Roses are available bare-root in the fall and spring, and can be purchased and planted as container roses throughout the gardening season. Bare-root roses are less expensive, but have a short planting time. The variety of bare-root roses is usually much greater than container roses. Whichever supply form you choose, your roses will grow safely with these three tips.
1. Thoroughly water the roses before planting
Whether in fall or spring, water thoroughly, even in cloudy weather and even in rain. To do this, submerge container roses in a bucket of water before planting until no more air bubbles rise and the plants are submerged in the water. For bare-root roses, place them in a bucket of water for six to eight hours in the fall so that the roots are submerged, and the roses can really soak up the water. Roses available for planting in the spring come from cold storage and are accordingly even more thirsty. Then place them in water for about 24 hours. For bare-root roses, cut the shoots to about 20 centimeters (5 in) in length and slightly shorten the root tips. Damaged roots come off completely.
2. Prepare the soil well for planting roses
Roses send their roots far into the ground and therefore need deep loose soil. The planting pit should therefore be twice as wide and deep as the root ball for container plants. Loosen the edges and soil at the bottom of the planting pit with a spade or the tines of a digging fork. For bare-root roses, the planting hole should be deep enough for the roots to fit in without bending over and then still have loose soil around them on all sides. Loosen the soil at the bottom of the planting hole and the sides as well.
Roses love humus rich soil. In any case, mix the excavated soil with mature compost or potting soil and a handful of horn shavings. Fresh manure and mineral fertilizers should not be used in the planting hole.
3. Plant roses deep enough
The bud union, that is, the thickening between the roots and shoots, determines the depth of planting roses and should be a good five centimeters (2 in) deep in the ground after planting. Take this depth into account when filling the planting pit with excavated soil. You can get a good estimate of the position of the grafting site with a stake placed over the planting hole, leaving about three fingers’ width of space between the stake as a measure of the future soil level and the grafting point. By the way, this also applies to roses in planting containers, where the bud union is usually located above the potting soil, and in this case you plant the root ball lower than the level of the soil in the garden. Quite the opposite of almost all other plants, where the upper edge of the root ball should be approximately flush with the garden soil.