All roses prefer a spot in your garden that receives at least six to eight hours of full sun a day and a rich, organic, well-drained soil. Roses can be purchased as bare-root, growing in plastic containers, or growing in biodegradable containers. Planting direction for each is a little different.
Bare Root Roses
Bare root rose are an easy and inexpensive option for early season planting. These dormant plants often are sold in plastic bags filled with moist sawdust to keep the plants hydrated until planting.
1. Soak the roots in a bucket of water for 8-12 hours prior to planting.
2. Trim canes so they are approximately 8" long. Remove any damaged canes.
3. Dig a hole approximately 18" wide and 18" deep.
4. Add compost or soil conditioner and mix with the soil dug from the hole.
5. Form a mound of the soil mixture in the center of the planting hole.
6. Position the rose on top of the soil mound, spreading the roots down the sides. Position the graft union at or just above the ground level. In cold winter climates, position the graft union 1 to 2" below the ground level.
7. Backfill the hole with soil mixture eliminating any air pockets by packing down.
8. Water thoroughly, adding additional soil as necessary as soil settles.
9. Mound the canes with an additional four to six inches of soil to prevent withering of the canes before the roots become established. Once new growth begins to develop, remove this soil slowly over a week's time.
Roses Growing in Plastic Containers
Roses grown in plastic containers can be planted year-round. They are easiest to plant because you have a plant that is already growing.
1. Thoroughly water before planting.
2. Remove plant from the container by squeezing the container, laying it on its side, and then gently sliding out while keeping the root ball intact.
3. Dig hole twice the diameter of the root ball and as deep.
4. Mix soil conditioner or compost with the soil dug out from the hole.
5. Set the plant in the hole making sure to position the graft union at or just above the ground level. In cold winter climates, position the graft union 1-2" below the ground level.
6. Fill in around the root ball with soil mix, eliminating all air pockets by packing down.
7. Water thoroughly and apply a thick layer of organic mulch around your new plants to conserve moisture.
Roses Growing in Biodegradable Containers
Roses are sometimes offered for sale in cardboard boxes or biodegradable containers labeled "Plant pot and all".
1. Make sure the plant is well watered before planting.
2. Cut away the lip of the pot with a utility knife, so the pot is the same height as the soil level.
3. Cut four or five vertical slices up the sides of the pot and into the soil.
4. Follow steps 3-7 above, planting pot and all.
• Newly planted roses need more frequent watering than established plants. A sign of wilting foliage in the morning signals the need for water. Thoroughly soak the root ball and surrounding soil. As the plant roots grow out into the surrounding soil, watering frequency can be reduced.
• Water established roses only when they need it, thoroughly allowing water to seep deep into the root system. Too much watering wastes water and pushes nutrients away from the plant roots which can lead to excessive weeding, fertilizing and pruning. Frequent light watering encourages a shallow root system that is not as prepared to handle the rigors of prolonged drought. Water plants early in the day to minimize water loss due to evaporation. Avoid wetting foliage, especially in the evening, to reduce disease problems.
• Roses growing in patio containers usually require more frequent watering than plants in the ground. Be sure that all pots have drainage holes to prevent overwatering. Check plants often and be sure to wet the soil thoroughly until the entire root ball is saturated and water runs from the drainage holes.
• In the hot summer months, roses need water only when they show signs of stress in the morning, which is expressed as curled or drooping leaves and branches. At this time of the year, some plants exhibit minor wilting in the afternoon that is natural as long as rigor is regained by morning.
• Drip irrigation systems and soaker hoses are a great way to effectively water roses while conserving water, reducing your water bill, and promoting disease free plants.
• Be sure your roses are well watered prior to application of fertilizer.
• Fertilize roses in early spring once the chance of frost has passed and just before new growth begins. Additional light feedings can be applied throughout the growing season to encourage growth and flowering. Frequency depends on the type of fertilizer used. Always follow package directions.
• Stop feeding in late summer to enable tender new growth to mature before winter.
• As a general rule, apply dry fertilizers (non-foliar-feed) on the soil between the trunk and the drip line (end of the branches). Always keep dry fertilizers away from the canes to prevent burning.
Prune Hybrid Tea, Floribunda and Grandiflora roses 3 to 4 weeks before the average date of the last killing frost in your area.
• Remove 1/3 to 2/3 of the plant to stimulate new growth and flower production.
• Remove canes that are damaged and one of two canes which may be rubbing one another.
• Remove canes that are spindly and smaller in diameter than the size of a pencil.
• Prune to open the center of the plant to light and air circulation.
• Make your cuts at a 45 degree angle, about 1/4 inch above a bud that is facing toward the outside of the plant.
• Use sharp pruning shears to make sure cuts are clean, not ragged.
• Remove sucker growth below the graft union and those sprouting from the roots. The leaves will be different, so it's easy to identify them.
Climbing roses should not be pruned for the first two years. They need time to grow long canes for flower production. After that time, remove old canes to encourage new canes to arise from the bottom of the plant. The finest blooms on climbers appear on canes that were produced the previous year.
Shrub and Antique roses require much less pruning. Most shrub roses will naturally obtain a rounded shrub shape without pruning. Pruning of these roses should be confined to shaping of the plant, removal of damaged branches and judicious trimming back to encourage growth. This can be done in spring after first bloom is complete.
On all roses, cutting flowers is a form of pruning. When gathering rose blooms, always leave at least two sets of leaves on the branch from which you cut the flower to insure plant vigor. When removing faded, spent flowers, cut only as far back as the first leaf with five leaflets.