Bare Root Roses: How To Plant

Posted in Planting Your Roses

When shopping for roses from garden centers or mail order sources you will find they are either packaged as bare root roses (just like it sounds…minimal packaging, little or no soil, usually a bag covering the roots) or they come potted in a container …

Most of the roses available today are sold in containers.  Some people feel this is less intimidating as they are accustomed to buying plants of all sizes in containers …

Bare root is the traditional way of planting roses, and it isn’t hard at all.  Actually with a little preparation, it is quite satisfying and gets your new rose off to a great start!

Frequently, roses you’ll order from reliable rose growers online  are mailed to your door as bare roots.  As you can imagine, they are much lighter and easier (and cheaper) to prepare for mailing …  

Bare root plants are very resilient too. They can withstand storage, transport, and just about all manner of treatment. They are tough, little survivors!

Bare Root Roses

Bare Root Roses

It’s best to plant them right away after receipt (mail order companies generally ship them according to your zone and the optimal planting time for your area). If you can’t plant them immediately due to weather or some other factor, keep them in a cool place out of direct sunlight and keep them moist …

Tip:  Bare root roses should be soaked in water for 6 to 24 hours before planting.  You can do this in a large bucket, container, or a utility sink.  Some folks add a vitamin B-1 solution to the soak to help promote new root growth. You can pick this up at a garden center.

Prior to planting bare root roses, give them a once over and remove any damaged canes or roots.  Sometimes the rose will have sprouted new, white growth …

 

Planting a Bare Root Rose in 5 Easy Steps:

– Dig a hole that is big enough.  Prepare the site first by removing weeds and adding some organic matter (manure or compost). The shape of the hole doesn’t really matter, but I tend to dig a round hole…at least 12 inches deep.

– Set the rose in the hole.  I usually set the roots on top of a little mound of soil at the bottom of the hole. If you live in Zone 6 or colder areas, it is essential to plant the bud union of the rose below the soil level.  In Zone 5 where I garden, 1 to 2 inches deep works well.  (see diagram below)

– Put some good compost around the roots, then fill hole with soil.  Firm the soil down with your hands.

Water slowly.  Give you newly planted rose a good, long drink.  Gurgling can indicate air pockets that need to be filled in …

– Mulch around the base of the plant. This helps prevent weed growth plus breaks down over time enriching you soil.

Planting A Bare Root Rose

Planting A Bare Root Rose

 

When bare root roses are planted firmly and kept moist, this is the easiest and probably best way of planting with a success rate well over 90 percent …

They can be planted at any time in fall and spring when the ground is not severely frozen.  I prefer planting in the spring …  

If you do plant a bare root rose in the fall, make sure you “winterize” it by simply “hilling” it up with soil (described in the Winterizing Roses section).  You’re then all set for winter.

Some spring planted roses may begin growth within two weeks after planting – others may take as long as six weeks to break out. Be patient and you will be rewarded …  

You can prune the canes of any rose that does not want to start growth.  Feeding with a low dose of fish emulsion or seaweed extract can help stimulate growth as well …

 

 

 

 

 

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