Planting Roses

The first step in the successful culture of roses is correct planting. Roses are available as bare-root or container grown. Dormant, bare-root roses should be planted in early spring (late March or April). Container-grown roses can be planted from May through midsummer. Roses perform best in well-drained soils in full sun. Sites should receive at least 6 hours of sun. In poorly drained areas, plant roses in raised beds.

Before planting bare-root roses, soak their roots in water for a few hours. In Iowa, the bud union (denoted by a knob or bend in the stem of the plant) of the hybrid tea, grandiflora, and floribunda roses should be planted 2 to 4 inches below the soil surface. This helps protect the plant from harsh winter weather. Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the plant's roots and bud union.

Position the bare-root rose in the center of the hole with the bud union at the proper depth. Spread out the plant's roots then begin to place soil back in the hole. Gently firm the soil around the roots as the hole is filled. Thoroughly water the plant after the hole has been filled. Let the soil settle and mound 3 to 4 inches of soil around the base of the canes to prevent injury from desiccation. Remove the soil once growth begins.

Container-grown roses are planted in a similar manner. Without disturbing the soil ball, carefully remove the rose from the pot. Place the rose in a predug hole. Fill the hole with soil and water thoroughly. Mounding soil around the base of the canes is not necessary as the plants are in an active growing stage.

For more information on proper care of roses obtain a copy of RG 310, Caring for Roses in Iowa, from your local county extension office.

This article originally appeared in the April 11, 2003 issue, p. 37.

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