Container Roses: How To Plant

Posted in Container Roses, Planting Your Roses

You’ve just bought a rose in a plastic pot.

What do you do now?

Well, you’ve got two choices. Either transplant the rose into your garden or into a new permanent container.  Before you get to the planting part – you should do some preparation first.   Very important:  Keep the rose well-watered until you are ready to plant.

As with bare root roses, it’s advisable to do the planting preparation before you buy the plants.  Scout the best location in your yard for your new rose … choose a spot that gets at least 6 hours of sun per day.  Make sure the area drains well since roses do not like wet feet.  Weed the area and clean up any debris before preparing a hole for your plant.

Ready to plant?  Here are five steps to take when planting a container rose from a local nursery, garden center, or mail order source:


Rose Plastic Container

Step One: If you want to place your rose in a new pot, find one with adequate drainage holes. In terms of height, get a pot that is at least the same depth as the current container, preferably deeper.

Similarly, you can dig a hole with the same dimensions, about 18 inches wide and as deep or deeper than the container.  Once you have dug your planting hole, the potted rose can be placed in it to determine the relative position of the bud union.

In Zones 6 or colder, be certain that the bud union ends up below ground after you’ve finished planting.  Dig deeper if the bud union isn’t below the ground about 1 or 2 inches (see diagram).  This protects the rose and makes it more winter hardy.

Step Two: Remove the rose from its container by gently grasping the shank of the rose (the area directly below the bud union) while tipping the pot … and  tug it out. If the rose is in one of those fiber pots, you can cut away the pot using sturdy shears.

Loosen the soil around the root ball so you can see the roots. If you unpot the rose and find the roots all tangled up and rootbound, then you should cut the roots before planting -otherwise it may not spread out properly.  Just start cutting into the root tangle and don’t stop until you can pull the roots apart with your hands.  Spread the roots out and remember, the roots will grow longer as the rose grows.

Bud Union

Step Three: Place the rose in the center of the hole (or pot). Fill in with standard potting soil. You don’t need to buy any fancy or special soil. Normal potting soil from your local garden center is sufficient if you are planting your rose in a container.  If planting in the ground, I generally mix potting soil with the soil from the garden, plus a little compost.

Step Four: Now it’s time to get your hands a little dirty. Work the soil mixture around the roots thoroughly. This will eliminate air pockets and help the plant to adapt to its new home …

Step Five: Water the rose thoroughly! This is also a good time to add some material, like mulch, as a top layer to help the soil retain moisture and prevent weeds.

Other tips for planting containerized roses:

– If you can, choose a cloudy day to plant your roses.  They will stress out less …
– Potted plants can be planted in the spring, summer, or fall …
– Keep plants well-watered on a daily basis.  Once they are established, ensure they get at least 1 inch of water a week …
– Water early in the day.  Evening watering allows greater nighttime humidity… which can lead to rose diseases.

Rose In Ground

MULCHING:  Roses perform much better when they are mulched.

Mulching can even make the difference between life and death for a rose. Choose an organic mulch such as shredded leaves, wood chips, or bark mulch.
Benefits of Mulching Roses:
1. A mulch of at least 2″ thick holds moisture and decreases evaporation.
2. Mulching helps to prevent foliar fungus diseases because it prevents spores splashing from the ground onto the leaves.
3. Mulch suppresses weeds, thus reducing competition for water and nutrients and promoting better air circulation.

 Watch the video below to see step-by-step how to plant a rose bush…

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