Roses can be planted in the soil or in pots or containers. But how and when exactly should you do this, and what is the best place
Roses come with bare roots or in a pot. Roses with bare roots should be planted from October to April. October and November are the most favourable months. Pot roses can be planted year round, even while they are in full bloom. The soil should not be frozen for either variety.
Planting roses in the soil
- It is important that air can circulate throughout the rose bed. You can ensure this by planting two to three roses per square metre. This amounts to a planting distance of 60 to 70 centimetres.
- Dig a generous and deep planting hole: at least twice as wide and one and a half times as deep as the root ball. If the soil is arid, add a soil improver, available from garden centres and nurseries.
- If you are planting a rose where roses have previously grown, make the planting hole larger (at least 40 x 40 cm) and fill it with fresh soil: either fertilised soil you can purchase or soil from another area in the garden.
- Mix some extra compost into the soil. This will improve the water and food buffering capacity and ensure a lighter structure, so that excess water can drain away more easily. Compost also promotes active soil life, which will make more nutrients available to the plant.
- Add some water to the planting hole, or for a bare-root rose, put it in a bucket of water for a few hours. The rose can then saturate itself with water.
- Many roses are grafted: they consist of a (wild) rootstock plus the rose variety itself. Always plant a grafted rose sufficiently deep, so that the grafting site (the thickening above the roots where the first branches are) is 3 cm below the soil. This will protect the grafting point from desiccation or frost damage. It will also prevent the rootstock from sprouting and producing suckers. If planting an ungrafted rose, all of its roots and a small part of its trunk should be planted below the soil surface.
- Lightly press down the soil around the shrub.
- Work some organic fertiliser into the upper level of the soil.
- Finally, water the rose.
Planting roses in pots or tubs
- Use a pot that provides enough space for the root ball and has holes at the bottom. This will allow excess water to drain.
- To prevent the pot from freezing and breaking during winter, you can apply a layer of bubble wrap. Do make sure that the hole at the bottom of the pot remains free to allow for draining. The bubble wrap will absorb the expansion of the water during a spell of frost. This will keep the pot in one piece.
- Add a layer of gravel of about five centimetres to the bottom of the pot to help with drainage.
- Carefully remove the pot from the root ball.
- Place the rose in the pot, ensuring that the top of the root ball is at least one centimetre below the rim of the pot.
- Fill the rest of the pot with the potting compost, pressing it down carefully.
- Finally, water the pot generously.
Sun and space
Roses adore sunshine. They need five to six hours of direct sunlight for optimal flowering. The sun also helps the ripening of the rose hips. This is why roses are best planted in a sunny spot in the garden or on the balcony or terrace. Besides sunshine, space is also important. If the rose has insufficient space, it will not get enough light and air. In case of rainy weather and dew, the leaves will not dry properly and the rose will become more susceptible to diseases. Place roses fifty centimetres from walls to prevent them drying out.
Tips for planting roses
- Never plant roses when it is too wet outside, as this can spoil the structure of the soil.
- Roses naturally root deeply, so you will need to dig deep into the soil when you start planting.
- Remove the root ball from the pot by turning the pot upside down and gently squeezing it. This will help loosen the root ball from the pot without damaging the root ball.
- Make sure that the grafting point (the place where branching starts) is about five cm below the soil. The rose will then be able to sprout new branches after a harsh winter from the dormant eyes that are underground. This will also reduce any issues with root suckers.
- If the soil in your garden is dry, add an extra mulch layer (organic material) of around five centimetres. This ensures that the soil is less likely to dry out due to sun and wind.
- It is better not to plant roses in a spot that previously had roses because the soil may be depleted. If you really want to plant roses in the same spot again, add a generous amount of compost to the soil. Roses grow best in a moist and nutrient-rich soil.