Yes, More Than Just Digging A Hole!
If planting roses was just about digging holes my dog would be an expert! Actually, she is quite good at hole digging: unfortunately her choice of planting material isn’t so nice. Planting Roses 101.
A word of warning about planting roses however. I have known of roses that have literally been thrown into a hole and forgotten about, only to become the most stunning specimens.
I’ve also seen the stubborn ‘no grow’ types, even though professional landscapers have taken hours of planned preparation. I look at it this way: make it happy and it will flourish, if it isn’t happy move it until it is!
Where you choose to plant is very important. Space bushes a meter apart (3 feet plus), away from overhanging trees, in a spot where your rose does not compete for nourishment with other plants, at least initially. Don’t plant in a spot where another has just been removed and make sure it will get about 6 hours of light a day in the growing season.
When you plant, depends on your location. If your winters are severe and drop below -10 degrees C then spring planting, after frost would be best, otherwise fall (October) or spring would be fine. Bare root roses go in in the fall and potted roses can be planted at either times.
So what about this hole?
Dig out your hole 18 inches wide by 16 inches deep…..or you could dig in metric if you wish!
Mix the soil you have removed with some well rotted compost and a handful of bone meal. If you are planting bare root roses make sure they have been soaked in a bucket of water for at least 24 hours.
Build a little pyramid of soil in the base of the hole and spread the bare roots over it but DON’T FORCE THE ROOTS! If the rose is potted, tap off (or slice down the sides of the pot) and remove the pot, place the root ball in the hole, level with the surface.
That is, the surface of the root ball must be level with the surface of the ground: use a cane or stick placed across the top of the hole to show this.
Back fill the hole with your newly mixed up soil and firm it down with your foot. (wearing boots of course!)
Make sure the graft (the knobbly bit) if there is one, is at the correct level. If you have very cold winters it should be 3 inches below the surface. If you live in a mild, temperate region, the graft “knob” can be just above the ground, but make sure you allow for the soil settling!
Water in well with a good gallon of water and do the same watering each day for the next three days to avoid planting shock.
- Make sure you label your roses well enough to be read in the years to come.
- Most newly planted roses will not need fertilizing until the following year.
- If you are planting in fall and expecting a cold winter, hill them up with peat moss, soil or straw for protection.
- When planting roses don’t forget that they will be with you for the next 10 to 15 years….so make sure they are in the correct spot!