How to Plant Bare Root Roses

What You'll Need
Watering can
Fertilizers (organic if preferred)

If you cannot find the perfect rose for your garden, bare root roses can be ordered and delivered to your door. These roses will not look very good when they are delivered because thet will not have any leaves or flowers, but follow these simple steps and by the summer your garden will be full of knockout roses.

Step 1 – Choose a Location for the Rose

Ideally bare root roses should be planted in a sunny place and in rich, free-draining soil. Examine how much light your chosen spot receives. Does it catch the sun for at least 6 hours each day? Bare root roses are best planted in the autumn, so the spot you are thinking of must get enough sun even at that time of year.

Step 2 – Choose a Grower and a Variety

Choosing a grower is easy to do online. Look at customer reviews. To decide what variety is appropriate for your garden, consider what you want from the rose. Do you want a rose to climb idyllically up the side of your house, to cover an ugly feature or to stand proud without any support? If you have a small yard, special container roses are available. A professional grower should be able to advise which variety is appropriate for your setting.

Step 3 – Preparing the Ground

Dig a hole that is at least 2 feet deep. Roses grow vigorously and need to spread their roots as deep as possible. Consider whether the soil contains enough organic matter to sustain them during the initial period of growth. You may wish to add some fertilizer to the soil.

Step 4 – Preparing the Rose

When the bare root rose arrives, inspect it carefully for signs of rot and disease. If the plant is free from problems, place it in a bucket of water for at least 2 hours but no more than 4 hours. The rose will probably not need pruning, as most commercially produced bare root roses are supplied “pre-pruned,” so all you need to do is plant it.

Step 5 – Planting and Watering In

Planting the rose is straightforward. Simply place the rose in the hole you have prepared so that the bottom of the stem is just over 1 inch below the surface. This is to make sure that the plant is protected from frost. Gripping the stem with one hand (using gloves if it is thorny!) back-fill the hole with the other, until the surrounding soil is level. It is essential to water the plant thoroughly so it is adequately hydrated.

It is best to consult the grower’s instructions about spacing bare root roses. On one hand, they look so small when they arrive on your doorstep that it may be tempting to plant as many together as you can to produce a show of flowers in the spring. However, when they start to grow, the roses’ roots will be competing for nutrients. Accordingly, plant them at least 2 feet apart to have the healthiest plants.