Time to plant roses


Planting a Bare-Root Rose

Learn to plant bare-root trees, shrubs, and roses.

You can buy bare roots (dormant plants sold and shipped without soil around their roots), and plant them in late winter in warm climates or early spring in cold climates. If you buy potted plants that have already commenced growing, plant them as you would any garden plant, anytime from spring through early fall.

Stoke your passion for roses with our list of award-winning selections from the 1970s to 2000s.

Tips for Planting Bare-Root Roses

If bare roots arrive before you prepare the planting hole or the ground thaws, it’s important to protect them until you can get them in the ground. As long as the roots stay moist, they’ll be fine for a day or two. Open any plastic wrapping around bare roots, and refresh roots in a bucket of water if you will plant them within 12 hours. Otherwise, sprinkle roots with water and leave them wrapped in plastic for a day or two.

If you’re looking at a longer period before you plant, it’s best to heel them in a bare spot or ground. Stand bare roots up in a bucket, or lay them at a 45-degree angle in a shallow, shaded trench. If the ground is still frozen, plant the roots in a large pot. Either way, cover the roots and top third of the plant with soil, compost, or peat moss. Water as often as necessary to keep the roots moist. Then plant as early as possible to avoid damaging new roots and top growth.

How to Plant Bare-Root Roses

Image zoom Remember to soak roots in water before planting, and add compost to your rose’s new home.

Give your roses the right environment for growth. Select a location where they’ll receive at least six hours of sun. The site should be permanent, away from competing trees and shrubs. Don’t expect a plant to live in the same spot where another rose died.

1. Before planting bare-root roses, soak roots in a bucket of water for at least two hours (no longer than 12 hours). Prune roots that are broken, injured, or too long.

2. Dig a hole 12-18 inches deep and 2 feet wide, keeping the backfill close. Add two shovelfuls of composted manure or compost to the hole, then mix it into the bottom soil. Set the plant in the hole and spread the roots evenly around it. Position the plant so that the bud union (a swelling at the base of a grafted plant where the new plant was grown on the rootstock) is 1 inch above the soil surface in warm climates or 1 inch below the surface in cold climates. Use your shovel handle as a guide. Own-root roses differ from grafted or budded stock. Grown from cuttings, they develop their own root systems and don’t have a knobby bud union. Simply plant them about 1 inch deeper than they were planted in their pot.

Image zoom Add water to the hole to settle the soil.

3. Backfill the planting hole two-thirds full, add water, then allow it to drain. This helps settle the soil. Fill the hole with more soil; water again.

Image zoom Promote a healthy rose by pruning dead branches.

4. Prune new roses back by one-third to concentrate the plant’s energy in growing roots; remove any dead or broken wood to foster strong canes. When planting container-grown roses, keep pruning to a minimum at planting time. Wait several weeks until leaves develop and canes resume growing; then feed.

Planting Rose Bushes In The Fall

The general rule of thumb says that fall is an excellent time to plant new flowers in your garden, but when it comes to the delicate nature of roses, this may not be the ideal time when to plant roses. Whether you should be planting rose bushes in the fall depends on several factors. Let’s take a look at these factors.

Bare Root Roses or Container Roses

The first thing to consider is what kind of packaging your roses are in. If your roses come as bare root plants, you should not be planting your rose bushes in the fall. Bare root plants take longer to establish themselves and will most likely not survive the winter if planted in the fall. Container packaged roses establish themselves much more quickly and can be planted in the fall.

Winter Temperatures Affect When to Plant Roses

Another factor in deciding when to plant roses is what your lowest average winter temperature is. If the winter temperature in your area drops down to -10 F. (-23 C.) or lower on average, then

wait until spring for planting rose bushes. The rose plants will not have enough time to establish themselves before the ground freezes.

Leave Enough Time to Time to First Frost When Planting Roses

Make sure that there is at least one month before your first frost date if you will be planting rose bushes. This will ensure that there is enough time for the roses to establish themselves. While it does take longer than a month for a rose bush to become established, the roots of a rose bush will continue to grow after the first frost.

What you are really looking for at is time to when the ground freezes. This normally occurs a few months after your first frost (in areas where the ground freezes). The first frost date is just the easiest way to calculate when to plant roses with ground freeze in mind.

How to Plant Roses in the Fall

If you have determined that fall is a good time for you to be planting rose bushes, there are a few things you should keep in mind about how to plant roses in the fall.

  • Do not fertilize – Fertilizing may weaken a rose plant and it needs to be as strong as possible to survive the coming winter.
  • Mulch heavily – Add an extra thick layer of mulch over the roots of your newly planted rose. This will help the keep the ground from freezing just a little bit longer and give your rose just a little bit longer time to establish.
  • Do not prune – A fall planted rose bush has enough to contend with without having to deal with open wounds. Do not prune roses after you have planted them in the fall. Wait until spring.
  • Plant only dormant – One of the top things to remember when considering how to plant roses in the fall is that you should only be planting dormant roses (without leaves). Transplanting active roses or planting rose bushes that come from the nursery in active growth will not work as well when planting in the fall.

Winter gardening task: plant bare root roses. Use these tips to know what to expect when the roses arrive from the grower, how to plant them, and ways to postpone planting direct in the garden. Includes a full DIY video.

If you’re in the market for new rose bushes you’ll have noticed that they come in two variations — potted up, or as bare root plants. Rose bushes that arrive in pots with soil around their roots are very easy to plant and it can be done all the year round. Bare root plants are different and will arrive in plastic bags without any soil at all. You can only get this variety delivered in the autumn and winter while the plant is dormant. This is typically the time to plant bare root roses as well.

A few months ago we moved into a new house with a small lawned area to the rear. It has a few fruit trees and a greenhouse but the plan is to fully develop it into a vegetable garden — you can see its progress on YouTube. My first addition is a pretty garden arch and on either side I’ve just planted bare root roses. The photos and the video at the end of this piece show how I’ve done it but also include tips on things you may do differently in other climates.

Plant bare root roses while they’re still dormant

What to expect when they arrive

If you order bare root roses from a reputable seller they’ll send you the plants at the best time to plant them. It will vary based on where you are in the world but whether it’s November or April, you should get them in the ground asap. In places with mild climates you’ll get your bare root roses in November onward. If you have cold, freezing winters then expect your roses to arrive when it begins to thaw.

Your plants will arrive in a plastic bag that’s inside another sturdy paper bag or even a box. The roots should be moist and there will likely be no leaves at all on the stems. You should plan on getting them in the ground within a day or two. Store them outside and sprinkle some water over the roots if they look a little dry.

Planting bare root roses in winter

If you have mild winters, like we do here on the Isle of Man, you can plant bare root roses all winter long. Once they’re in the ground, the roots are protected from the worst of the cold. They’ll also slowly begin forming bonds with the soil and growing little tendrils of roots. This will help them spring into life when warmer days arrive.

In colder climates you’ll want to wait on planting outside, which is why growers will send your plants later. Imagine, they’ve just been pulled up, prepared for shipment in a dark bag, have likely been in a variety of temperatures, and might even be drying out a bit already. They’re probably not going to respond well to being plopped into frozen soil.

Some nurseries order in bare root roses, plant them in containers in autumn, and sell them as potted plants in spring. Image credit: Leonora (Ellie) Enking on Flickr

Heeling Rose Plants in

You have two options in case you can’t plant them immediately. Heel them in or plant them in containers. If the soil isn’t frozen or soaking wet, dig the plants in to a temporary location — otherwise known as heeling them in.

Dig a trench and put your plants in, covering the roots and up to 2/3 of the plant with soil. The plants can be placed in the trench at an angle by as much as 45 degrees. Water well and then mulch with a couple inches of compost, leaves, straw, wood chips, or another material. You don’t need to space them out or plant them upright since this is only a temporary solution. Pull the plants up to plant in their permanent positions before they begin growing again.

Planting Roses in Containers

You can also plant your bare root roses in containers when they arrive. If you do this, you can leave them in the pots until whenever you find time to plant them out. You could even leave them in until the following summer if you’d like.

The best place to overwinter container planted roses is in a greenhouse, poly tunnel or against the side of the house. It’s a bit warmer there. You can keep them outside too but make sure that the hardiness rating of the rose is two levels higher than the one you live in. Rose roots will get colder in pots than when planted in the ground.

Try to get your roses in containers planted out before they become too big. Not all roses are suitable for permanent planting in pots but there are plenty that are, if that’s what you’re after.

Generous Gardener is an English climbing rose with repeat flowering blossoms and good sized rose hips

Rose variety, the Generous Gardener

My own bare root roses, a type called the Generous Gardener, arrived early November. They’re a type perfect for the edible gardener since they produce big juicy hips and also attract bees and other pollinators.

I’ve planted one on either side of a new garden arch that I’ve situated in the centre of my garden. The hope is that these English climbing roses will cover the feature and repeat blossom all summer long. Not only will their fragrant flowers attract bees but I plan on using the petals to make rose petal wine and rose water skin toner.

Dig the hole about two feet deep and just over a foot in diameter

Materials you’ll need to plant bare root roses

  • Garden spade
  • Garden fork
  • Watering can
  • Bucket of water
  • Composted manure
  • Mycorrhizal Fungi

Before you plant bare root roses you need to rehydrate them

Soak the roses roots

Fill a bucket with water and soak the roots of the rose for about 30 minutes. You do this to re-hydrate the plant and to make sure it won’t suffer for lack of water when you plant it in the ground. Some online sources will say for you to soak for much longer, up to two days even. I imagine that’s only necessary in dry climates or if the roots are very dry though. I’d probably err on just 30 minutes in most cases.

You’ll see in the video at the end that I only soaked my plants for about 15 minutes. That’s because there was a lot of moisture in the bag on planting out day. I’d set it outside for a couple of days and during that time quite a lot of rain got inside.

Add composted manure to the hole for nutrients

Digging the hole

Situate your rose plants in an area that gets good sunshine, isn’t in a windy or exposed area, and isn’t going to be competing with other plants. There should be about 2 feet (60cm) between each rose plant and the next plant.

Using your spade, dig a hole 2 feet (60cm) deep and 15″ (40cm) in diameter. Loosen the bottom of the hole with your garden fork and pile in a good dollop of composted manure. I imagine you could use garden compost too, but manure is very rich in nutrients and might be best. Mix the manure with the soil inside the hole a bit.

Sprinkle mychorrhizal fungi on the roots of the plant

Mycorrhizal fungi

In recent years it’s been discovered that plants have a complex relationship with the soil. Much of it centres around fungi that form symbiotic relationships with plant roots. It’s estimated that at least 90% of plants depend on mycorrhizae to survive. Mycorrhizae, also known as mycorrhizal fungi, virtually extend the plants roots. This fungi helps feed the plant with both nutrients and water from an area much larger than the actual plant roots grow.

When planting perennials like roses, it helps to introduce the roots to mycorrhizal Fungi manually. It comes in a pelleted form and you sprinkle it on both the roots and inside the planting hole. Actually, if you sprinkle it just on the roots while the plant is held over the hole, you can get two birds with one stone.

Planting past the bud union

On grafted roses you’ll find a bud union between the green stems and the roots. The recommendation from David Austin is to plant it 1-2 inches under the soil. However, I’ve found that others recommend leaving this just above soil level in warmer climates. After reading this piece I think it’s clear to listen to David Austin.

Planting the bud union just under the soil, in any climate, will help the plant survive wind rock. If the bud union is out of the ground, then not only do the stems whip around but so do the roots. This can cause lasting damage to the plant.

Soon the roses will cover this wooden garden arch

Watering in and waiting

Give the plant a good water after filling the hole back in with soil and firming down. Direct the water in a circle around the plant rather than on the plant itself. Cover the area of the hole that was dug with mulch to keep weeds down. Generally speaking, no further care is required until after the rose begins growing again in spring.

If you’re planting your bare root rose in spring, keep an eye out for dry weather. Water newly planted roses every two to three days during these spells.

Watch the video below to see the full process of planting bare root roses. For more rose ideas and tips head over here.

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It is prime time for planting roses in the Phoenix area, in fact it will soon be too late. Roses are best planted during the latter half of December and January in the Phoenix area. For northern Arizona it is best to wait until March and April. Growing Roses in the desert southwest is a great addition of the traditional gardening centerpiece. While a lot of xeriscapes focus on primarily desert plants like succulents and trees that are adapted to the desert heat, roses are the crowning jewel that can set your yard apart.

Rose Selection

Selecting the roses you want to incorporate into your landscape is a straightforward process with just a few things to keep in mind. The size of the full grown

Size – Different types of rose variants grow to be different sizes. The type of roses you choose for your landscape should take into consideration how large the fully grown plant will be. Savvy gardeners plan for the full size of their plants so they do not have to over prune, or remove plants that rub against houses or fight for space and sunlight in their landscape. Some types of roses like to grow and climb. This means they should be planted in areas that include support for the climbing types of roses.

Climate – Every plant has a rating for which zone it grows best in. The Phoenix valley varies between zone 8 and zone 9. Choose roses that will do well in this environment. They should be more heat resistant than geared to resist the cold like you would need in northern Arizona.

Grades Of Roses – When you are looking at roses to plant in your landscape you want to make sure that you select nothing less than the best. Roses are graded as 1,1 ½, and 2, with number 1 being the best grade. You will be able to recognize a number one grade rose when there are three or more “canes” that are as thick as a pencil. Number 1 ½ will only have 2 canes that are pencil thick, and number 2 roses will be only a foot from where the canes come together.

How To Plant Roses

The way you buy your roses will affect how and when you should plant them. Nurseries in the Phoenix valley during the cold months should offer bare root, packaged, and container roses. If you are buying either bare root or packaged you should make sure to have them in the ground by the end of January.

Bare Root & Packaged

If the roses you buy are either packaged or sold to you with bare roots you will need to get them in the ground in late December or January. Before planting you should soak the roots in water for a few hours.


Roses that are left over from the dormant period of the year are sold in containers. These roses can be planted at any time during the year.

Rose Spacing

The various types of roses grow to different diameters. You should plan your landscape to not be overcrowded and give each rose plant its own space. For polyanthas and miniatures you should plan between a 1 and 2 feet. Rose shrubs need twice that space and should be given 2 to 4 feet. Tree roses grow to a greater diameter and should be allowed between 3 and 5 feet. Climbing roses should have even more space, between 6 and 10 feet of space. Climbing roses also grow better when eastern exposure.

Planting Your Bare Root Roses

  1. The first step in planting your roses is to soak it in water for at least 8 hours. They can do well with up to 24 hours of soaking if you are not going to be home, or want to give it the maximum saturation.
  2. Digging your hole is the next project. It should be between 18 to 30 inches wide to accommodate the root system and the root ball.
  3. Mix soil with a cup of triple superphosphate and a cup of sulfur
  4. Create a cone shape mound in the center of the hole with your mix and native soil.
  5. Spread out the roots of your roses to fit over the cone. The union between the canes and root should be about 2 inches above the soil line.
  6. Trim the canes to about 8 to 10 inches. You want to make sure the top buds are facing out from the center of the plant.
  7. To help retain the water you provide you will want to have about a 4 inch layer of mulch around the surface of the plant.
  8. Ensure that you water well every day for the first week.

Roses For Sale In The East Phoenix Valley

If you live in the Phoenix valley and want the best selection and most knowledgeable customer service A&P nursery has 4 locations to serve you. With the best stock of plants in the East Valley we can get you everything you need to get started with growing your own roses. We also have a list of great landscaping companies that we can recommend to plant the specific roses you choose. Call or visit one of our locations to ask any questions you have or to get started with planting your own roses in the Phoenix area.

A & P Nursery
40370 N. Gantzel Rd.
Queen Creek, AZ 85240

A & P Nursery
2645 W. Baseline Rd.
Mesa, Arizona 85202

A & P Nursery
6129 E. Brown Rd.
Mesa, Arizona 85205

A & P Nursery &
Lawnmower Shop
2601 E. Baseline Rd.
Gilbert, Arizona 85234

When to Plant Roses in Phoenix

Phoenix has two growing seasons. The first is from mid-February through the end of May, and the second growing season is from September to mid-November. January is Phoenix’s only winter month. Summer heat can be brutal to roses. For the avid gardener, summer is like the desert’s winter, as most plants are near dormancy due to the heat. Understandably, gardening calendars are unique to this area.

Bare-Root Roses

January is the best time to plant bare-root roses; roses are dormant during this month, and mid-February marks the beginning of the growing season. Plant bare-root roses so that they are established before the brutal heat of summer transcends upon them (summer begins in May in Phoenix.)

Container Roses

Container-grown roses can be planted practically year round, due to their established root system–although it is best to avoid planting them during the summer months. Temperatures begin to cool down in September, which is also the start of the second growing season. If you are going to plant roses during September, wait until the night temperatures fall into the 70s. In October, as the weather cools down even more, nurseries will be filled with container-grown plants, including roses.


Summers in Phoenix can bring triple-digit heat and scorching winds, presenting a real challenge to growing roses. However, if you follow some basic procedures, your roses will survive and prosper in this extreme desert climate.

According to Marylou Coffman, a Gilbert, Arizona rosarian and All-America Rose Selection Committee judge, “If there’s a problem with your roses, nine times out of ten, it’s related to water.” Remember to water often and deep. During the hottest months, Coffman suggests watering at least three times a week (using at least 3 to 4 gallons of water per plant during each watering.)

It is very important to mulch in order to keep the roots of the rose cool, and keep moisture in the soil. Mulch also helps to keep weeds to a minimum, and enriches the soil as it decomposes.

Your roses will need some afternoon shade during the incredibly hot summer months. If this isn’t possible, spray your plants down two to three times a week. Spraying increases the humidity and cools down the plant’s leaves.

A regular fertilizing program will produce strong plants with beautiful blooms and glossy leaves.

Be Inspired Blog – Arizona

Posted on: January 01, 2020

Planting Roses in the Ground

The ideal time to plant roses outdoors in the Phoenix metropolitan area is mid-December through January, while the roses are dormant. By planting them before the beginning of their growing season—which usually begins mid-February, they’ll have enough time to establish a much-needed strong root system before extreme summer temperatures hit (which can be as early as May). We do not recommend planting bare-root roses since our recent winters have been too mild for them to successfully establish their root systems before summer begins.

If you’re looking to plant your roses in containers, you can do that any time of the year. Since container-grown roses already have an established root system, they can be planted in containers year round. Even so, we do not recommend planting them during the summer due to the extreme heat.

Choosing the Right Type of Rose

When you’re considering what type of rose to buy, think about where you intend to plant it. Would you like a rose shrub, vine or tree? Based on your desired placement, will it have the support it needs to grow or climb?

At SummerWinds, we carry a variety of heat-resistant roses that are adaptable to local weather and that will grow and thrive in the Phoenix Metro Area, including:

  • Bush & Shrub Roses
  • Climbing & Tree Roses

Soils & Fertilizers

The best soil for roses is a fertile, well-draining soil. We recommend the following for superior rose health and growth. To learn more, click on the links below:

  • Soil – E.B. Stone Rose Grow Planting Mix
  • Fertilizers – E.B. Stone Organics Sure Start and E.B. Stone Organic Rose & Flower Food (available in three sizes)


Roses grow best when they have 6 or more hours of sun. Eastern exposure is best for climbing roses. During the hot summer months, your roses will appreciate some afternoon shade. If they are in a location that doesn’t provide them with any afternoon shade, we recommend that you spray/mist your roses to help increase the humidity and cool down their leaves.


More likely than not, if your roses aren’t doing well, it’s related to water. Roses grow best when watered often and deep. During the heat of summer, it’s best to water your roses at least three times a week (and by using a minimum of 5 to 7 gallons of water per plant each time you water).


We recommend that you prune your roses two times per year:

  • Once in the winter during dormancy before or immediately at the time the buds begin to swell (December thru February)
  • And again in the summer during the growing season, we recommend a light pruning and clean up only (end of August through September)

In addition, we also recommend that you remove spent flowers throughout the growing season to help stimulate the growth of additional flowers.

To learn more about roses, click the button below or speak with one of our Trusted Garden Advisors.

Learn More!

Roses: How To Plant

By Everett E. Janne
Extension Landscape Horticulturist (Deceased)
Texas A&M University System

Click on pictures in this article to see larger images

lanning a rose garden? If this is your first attempt, begin on a small scale. A dozen well-cared-for plants will produce more flowers and give greater pleasure than 4 or 5 dozen poorly cared for plants that take all your space and time.

Locate the rose bed where it will receive at least 6 hours of full sun per day. Light afternoon shade can be tolerated and is often desirable during the hottest part of the summer. Heavily shaded areas will produce bushes that are rank and have few flowers. Mildew and black spot disease also are more prevalent in shaded areas.

Good air circulation is essential. It aids in the rapid evaporation of morning dew thereby aiding in disease control. Some protection from prevailing strong winds is desirable as it reduces damage to the flowers.

Avoid planting near trees and shrubs having vigorous root systems or provide some form of mechanical barrier against them. The rose root is a poor competitor against this type of intrusion.

Try to locate the rose bed where it can be enjoyed from the interior of the home. Roses are deciduous and not very attractive during the dormant season. For this reason they should be visible while in bloom but should not be the dominant landscape element viewed from the window.

Good drainage, both surface and subsurface, is essential in a rose bed. Roses do not like ‘wet feet.’ Poor drainage usually can be corrected by installing a tile drain system, or by planting in raised beds using redwood or masonry framing. In much of the Gulf Coast area, the beds must be raised as much as 12 inches above the surrounding soil surface to provide the necessary drainage. Although a fertile soil is highly desirable, most soils can be modified and improved with the addition of organic matter or compost, and nutrients.

Soil preparation
For best results, begin the actual bed preparation 3 to 5 months before the anticipated planting date.

  1. Remove surface vegetation from the selected area.
  2. Spread 2 to 4 inches of sterilized cattle or sheep manure, composted organic matter, sawdust, shredded bark or a combination of these over the area.
  3. Add superphosphate at the rate of 6 to 8 pounds per 100 square feet of bed area.
  4. Spade these materials into the soil to a depth of 12 to 14 inches.
  5. Wet down the area and work once a month until planting time. Do not work soil while it is wet.

If the existing soil is extremely poor or no surface soil exists, it is sometimes advantageous to excavate and replace the existing soil with a prepared soil. This should be a last resort, however, as often more problems are created than solved with this procedure.

Roses prefer slightly acid soil with a pH range of 6.0 to 6.5. If the soil is on the alkaline side, the addition of 2 pounds of agricultural sulfur per 100 square feet should be worked into the bed along with the organic matter. Repeat this application to the surface of the bed each spring or as soil tests indicate.

A soil sample can be taken and a soil test made to determine fertilizer needs of the soil. Your county agricultural agent or your fertilizer dealer can supply you with information on how to have the soil tested.

Planting time
The planting season is governed by the availability of dormant rose bushes. Depending upon weather conditions, plants in most of the commercial rose production areas are not ready to dig until mid-November and early December. Roses dug before this time are usually green and do not transplant readily. In most areas of Texas they may be planted as soon as sound, fully dormant bushes become available. In the far West and in the Panhandle planting should take place in mid or late February. The advantage of late fall or early winter planting is that the roots can become established before warm weather forces top growth.

If weather conditions are unfavorable or if for any reason the plants cannot be planted as soon as received from the store, nursery, or mail order house, take steps to prevent drying out of the root system and keep the plants in a cool location. Refrigeration at 35 to 40 degrees F is ideal if a high humidity can be maintained.

Spacing rose plants
Hybrid tea and grandiflora roses usually are spaced 24 to 36 inches apart depending upon the vigor of the individual variety and the effect desired in the rose bed. Floribundas usually are spaced 18 to 24 inches apart. If two parallel rows of plants are to be placed in a bed, the bed should be at least 5 feet wide with a minimum of 3 feet between rows. Allow 4 to 5 feet of walk area between beds to facilitate maintenance and care.

Planting bare-root roses
Soak the roots of the rose plants in a bucket or tub of water for several hours before planting or wrap the plants in clean wet sacks to allow the roots and stems to absorb all the moisture they can.

Dig individual holes at least 12 to 24 inches deep and 16 to 18 inches in diameter depending on the size of the root system. Replace the soil in the hole so that it comes to within 8 inches of the top. Firm the soil with the hands, then form a mound or cone of soil in the center of the hole with the top of the cone about 3 inches below bed level. Check this by placing a stick or shovel handle across the top of the hole.

Remove one plant at a time from the bucket, planting it before removing the next one. Cut off all damaged or broken roots with a sharp knife or pruning shears. Trim off the tip of all other roots about 1 inch to encourage new feeder root development. If the plant has a large root system, enlarge the hole rather than cutting the roots to fit the hole.

Caution – do not attempt to plant when soil is wet. The soil is too wet if it can be pressed into a ball that will not crumble when you attempt to pick it up with the thumb and forefinger.

After the roots are covered with soil, fill the hole with water and allow it to drain away; then refill with water. After the water is drained away the second time, fill the hole with soil, mounding it slightly above the bed level to allow for settling. At this point the base of the bud union should be about 2 inches above the soil level.

If soil settling causes the bud union to sink lower than 2 inches above the bed level, raise it to the proper height by gently pulling the plant up with a pumping motion.

In the upper Panhandle, the bud union should be placed slightly below the soil level to protect it from severe winter cold. Dig the hole slightly deeper and keep the top of the soil mound about 5 inches below the bed level.

Using soil from your compost heap or from another portion of the garden, form a mound around the plant as much as 6 inches above the bud union. The mound of soil will protect the canes from desiccation by wind and sun until the roots have a chance to grow. In the spring when growth is well started, carefully remove the soil mound from the bed area.

When planting is complete, the canes should be cut back to 8 to 10 inches above the ground. Sometimes this pruning has already been done by the nursery or other source. Select a point about 1/4 inch above an outside bud and with sharp pruning shears make a slanting cut. Remove any weak or spindly growth arising from the base of the canes prior to the placement of the protective soil mound.

Modern roses are much easier to grow in your garden than you might think

Plants, like people, can get an undeserved reputation for being difficult. Such is the case with roses. You may have heard they need a lot of attention — spraying, dusting, and pruning — just to get a few flowers now and then. I’m happy to say nothing could be further from the truth.

Today’s roses are reliable performers in the garden.

Give them water and sunshine and you’ll have roses year after year.

No wonder the National Garden Bureau has designated 2017 the Year of the Rose in honor of the queen of flowers and the U.S. national flower. Perhaps you too should celebrate them by adding a rose bush to your Texas garden.

Yellow Brick Road rose from Easy Elegance Roses is a shrub.((National Garden Bureau))

Types of roses

If you’ve ever wandered into a rose garden, you’ll know there are many kinds of roses. Here’s a quick run-down on the six most-common types:

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“A rose is a rose is a rose.” The poet and playwright Gertrude Stein was born #OTD in 1874. #folgerrosegarden #hybridtearose #roses #fbf

A post shared by Smithsonian Gardens (@smithsoniangardens) on Feb 3, 2017 at 1:34pm PST

Hybrid Tea

These are the ones most used by florists for bouquets and corsages. They are long lasting, have long stems, and have usually one flower on each stem. The classic Mister Lincoln and Peace roses are in this group.

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Gorgeous “Julia Child” roses. 💛 Love the shape of their petals and the incredible scent, reminiscent of licorice. Hoping to plant these and a bunch of other varieties very soon… I’m definitely on a rose kick lately. // #floribunda #gardenroses #juliachildrose #gardening

A post shared by Angel Swanson (@loveandsplendor) on Apr 9, 2016 at 7:34pm PDT


Old-style roses with compact flowers growing in larger clusters than grandiflora. Examples include Iceberg and Julia Child.


This group of roses blend the best characteristics of hybrid tea and floribunda roses. They usually have several blooms on one stem. Grandiflora bushes can be quite large — as tall as 7 feet. The long canes can be trained along fences or up walls.


A class of roses commonly found in gifts as a growing plant, not cut flowers. They are frequently grown 3-5 in a pot for quick color.

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Taking part in Friday’s Front Porch photo with @asnipofgoodness Loving my Pierre de Ronsard climbing roses which are in full bloom at the moment #fridaysfrontporch #pierrederonsard #roses #climbingrose

A post shared by Coco Indigo (@lisarothenb) on Nov 11, 2016 at 2:12am PST


The individual blooms on climbing roses can be of a finer quality and larger than those of the bush form, according to Heirloom Roses.

Apricot Drift rose, Star Roses and Plants((National Garden Bureau))

Landscape or shrub

This easy-care category has gained great popularity since the Knockout and Drift series of roses were introduced and became common in pubic landscaping. About half of all roses sold today are in this category.

Selecting a rose for your Texas garden

Gardeners in North Texas deal with challenging climate conditions. Fortunately, most modern roses will grow many years in our hot and humid gardens. Alabama-based Christopher VanCleave, known as the Redneck Rosarian, is a member of the American Rose Society and contributor to The New Southern Living Garden Book. He suggests that you should start by asking yourself three questions before buying roses:

How much room do I have to grow a rose?

Most roses need 6-8 square feet, but some may need much more. In recent years, rose breeders have developed more compact rose bushes that fit in today’s smaller gardens. Read the plant tag carefully to select ones that fit your spot.

How much time do I have for maintenance?

Be honest with yourself. If you only want to do gardening once or twice a year, then minimal-care landscape roses are best for you. If you have more of a green thumb, consider the other varieties.

What color rose do I want?

If you want to cut roses for enjoyment indoors, color is key. A rose that grows flowers you don’t like will be neglected.

1/3Super Hero, Easy Elegance Roses((National Garden Bureau))

2/3Campfire Rose, First Editions Plants((National Garden Bureau))

3/3Oso Easy Italian Ice rose, Proven Winners((National Garden Bureau))

Preparing your rose for planting

So you’ve made your choice and have your new rose. Before you get out the shovel, you should do a little preparation. If your rose is “bare root” — with sawdust and packing material surrounding the roots — remove all the packaging until you have the plant fully exposed. If it is in a pot with soil, take the rose out of the container and give it a good shake or two to remove the potting medium.

With the roots exposed, use sharp pruning shears to remove any damaged or severely twisted roots. Ideally the large roots should fan out in a cone shape. Roots that are tightly wound together will likely produce a weak and stunted bush.

While you’re pruning the roots, check carefully around the base and remove and wire or plastic mesh surrounding the trunk. If left in place, this will eventually strangle the growing trunk. Take a moment to look for a spot near the bottom of the main stems where the trunk is thickened. This is the graft union between the root stock and the blooming rose. You’ll need to know where this is when you plant the bush.

Now it’s time to dig

Look for a spot with good drainage and full sun. Avoid planting where water puddles in your garden after heavy rains. Soil that is frequently too wet will damage the roots and may eventually kill your rose bush.

Six to eight hours of direct sunlight is equally important for vigorous growth and healthy blooms.

Once you’ve selected a spot in your garden for your rose, dig a hole as deep as the roots and about twice as wide. Remove any rocks or other obstructions. Now lower the rose bush into the hole while keeping the graft union above the top of the soil surface. Fill the hole with dirt and lightly tamp it in place with your hands. Water thoroughly to finish the job.

Coral Cove rose, Easy Elegance Roses((National Garden Bureau))

Caring for your rose

Good news! Today’s modern roses do not need as much careful care as the ones that grew in your grandmother’s garden. Breeders have developed today’s roses to be more hardy and require less care. Although many will survive without attention, some basic care will produce great results year after year.

The first thing your rose needs is regular watering. “Roses hate wet feet, but love to drink water,” VanCleave says. Regular watering throughout the year will help your rose to thrive. Watch out for problems with water sitting too long around the base. If this happens, move your rose to a spot with better drainage or transfer it into a container.

Paint The Town rose, Easy Elegance Roses((National Garden Bureau))

Next comes fertilizer. Producing beautiful roses requires regular feeding.

Most fertilizers for flowering shrubs will work nicely, although there are fertilizers specially formulated for roses.

In humid weather rose bushes can be attacked by fungal diseases, particularly “black spot” and “powdery mildew.” VanCleave suggests preventing these with a late winter application of neem oil or other organic anti-fungal oil. If fungal problems appear later, just remove the affected leaves. If the disease becomes more widespread, use commercially available anti-fungal powder.

Roses are also susceptible to sucking insects, especially aphids that love the tender growth surrounding flower buds. The best defense against this is an organic garden where beneficial insects are encouraged to keep problem insects at bay. If you do see a colony of aphids, remove any heavily damaged growth and spray the damaging insects with insecticidal soap.

Duchesse de Brabrant at the National EarthKind Trial Rose Garden & Display Gardens in Farmers Branch in 2010.

Texas Earth-Kind Roses

Realizing the need for hardy roses that grow well in our climate extremes, the Texas AgriLife Extension Service has developed a list of Earth-Kind Roses proved to be hardy in the Lone Star State. These roses have undergone a rigorous eight-year test of their ability to thrive on minimal use of pesticides, fertilizer and water. Each variety was grown in “a variety of soil types, ranging from well-drained acid sands to poorly aerated, highly alkaline clays.” From these tests, 21 cultivars were selected. If you have a hard time growing roses, then perhaps Earth-Kind roses are the solution for you.

Ann McCormick is a Fort Worth freelance writer.

Fall is a Great Time for Planting Roses

By: Guest BloggerSeptember 26th, 2012

Fall is not just a time to plant your spring bulbs and enjoy colorful foliage, it is also an excellent time to plant roses. The Knock Out® Family of Roses and Drift® Roses are perfect for fall planting. The sun is still able to nurture a newly planted rose and the cool nights are perfect for keeping new plants moist.

Pick a sunny spot, with at least six hours of sunlight, and space your roses about two to three feet apart. Dig a hole that is about twice as wide as the pot, and a little bit deeper than the height of the pot. When planting Knock Out® or Drift® Roses, you do not need to add fertilizer. You should also use your hand to gently loosen the roots before putting the rose in the hole and filling in with dirt. Watering is important – about one to two gallons per plant is good.

In most climates, as the days grow darker, your rose will get ready for winter. Click here to see what rosarian Paul Zimmerman, contributor to Fine Gardening magazine, has to say about planting roses in the fall – and how to find some bargains at your local garden center.

Star® Roses and Plants employees share their unique horticultural perspectives.

More from this Author

Summer is your garden’s time to shine. Long, sunny days mean that everything is in full bloom, lush and green. “I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.” – Emma Goldman Is there anything more extravagant than a big, lush rose garden? If only we all had the room to plant one!

Planting Roses

When to Plant

  • Plant Heirloom Roses anytime from spring to early fall depending on the weather in your area.
  • Take temperatures into consideration. Roses need to be in the ground at least 6 weeks before your first frost in the fall or planted just after your last frost in the spring.
  • Allow time to establish before it gets cold and they go dormant. If they do not have enough roots established, they will not be able to break dormancy in the spring.
  • Waiting until the ground has warmed up in the spring will ensure that the rose will establish quickly and start to produce the desired growth.

How to Plant

How To Plant Your Heirloom Rose(s)

  • Begin with a soil test to determine pH and nutrient levels so that corrections can be made if needed. A pH of 6.5 is the point where nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (NPK), plus trace minerals are most easily available to your flowers. Arid regions tend to have alkaline soils and regions with heavy rainfall tend to have acidic soils.
  • Dig a BIG HOLE. It is the single most important factor in growing beautiful, large rose bushes. The hole needs to be 2 feet x 2 feet. Plant roots tend to stay inside the holes that they are planted in. By digging a big hole, the roots have room to spread. The more area the roots cover, the better the rose can absorb water and nutrients providing the desired top growth.
  • Prep the soil. Mix 1/3 peat moss with soil from the top 2/3 of the hole. Discard the soil from the bottom of the hole, as it is normally not as fertile as the top. Add 1 cup of bone meal to the mixture, and then place well-rotted cow or horse manure in the bottom 6 inches of the hole. It will provide food for the rose when the roots reach it after the first growing season. Manure and some compost can be hot, so putting it only in the bottom of the hole will prevent burning the fine feeder roots.
  • Fill the hole with enough soil mixture so the soil will sit 1 inch lower than the level of the surrounding area.
  • Squeeze the pot to loosen the plant, place one hand over the surface and turn upside down, catching the rose as it slides from the pot. Set the plant in place.
  • Fill with remaining soil mixture and water well. Using a bagged potting mix with fertilizer added to it could burn or stunt the young root development.


  • Water newly planted roses 2 to 3 times per week until established. Afterwards, give them a deep watering (2 inches) once a week or, if extremely warm, twice a week.
  • Water at the base of the plants to keep the foliage dry and prevent diseases. Well-watered roses are more disease resistant, as water deprivation stresses plants and makes them susceptible to disease and pests. If that is not an option, water early in the day making sure the rose has time to dry out before nightfall.
  • Water well before and after feeding or treating with anything.


  • Feed Heirloom’s roses with a liquid only fertilizer the first season. Roses are heavy feeders and the granular fertilizers are too hot and will burn the fine baby roots and kill the rose. We recommend Alaska Fish Fertilizer which may be used every three weeks while blooming. Do not use any other fertilizer that starts in a granular form.
  • A granular type fertilizer can be used for the second season. A healthy own-root rose will reward you with beautiful blooms for many years to come.

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