Planting Container Grown Roses
Most stores sell roses already growing in 1, 2 & 3 gallon containers. Always purchase the best looking plant they have, even if it doesn’t have any blooms. Heavy fertilizers can force a bloom, but a good root system is essential. You can spot a healthy rose by observing its bright green foliage and having a MINIMUM of 3 canes that are at least the diameter of a #2 pencil. If this is not the case, it is best to move on….
PLEASE PLEASE do not purchase roses that are sold in bags. They spray the canes with paraffin wax that is meant to preserve the shrub in transit, but by the time you get it home, it is so debilitated, it will not survive. A few have reported luck with these, but for me, it has always been an exercise in futility……
What You Need:
Healthy Container Grown Rose
Prepare The Hole.
Dig the hole at least 6 – 8″ deeper and wider than the container that the rose was growing in.
Conduct A Drainage Test.
Pour a gallon of water in the hole. If the water dissipates within an hour, you are good to go.
If the water does not drain, you have some options:
A. Dig deeper 8″ – 12″ and fill up the space with garden soil and pine bark mulch nuggets to promote drainage away from the roots.
B. Select another spot with better drainage.
C. Consider a raised bed to grow your rose in.
Plant Your Rose
Planting Tip: For easier removal from the container, do not water the rose a day or so before planting, you don’t want the soil to collapse when you remove it. you will be watering in the rose once planted.
Using equal parts garden soil and composted manure place a few handfuls into the bottom of the hole. Carefully remove your rose from the container, loosen the root ball at the base a little to expose some of the roots and then place the root ball in the hole. The top of the root ball should be even with the ground. If not, pull the root ball out and add more manure/soil mixture until it is at the top. This is especially important for roses growing on their own roots. If you plant below that level, it could smother the plant. You have a little more leeway with grafted roses. Depending on where you live, you might want to bury the bud union. I live in zone 7b and the winters are mild. All of my bud unions are alive and well above ground. Once placed, fill in around the root ball until the hole is completely filled. Tamp down gently and water in.
Mulch around the rose.
Mulch will help retain moisture where it is needed most; at the roots. It will also help to keep down weeds. I apply at least a 1″ – 3″ layer of mulch around all my rose.
Watch your rose grow
Observe your rose as it begins to grow. Watch it’s growth habit and cycle of bloom. You will be suprised at the joy that comes when you are able to grow your own roses! Be sure to water your rose at least once a week if it does not rain. Roses need about 1″ of water a week to thrive. Enjoy!
A note on fertilizing: Wait until your newly planted rose begins to put out new growth before you apply additional fertilizers. I am a big fan of organic fertilizers and have used several over the years. I have found one in particular that has yeilded excellent results. Haven Brand soil conditioners are awesome for feeding your roses and other garden plantings. No, I am not a spokesman for this product, just a satisfied customer.