with less transplanting shock.

Gardeners in Zone 6 and warmer can plant bare-root roses in either late fall or early spring, but for the rest of us, early-spring planting is the only way to go.

Early-spring planting

As soon as the frost is out of the ground, dig a hole at least 40 centimetres deep by 50 centimetres wide in a sunny spot. Add one shovelful of well-rotted manure and another of compost or peat moss. Add two handfuls of bone meal and several shovelfuls of the excavated soil; mix well. Mound up the mixture in the centre of the hole to form a pyramid.

For best results, a bare-root rose must be planted immediately. (If this is not possible, keep it in the original packaging and store in a cool, dark place for a maximum of five days.) Once the planting hole has been prepared, discard the packaging and plunge the rose's roots into a bucket of cool water for no longer than one hour to rehydrate them.

Fall planting

Gardeners in zone 6 and warmer who wish to plant in the autumn can follow the spring planting steps, but should not remove leafy shoots, as this would encourage leaf production too late in the season. Also omit fertilizing as outlined in step 4 and hill up bushes through the winter, removing the mound of soil in late spring. 


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