PREPARING THE ROSE BED
This step is crucial to the success of your rose garden and the longevity of your plants.
Spread 4-6” of organic matter: peat moss and compost or aged manure over the planting area. Incorporate into the soil to a depth of 8-12.”
Dig a hole slightly deeper and twice as wide as the pot your rose bush comes in.
Sprinkle a handful of bone meal or superphosphate in the bottom of the hole and stir with a trowel to distribute into the soil evenly.
Roses benefit from more peat moss mixed with the soil in the planting hole than most plants – roughly 1/3 peat moss and 2/3 soil. Place a shovelful or two of soil/peat mix in the bottom of the hole.
Remove rose from pot and place in the hole with the graft 2” below the level of the surrounding soil. Planting deep is a very important step for roses in Colorado (and contrary to the directions on the tag). 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 hole halfway with soil/peat moss mixture and pack down loosely around the root ball. Fill the hole with water and allow to drain. Fill remainder of the hole with soil/peat moss and water again thoroughly. Create a saucer with surrounding soil around the base of the plant. Roses love pine bark mulch. It keeps the soil moist and cool and the acidity of the pine bark is also beneficial.
AFTER PLANTING CARE
Water! Roses prefer to be kept evenly moist throughout the growing season. Water your new roses deeply about 2-3 times a week during their first year.
Watering deeply at ground level will keep foliage dry and help prevent problems like mildew, black spot, and rust. Soaker hoses are a great solution. Watering with a sprinkler system is not adequate to maintain the much-needed moisture during the initial growing season. Also, avoid watering with overhead sprinklers.
Once plants are established, deep watering once a week should be sufficient. Roses do best when watered early in the day.
Because nutrients are washed away by the frequent watering required in the Rocky Mountain region, roses benefit from regular fertilization.
Fertilizers created specifically for roses will give you the best results. Fertilome’s Systemic Rose Food is an excellent choice as it also contains a systemic insecticide.
Fertilize new plants at planting time, then once a month through August. Begin fertilizing established roses in early April and once a month thereafter through August.
In the fall, before the snow, prune roses back slightly to prevent any heavy snowfall from breaking the canes. In early April, when new growth appears, remove any dead wood and dry foliage.
During the growing season, it is possible to control the height of your rose bush by cutting the blooms a little lower or higher on the cane. Refer to your favorite rose gardening reference books for additional information.
In the fall, mound soil from another part of the garden around the base of the rose for additional protection from the cold. Avoid grass clippings, fallen leaves, and newspaper as they promote mold.
Although roses are dormant, they still require moisture. Water your roses thoroughly once a month when there has not been significant snowfall. Plants are better able to withstand colder temperatures if they’re been given adequate moisture than if they’ve become overly dry.
We’re here to help!
Any questions you may have beyond what was covered here can be answered by our City Floral staff. Feel free to call us at 303 399 1177, seven days a week, with any of your gardening queries.