ROSE PLANTING GUIDE
We love roses here at City Floral Garden Center in Denver, and we know they can be challenging at times. That’s why we have put together a rose planting guide to help you navigate how to plant rose bushes, when to water them, how much fertilizer, and how to protect them during the winter. This rose planting guide will help you become a successful rose gardener!
PREPARING THE ROSE BED
Rose bushes aren’t as fragile or difficult to grow as one may come to believe. First and foremost, preparing your rose bed is crucial to your rose garden’s success. While most roses are too fussy about the soil, it’s still important to amend your soil before planting.
Here in Colorado, we often struggle with poor soil or clay. Roses grow best when the ground is well-draining, so start by spreading 4-6″ of organic matter like peat moss and compost or aged manure over the planting area. Using a shovel or tillers, incorporate the organic matter into the soil to a depth of 8-12.” The organic material will help the roots get the water and nutrient needed for healthy growth.
PLANTING YOUR ROSES
When planting rose bushes, start by digging a hole equally in-depth than the root ball and twice as wide as the container of your rose. Sprinkle a handful of bone meal or superphosphate in the bottom of the hole. The addition of the bone meal will help the rose bush take root and get used to its new home. Stir the bone meal or superphosphate with a trowel to distribute into the soil evenly.
Roses will benefit from peat moss mixed with the soil. A combination of 1/3 peat moss and 2/3 soil is ideal. For best results, place a shovelful or two of the soil and peat mix in the bottom of the hole.
Remove rose from pot and place in the hole with the graft 2″ below the surrounding soil level. Planting deep is an essential step for roses in Colorado (contrary to the tag’s directions). Planting deep helps prevent dehydration in the warm months and freezing in the winter. Do not break up the root ball or spread the roots out.
Fill the hole halfway with the soil and peat moss mixture and pack down loosely around the root ball. Water the root ball thoroughly, filling the dug hole with water and allowing it to drain completely. Add the remainder of the soil and peat moss mixture around the root ball and water thoroughly again. Create a channel with surrounding soil around the base of the plant. Finally, add a good layer of pine bark mulch to keep the soil moist and cool. The acidity of the pine bark is also beneficial in the growth of the rose bush.
AFTER PLANTING CARE
It is essential to continue watering your rose bushes often. Roses prefer to be kept evenly moist throughout the growing season. It’s best practice to water your new roses deeply about 2-3 times a week during their first year.
Watering deeply at the base of the rose and not the foliage will help prevent problems like mildew, black spot, and rust. Using soaker hoses is an excellent solution for any rose bush. Avoid watering with a sprinkler system or overhead sprinklers because it’s inadequate and won’t keep the mulch’s moisture.
Once the rose bushes have established their root system, deep watering once a week should be sufficient. Roses do best when watered early in the day.
FERTILIZING YOUR ROSES
The frequent watering required for Colorado plants will wash away most of the nutrients in the soil. With the amount of water, it’s essential to fertilize your roses regularly throughout the growing season.
Fertilizers created specifically for roses will give you the best results. We suggest Fertilome’s Systemic Rose and Flower Food or Mile-Hi Rose Food, both are an excellent choice in giving your roses the extra boost. You’ll want to fertilize your new plants at the time of planting, then once a month, starting in early April and going through August.
PRUNING YOUR ROSES
In the fall, before the snow, prune roses back slightly to prevent any heavy snowfall from breaking the canes. When new growth appears, it’s essential to remove any dead wood and dry foliage in early April.
It is possible to control your rose bush’s height during the growing season by cutting the blooms a little lower or higher on the cane. Refer to your favorite rose gardening reference books for additional information.
OFF-SEASON CARE OF YOUR ROSES
Preparing your rose in the fall will ensure that they survive the upcoming winter months. Start by mounding soil from another part of the garden around the rose base for additional cold protection. Avoid grass clippings, fallen leaves, and newspapers as they promote mold.
Although roses are dormant, they still require moisture. Water your roses thoroughly once a month when there has not been a significant snowfall. Plants can better withstand colder temperatures if given adequate moisture than if they’ve become overly dry.
WE ARE HERE TO HELP!
Our City Floral staff can answer any questions you may have beyond what was covered here. Visit us at 1440 Kearney St in Denver or give us a call at 303-399-1177, and we can help you with any of your gardening questions or needs.