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Planting And Care For Rose Bushes

Updated on April 26, 2018

Get Your Rose Bushes Off To A Good Start

By Sharon Stajda,

If I Can Do It So Can You. If you follow a few simple instructions, your rose bush will be more than happy to give you wonderful blooms year after year.

With the exception of large climbers, most rose bushes can be grown successfully in containers.When met with these requirements one can grow roses that can attain a good height, and spread of up to five feet. Rose bushes can be planted in large containers with good success and will do very well year after year. There are however a few basic rules to consider. Rule number one, it's of utmost importance that the container is large enough to provide ample growing space for the rose bushes roots, also the rose bush must be provided good drainage. Rule number two, you need to plant the rose bush in good soil and provide a location with good sun sunlight, and ample air circulation.

When To Plant Rose Bushes

If you have ordered bushes from a mail order house, the actual supplier will take the guesswork out of it for you, and ship at the proper planting time for your area.

If you are going to be planting rose bushes in a container, they can be planted any time of year. If you will be starting them in the house in a sunny window. If you are planting outside, It is best to plant in the spring and fall so the roots have a chance to make a home for themselves before they are stressed by extreme cold or heat.

Bare-root roses that you purchase from a nursery are in the dormant state. So planting is different. Planting time for this type of rose is based on the severity of the individual winter climate in your area. If temperatures in your area do not fall below 10 degrees, you can plant whenever the bare-root roses are available. If the minimum winter temperature falls between 10 degrees and -10 degrees, you should plant only in the early spring or late fall. If the coldest winter temperature in your area is below -10 degrees, plant only in the early spring. If you fall in this group, be sure to wait until the possibility of spring freezes has passed. New transplants can succumb to severe drops in temperature.

Regardless of when you plant, choose a day that's not windy or very hot.

Planting The Rose Bush - The Graft Level


Time To Get Your Hands Dirty

The Proper Soil Is Important

Soil Type
Roses like good rich soil, the addition of a generous quantity of well-rotted manure or garden compost can ensure your rose bush a comfortable soil to thrive in. I like to simplify by using a premixed rose soil such as Miracle Grow For Rose Bushes. You may choose to mix your own soil, this is not hard to do, but one will actually spend more for the different soil components.

If You Prefer To Mix Your Soil

Time to prepare the soil, mix one-third good quality commercial potting soil, one-third hearty garden compost (if you have do not have compost available substitute it with more potting soil) and one-third composted mushroom or steer manure. You may also at this time add an extra cup of perlite to the mix, this will enhance soil drainage. It is beneficial to the rose to add one cup of bonemeal to the soil. I also suggest adding 1 cup of fishmeal, and a cup blood meal. This soil combination will assure you roses that will produce many hearty blooms over the growing season

Tip: Rose bushes love rich, loose soil: Roses require a lot of food and nutrients. When planting roses, make sure to mix in generous portions of compost and manure into the native garden soil. If compost is not available, add store-bought peat moss mixed with cow manure.

Planting A Rose Bush

Step one - start by digging the hole in a zone where the weather indicates a cold winter the graft should be planted two inches below ground level. This will give the bush protection in winter months. If the bush will have only mild climates to deal with the plant the graft two inches above ground level. (The graft area is easy to spot, look for the bumpy knots that sit above root system.) Keep in mind grafted roses are hardier than ungrafted varieties. In regard to the diameter of the hole, keep in mind the root need room to comfortably spread out. Dig the hole so that the roots have lots of room. A good rule makes sure the there is about 8 inches from the root on all sides. When you have dug the proper hole depth and width, form a small mound of dirt in the center bottom of the hole. Next, add about a third of a cup of superphosphate or bone meal mix into a dirt mound. Superphosphate will give the bush the nourishment it needs while taking hold. Time to place the rose bush into the hole, make sure to drape the roots over the dirt mound you have created. Add soil while providing stability to the bush, tap the soil down and continue to add soil and tap down until the hole is half full. At this point add a bit of Epsom Salts (about a fourth of a cup) just sprinkle it around the soil, then work it in with your hand. After this continue to fill the hole with dirt until your at the point of leaving your graph level as instructed above. Water well.

Mulch - A fresh, 2-inch layer of mulch at the base of the rose bush just over the root can help in keeping the bush healthy. Mulch works to keep the soil moist and cool in hot weather, and it can also provide a barrier to weeds. Weeds can and will steal nutrients from the rose bush.

Planting The Rose Bush In A Container

Fill the container about two-thirds full with the soil mix mound the soil in the center (this helps root sit more easily on the soil, and roots to grab into the soil with ease). Place the rose bush, with its roots well spread out in the soil, over the slightly mounded soil. Then fill in around the rose with the remaining earth. Press down gently as you add soil, gently but firmly around the protruding canes. The soil edge surface should be level with the bud union (where the rose is grafted onto the rootstock). If the rose seems too deep in the potting container, remove it, and repeat the planting procedure. The soil will compress with time, and the entire contents will sink into the container. For this reason, make sure to fill the container right to the top.

Watering Your Rose Bush - Roses Love Water

Watering Your Rose Bush Water is so important to the growing rose. After you have planted your rose bush, saturate it with room temperature water. (I keep a warming barrel for water to warm by nature's sun.) Containers tend to dry out more quickly than soil in the ground. This is one reason it is so important to water container roses often. Especially during long periods of drought or days of prolonged heat. I suggest a spot check every two days in the summer months. Dryness will determine whether a rose needs to be watered. A spot check is done by scratching the soil, about an inch down. If it is totally dry-the rose is in need watering.

I also recommend you water at the base of the rose bush and avoid getting the leaves wet if possible. Hot humid weather is a breeding ground for rose diseases. Adding water to the leaves during humid weather will help promote disease growth. In addition, if you have applied insecticide or fungicides, you are washing it all away.

Rose Bushes Love Sun And Fresh Air

For a good healthy roses bush, place the rose in an area where it will benefit from moving air. The spacing container's about two feet apart is the rule of thumb. Good air flow can help in preventing the incidence of fungus-related rose diseases. Also, keep in mind, roses love the sun. If possible they should have a full day of sun or at least seven hours. Finally, in spring offer roses in containers a tablespoon of Epsom salts. Just sprinkled the salts around the base of the plant. This will provides your rose bush with the necessary magnesium it needs for healthy summer foliage. Also, a kick-start of a fish emulsion feeds in spring to get them off to a healthy start. Last but not least. If you live in an area where winters are cold and harsh, It is advisable to move the container into a winter sheltered site or temporarily indoors.

Tip: Plenty of sunshine is the first and foremost ingredient to consider when planning your rose bush, keep in mind that roses will thrive in full sun. If a full day's sunlight is not available, roses will tolerate partial shade.But naturally, the bush will not give as many flowers, and the blooms may be smaller. I have planted rose bushes in partial shade, and with a bit more food, they grow quite well.

Feeding Rose Bushes

Provide plenty Plant Food: Roses consume significant amounts of nutrients. What you add to your soil at planting time will kick-start the plant's growth.

But they will need a good feeding regime, to flourish. Some gardeners have their own secrets to feeding their roses, such as burying the remains of fish, or other animals byproducts, under their rose bush, and swear by their good results.

These stories bare some truth true. Use caution when you use fish or other animal byproducts...while your roses will respond favorably, a fish under your plant, as a rule, will attract neighborhood cats, and other animals to also feed on your garden. Digging at the base of the rose bush, and cause root damage to the bush.

So-what to feed your rose bush?

When reading bags of fertilizer, note the middle number on the bag. The middle number of common fertilizer is Phosphorus. Phosphorus is the chemical element in the plant world that promotes good growth, and healthy flower blooming.

When growing flowers, a fertilizer heavy in phosphorus will help promote those big, beautiful blooms. Most garden stores carry several varieties of fertilizers, and ones specially made to feed roses. I suggest using store bought fertilizer to feed your roses. When reading the ingredients, you will see the higher phosphorus levels.

Each Rose fertilizer brand will have good directions, on feeding schedules.

Tip: Fertilize on a regular basis. I recommend every two or three weeks. Follow the directions on the fertilizer container. Use a higher nitrogen fertilizer at the beginning of the season. This will promote the growth of leaves and roots. it gets the rose bush off to a good start. When buds start to pop, switch over to a food with higher phosphorus. This will ensure you bigger better blooms, and loads of wonderful flowers.

Aphids And Rose Bushes Don't Get Along

Are soft-bodied insects about 1 ΒΌ inch long. Aphids can be found in a range of colors from black to pink to white and pale green. They usually cluster on the new growth of perennials, roses, and woody plants. Adults and nymphs damage plants by sucking out sap. In small numbers, aphids do little harm. However, they can rapidly build up to destructive numbers. Ladybugs love to eat aphids, so never chase off ladybugs.

A couple helpful tips, on ridding your garden of pesky aphids. With spring comes the pesky little aphid. Aphids are soft-bodied sucking insects, they rarely kill plants in your landscaping, but they love to do damage to your floral garden. Natural garden predators can help manage aphid populations, so to control aphids - you should target the aphids, not the ladybugs, green lacewings, tiny parasitic wasps, and hoverflies which are great little creatures that will help you rid your garden of the unwanted aphids pests.

Keep in mind, 90 percent of the bugs in your garden is necessary, to ensure a healthy atmosphere in the garden. When using chemical pesticides, you are at risk of killing bugs indiscriminately. The short-term advantage that you will derive from pesticides will be overshadowed by the loss of beneficial insects, that help your garden stay healthy.

Aphids will always start on tender young growth as a rule in the spring. Aphids hate potassium and will avoid it like the plague. Rose bushes love potassium. They thrive on it. So, don't toss out those banana peels, put those banana peels at the base of your rose bushes. Don't fret - the peelings disappear into the soil within a day or two. Aphids are one of the most destructive bugs in a garden, they are especially destructive to rose bushes. Inspect your rose bushes regularly for aphid infestation. Aphids secrete a sweet sticky substance, called honeydew. If honeydew is left on the leaves, it will serve as a growing medium for sooty mold. Sooty mold is black in color, ants are attracted to the sweet honeydew on the leaves.

My roses garden is very healthy, and I attribute this great health to the healthy soil I provide the garden. I try to practice organic gardening, when possible. It is my belief if you feed the soil, the soil will feed the plant. Good healthy soil will aid to produce strong growth of plants and ensure that a large population of the organisms that will fight pests, and disease survive, to help me keep my garden healthy.

Removing Old Bloom To Promote new Bloom - Deadheading

Want to have blooms all season? Deadheading the old spent flower will promote new blooms.

The method I use has done me well, there are a couple methods to deadhead a spent rose. I use the traditional method. Just below a rose bloom, you will see a left stem with three leaves, look further down the stem, as you come to a juncture where you see two five leaf configurations in a row, one five leaf configuration will be about 1/2 inch below the other. You will be making your cut at the first five leaf configuration. Cut at a 45-degree angle just slightly above where the stem meets the leaf configuration, leaving the two five leaf configurations intact. See the photo to better understand where to cut. You will also see in the photo where the rose was deadheaded and shows the new growth with a new flower. As the plant is deadheaded again, new growth will repeat itself, producing a new flower.

If you don't deadhead old blooms, your rose bush will get spindly, with long stems, that may not produce new blooms in the current season. Deadheading will give you beautiful blooms all summer long.

How To Deadhead Roses

Keeping Your Rose Bush Manicured - Pruning & Trimming

Pruning and trimming: Rose bushes respond well to being manicured. It's important to prune your rose bushes on a regular basis. A well maintained rose bush should appear full, without appearing shaggy, and ill-shaped.

It's important to allow several main stems to grow and develop without pruning. Allowing enough room between the stems for good air circulation. This trimming pattern will also help to avoid plant diseases. It will also cause the plant to promote growth at the remaining stems. This will ensure the bush will send off new stem shoots, where many new flowers will bud, and flourish.

A good rule of thumb that applies to rose pruning is: Prune immediately after the flowering season. This means that if a rose blooms only once a year, it should be pruned right after the flowers have finished. Do not overdo summer pruning. It can result in loss of too much sap. The repeat or continuous-flowering roses should be pruned when they are dormant, usually in January.

Container Rose Bush


What is the best container to plant a rose bush in?

The container can be plastic or clay or wood. I prefer plastic or wooden barrels, they seem to fares better in colder climates, where freezing can crack clay containers to bits. If your climate is warm all year round, I suggest using clay containers, the clay container will provide the roots with the cooler condition during the summer months. If choosing plastic, due to a cooler climate, it is better to purchase the lighter terracotta color rather than the darker plastics, the darker tends to attract heat, and this is a "no-no" for the rose bushes roots.

What Type Of Rose Bush Should You Plant In A Container

It's important to choose the type of rose bush that suits your needs? Most rose bushes will thrive in large containers. I always think it smart to ask lots of questions on a rose bush before purchasing the variety. I have listed below three of my favorite rose bushes, that have done me well in my own experience with planting rose bushes in containers. Each suiting different landscaping needs.

Size Of Container - Think Really Big!

Size Of Container: It is important that rose bushes and small shrub roses be placed in containers no less than 15 inches in diameter. They will do well there for two years and then will need transplanting into larger pots. You can save yourself the trouble of transplanting, by using a larger pot, right off. Roses in containers deplete the soil of its nutrients rapidly than if they were bedded in the ground. So keep in mind the bush can outgrow its home, and need transplanting.

Lets Prepare The Soil - The Right Soil Mix Is Important

Preparing The Soil: To prepare the container for the rose to be planted, place a layer about one inch deep of gravel or other medium-sized rocks in the bottom of the container. This layer will serve as drainage and prevents the soil from becoming too compressed at the bottom of the pot. Use soil mixture recipe listed above. ( Time To Get Your Hands Dirty)

Tip - Rose bushes love rich, loose soil: Roses require a lot of food and nutrients. When planting roses, make sure to mix in generous portions of compost and manure into the native garden soil. If compost is not available, add store-bought peat moss mixed with cow manure.

The Carpet Rose

Want A Rose Bush With Easy Care? Choose A Carpet Rose

The Wandering Rose - The Rambling Rose" by any other name is the Carpet Rose.

The carpet rose is wonderfully placed in containers where you want lots of showy colors, with a mass of bush and flowering ground cover. I then plant large containers of roses, and placed them to the back of gardens, to flow down over the carpet roses. They give great height to a garden, bringing the eye up from ground level. Also, great place in the ground to crawl and mingle with the other flowers.

Carpet Roses bushes are the number one rose bushes used for ground covering. I love the carpet rose in a large container, just flowing overdoing their thing. The carpet rose was introduced in 1995, the carpet rose came about with over 30 years of breeding by German grower Noack Rosen. Rosen wanted to create the perfect rose that would be easy to care for, grow well, and be disease resistant pest resistant plus give off hardy long-lasting blooms. He was successful in achieving just such a rose bush. The carpet rose bush has all the qualities Rosen set out to achieve. They are beautiful, grows with almost no care, and blooms continuously throughout the summer.

Carpet rose bushes have grown to take over 10% of the annual rose market. Making it the single most popular rose variety in history. The carpet rose is a perfect choice if you are looking for a rose bush with low maintenance. It grows best in a sunny location. The bush needs no special care or feeding as in most roses. The bush loves water, so will require frequent watering. They're hardy in North American zones 5 -10.

Each year it seems there is a new color introduced. New varieties have been released almost every year to the public since their conception. A few of my favorite colors - red, coral, white, yellow, pink, and apple blossom. Many times referred to as the "wandering rose or rambling rose" they picked up these nicknames due to the ability to wander, and carpet all they come in touch with beautiful clusters of color. They are wonderful ground cover and easy to care for.

Planting: The carpet rose also do well planted in large containers, such as whiskey barrels. They will flow beautifully over the sides and can be pruned to keep them contained. Flower carpet roses are also perfect for flower beds, landscapes, and hanging baskets.

The Rose And Its Fragrance

What's the first thing you do when you see a rose? I as a rule is smelled It, do you smell a rose before purchasing a bush? If so you may want to consider planting a wonderfully fragrant hybrid tea rose bush! A rose by any other name, may not smell as sweet as a tea rose hybrid rose. I love the hybrid tea for their long stem beauty and fantastic fragrance. The bush gives off wonderful long stem cutting flowers. One bloom will give wonderful scent to any given room. I plant Hybrid teas in large containers in areas such as my patio, deck. I want them close, to enjoy the scent. The lavender hybrid rose here in this photo is one of my favorite. The name of the rose is "The Sterling Silver." It has not only a great fragrance, but the color is beautiful. Hybrid roses come in a wide variety of colors, it won't be hard to find one you will fall in love with.


The Hybrid Tea Rose And Its Variation Of Scent

What's the first thing people do when handed a rose bloom? They smell it! To some gardeners fragrance in roses is very important. I have a wonderful garden and have visited many rose gardens and nurseries in my travel's. Europe and America love our roses. I have found only a few of what I would term extremely fragrant rose s. The Hybrid Tea roses. Hardy to zones 5-10. The Hybrid Tea rose, as a rule, will have a wonderful soft to strong rose perfume scent. If you have a couple of bushes near your bedroom window, you will, as a rule, smell the soft scent as you fall asleep at night.

Want A Rose Bush That Is Easy To Care For, And Blooms From Early Summer To Late fall? - Go For The Knock-Out !

The Knock - out Rose

The Knock-Out rose is an easy rose to care for, and it will bloom from early summer to late fall. There are tons of colors, and variations to choose from. So, next time you visit your garden center, check out a few variations of Knock-Out rose bushes.

The Knock out is easy to prune and is very resistant to black spot, and powdery mildew too! You can keep the bush small or let it spread, that's up to you.

Please take my poll....


Do you have rose bushes in your garden?

See results

I would Love A Bit Of Feedback

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    • Margie Lynn profile image

      Margie Lynn 2 months ago from Beautiful Texas Hill Country

      Sharon thanks for the tips!

    • Sharlee01 profile image

      Sharon Stajda 2 months ago from Shelby Township Michigan

      Good luck with your rose bushes. Wait until after the plant has produced its first blooms to apply any form of chemical fertilizers. Organic fertilizers can be used after you see some leaf buds, but sparingly.Thank you for your kind words...

    • Margie Lynn profile image

      Margie Lynn 2 months ago from Beautiful Texas Hill Country

      I just transplanted two of my roses, and did not know if I should ferterlize when I planted them or wait, so I did not. I have killed trees by my ferterlizing them! Yikes! So far I do not know if they are alive, see no sign that they are still in the land of the living!! Thanks for sharing your awesome info!

    • profile image

      TheGardenGuys 5 years ago

      This is actually great information. People often try to grow roses with their expectations too high. Roses don't always turn out as great as the gardening book pictures. You do have to put in a lot of time and effort to get them looking really great. HOWEVER, when you do get them looking great there is no better flower.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Hi Shar,

      Wonderful Rose lense. I enjoyed it very much ~ very informative ~ thanks!

      N T T

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Excellent advice for me living by the sea in Scotland - my husband received a beautiful climbing rose for his 70th birthday but we don't have a suitable space in the garden - container it must be and this advice was soooo useful. I am off out to plant it today as instructed - not windy nor too hot (never is too hot in Scotland !!)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Wonderful lens. I love roses and it really makes the garden looks beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing your amazing tips on how to plant them in containers. Lovely work!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      spring is in the air and you may just encourage many to conquer their fear and plunge into the wonderful world of rose gardening. Aphids hate potassium and so many more helpful tips you have here. You put a lot of work and know how into this and it shows!

    • profile image

      poutine 7 years ago

      Very informative and beautifully done lens.

    • profile image

      Steve-SEO-UK 9 years ago

      This truly is an award winning lens. So full of useful information.

      Got my vote.


      long-stemmed red roses

    • profile image

      WorldTravelers916 9 years ago

      these roses are the best smelling and looking flowers ive gotten in a while!

      computer gigs

    • profile image

      Jasonb702 9 years ago

      WOW.. another grea lens Shar... Keep up the good work..

      Free Games

    • profile image

      poutine 9 years ago

      After reading this lens, I might try the carpet rose. Thanks for letting us know about it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      I saw a rose bush that had different colored blooms on it. I mean each rose was a solid color. Blue, red, white, pink, yellow, etc. I saw the rose bush at Walmart around Mother's Day or Memorial Day. Can you tell me the name of this rose bush? Where can it be found? Thanks for all your tips!

    • profile image

      heipet 9 years ago

      Hi Shar, I have nominated this lens for:

      Squid's Choice Awards Lens Nominations for the Month of June - This Month's Theme: Flowers

      heipet - SUMMER Groupmaster

    • profile image

      anonymous 10 years ago

      I have a question -- I live in the midwest and it gets rather cold in the winter. Should I put my rosebush in the basement for the winter, or will it be ok outside? I've found conflicting views.

    • profile image

      GaryM1 10 years ago

      Wow! Great lens. 5 Stars. Very comprehensive. Particularly liked the section on the carpet rose.

      When you can, visit my lens at

    • profile image

      ank 11 years ago

      Hi Shar, great lens . I really enjoyed articles on it. However , i have also created my lens check out

      Click Here.

    • profile image

      ank 11 years ago

      Hi Shar , great lens . I really enjoyed articles on it. However , i have also created my lens check out

      Click Here.


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