Although June has passed and National Rose Month is behind us, many of our customers arrive home from the nursery with a wide variety of potted roses. Others may have ordered bare root roses online or through mail order. But whatever the case may be, a question we always receive is “What steps can I take to ensure that my plant will bloom the most beautifully?”
The prospect of growing roses may seem intimidating, and many of you have heard the horror stories of roses having problems with insects, diseases, and other issues. However, Clair G. Martin, author of the book “100 English Roses for the American Garden” states that “While problems do exist, they are, for the most part, cosmetic and easily overcome with basic horticultural practices”.
Below we’ll give you step by step instructions to planting your roses in order to fortify your knowledge of growing these truly one-of-a-kind plants, and hopefully answer any questions you may have.
- Soak the roots and stems. Dry root roses should be submerged for 24 hours to hydrate the tissue of the roots and stems. Potted roses (pot and woody trunk) should be submerged for two hours. Remember, roses love water and plenty of it at the time of planting will greatly strengthen the plant.
- Prune dead wood and damaged stems. Cut out any damaged or dead portion of each plant with sharp pruning shears. Always cut on an angle. This is not the time to perform selective pruning to force blooms. That will be done next spring.
- Prepare the hole for planting. For potted roses, cut the entire bottom from the biodegradable container and dig a hole that is three inches wider and deeper than the pot. Prepare a mixture of rose garden soil of either 50% soil & 50% bone meal, or one part potting soil, one part compost, one part bagged manure. Place three inches of the mixture in the bottom of the hole. Place the pot in the hole. Backfill with soil mixture you created. For dry root roses, dig a hole that is twice the distance across the roots. The depth of the hole should be three inches greater than the distance from the bud union to bottom of roots. Place three inches of the soil mixture in the bottom of the hole. Hold the plant in the hole and backfill with the remainder of the mixture. Whether you roots were dry or potted, your soil line should be one inch higher the bud union.
- The Philadelphia Rose Society states that “The most important thing roses need is water”. Create a shallow moat near the perimeter of your hole and fill it with water. Allow the water to seep, then repeat three times. At this point, you cannot overwater your rose.
- You will notice that much of your soil mixture has settled and likely exposed your bud union. Replenish with the soil mixture if settlement was two inches or more. Cover the soil with three to four inches of mulch, mounding at the perimeter of the plant to create a moat so less water runs away from the plant.
- Fill your moat with water daily. After the roots are established (about three weeks) you can move your watering schedule to three times a week. Water daily during hot days or periods of drought in the growing season.
- Fertilize your roses with any commercially available rose food. Follow the dosage instructions carefully.
Living rose plants work well in mixed plant baskets, and many other beautiful arrangements you could create at home by planting your own rose bushes. For more information on planting and caring for roses, feel free to reach out to us online! You may also wish to visit the American Rose Society for an in-depth look at things like winter care, common pests for roses, and much more to give you the best growing experience possible! These beautiful flowers are as iconic as they are beautiful, and growing them is truly a joy.