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How To Plant and Care For Roses

Definitely my favorite flower. Roses come in a vast variety of colors, fragrances, heights, bushes and climbers. Having a beautiful rose plant, be it bush or vine, is not difficult if you take the time to choose the correct location on your property and follow some simple planting rules.

collage of rose blooms

Types:

  • Miniature Roses:
  • Ideal for containers, small blooms, 10 to 36 inches in height.
  • Bush or Shrub Roses:
  • Large and leafy plants, ideal for landscaping and ground-cover.
  • Climbers or Vines:
  • Require support, 8 to 35 foot branches.
  • Tree Roses: 
  • Created by grafting to a single stem and finishing with a bush display of blooms.

Location:

Choosing the correct location for your rose plants will allow the plant to build its root system quickly which in turn will make the rose bush more resistant to insect infestation and provide for a healthier plant. Choose a location that offers the following attributes:

  • Minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight, the more sunlight the better, as this gives the rose bush or climber the best situation for growing and flowering.
  • Morning sun is better than afternoon or midday sun.
  • The east side of your property will generally be a better location than the west side.
  • Avoid areas that receive shade at certain times of the day.
  • Do not plant roses in close proximity to shrubs or trees as these plants will take the nourishment away from the roses.
  • Roses prefer areas that do not have stagnant air. Hence they grow very well in open area plantings in the middle of a yard.
  • Do not plant in areas where water run-off could allow standing water around the roots. Well drained soil will create healthy plants.

Planting Season:

You can plant roses as soon as there is no danger of frost, early spring, and the soil has dried from any latent winter moisture through to late fall. Planting in the spring is generally considered to be the best period as this gives the roses adequate time to develop a strong root system before winter sets in.

  • Roses that are sold with bare roots do best if planted in the spring. Roses that are sold with a root ball encased in soil can be planted from spring through to fall.

Grades:

The roses that you purchase should be identified by a grading system. A grade 1 is the preferred plant.

grade 1 rose

Grade 1

grade 2 rose

Grade 2

grade 3 rose

Grade 3

Soil:

  • pH - 6.5 to 7
  • High organic content
  • Loose texture
  • Soil that retains moisture

Planting:

  • Prepare soil as previously described.
  • Dig a hole 12 inches deep and 15 inches wide.
  • The depth of the rose is critical, the graft junction of the plant must be just above ground level.
  • If planting a bare root plant place a small mound of soil at the bottom of the hole and spread the roots around the mound. This will separate the roots and allow them to conveniently grow in all directions.
  • Pack the soil around each root, and water to allow the soil to fill any cavities. Add additional soil until the soil is level with the ground.
  • If planting a root ball with soil, the soil should be level with the top of the root ball.
  • Apply a layer of mulch around the plant to prevent moisture loss.

Care:

  • Correct moisture is 1 inch of water per week.
  • Apply water at the base of the plant. Watering from above will increase the likelihood of disease. Roses grow very well using drip irrigation techniques.
  • Organic fertilizers of rotted manure, fish meal, and seaweed are excellent fertilizers for all rose types.