How To Plant the Ultimate Roses

Selection and Time:
Many people choose container-grown roses. When visiting a nursery, find out the roses ultimate size and color. Bare-root roses need to be checked so that they do not dry out. No matter your choice, there could be dead stalks. Be sure to trim these back to live or green wood.

Early spring is the most popular time to grow. Although in some of the warmer parts of the country, year-round planting occurs. In the cooler areas, most people do not plant after the early Fall. The goal should be to establish a healthy root system for our newly planted rose.

Choose the Proper Placement:
Selecting the planting site is of utmost importance. Light equals energy; therefore roses need as much energy as possible to flourish. Six hours of direct sun daily is the recommendation for roses. Many rose cultivators prefer early morning light because this helps to dry off the leaves which reduces the amount of fungal issues, such as black spot and powdery mildew.

Taken from my own personal experience, a Don Juan climbing rose was grown on the west side of my home, where it was nurtured and grew with vigor for over twenty years. In other words, planting site rules can be amended.

Improving the Soil:
Most soils have less than 1% organic matter. This is not nearly enough. An ideal soil would have closer to 25% organic matter. When planting roses use a large bag of Black Kow® composted cow manure per rose bush at planting time. Black Kow should be incorporated into the existing soil at the planting site. Notice that the soil will start to appear richer and has the ability to hold water and nutrients. Think of it as building a strong foundation for those luxurious rose blooms. Black Kow is an organic, all-natural method of improving our native soils by its moisture-holding capacity and ability to provide aeration. Beneficial bacteria are also an added bonus.

If Black Kow is not available in your area, you can use a good combination of sphagnum peat moss and a local brand of manure. Refer to your local nurseryman for his expert advice.

Depth and Spacing:
Roses should be planted at the same depth as they were growing in the container. For bare-rooted, make sure the roots are all planted but the crown of the plant is above ground. If you’re concerned about poor drainage in your area, think of planting with a small pitcher’s mound in mind. It is easier to add extra water than to have roses sit in an area that is constantly wet.

The planting hole should be 2 ft. deep and 2 ft. across for larger roses. Remember to incorporate the Black Kow into this planting site. Hybrid teas, Grandifloras, and Floribundas should be planted about 24-36 inches apart. Climbing roses should be about 4-6 ft. apart when planted on a trellis or other structure. Miniature roses can be planted about 18-24 inches apart.

During planting time, make sure that there are not any air pockets underneath the newly planted rose. Use the hose to help wash the soil and amendments in around the root system. This will help to prevent any air pockets and eliminate a dry root system.

Fertilization and Routine Maintenance:
Dynamite fertilizer ensures the rose plant will be fed over an extended period. This is very important because roses are heavy feeders. The beauty of Dynamite is that every time you water a small amount of fertilizer is released, reducing the risk of burn and over-feeding. It’s time-released coating allows the plant to reduce the applications of traditional fertilizers. Dynamite ensures a more earth-friendly approach to growing.

Inspect your rose plant weekly. Good sanitation is a must; pick off any leaves that have any signs of mildew or black spot fungus. These discarded leaves should be placed into a bag or container and disposed of so as not to spread any diseases. Trim off spent blooms and cut some roses to bring inside for the pure enjoyment.

Roses can be a little bit of work but the reward is certainly worth the effort.

Stan Defreitas

Stan DeFreitas, “Mr. Green Thumb”, is a well-known garden writer and sought-after lecturer. He has many years of experience on radio and television as the host of his own gardening programs. His book titles include: Stan DeFreitas’s Complete Guide to Florida Gardening, The Stan DeFreitas Garden Answer Book and The Water-Thrifty Garden. Visit Stan’s Website to learn more and to order his books: AskMrGreenThumb.com

He currently lives in Pinellas County, Florida.

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