Planting & Caring For Roses

Planting Location:

For best results, roses need well-drained soil and at least 6 hours of direct sun per day. Morning sun and good air circulation are important, as they dry the foliage early and help prevent disease. Climbing roses generally should have a trellis, frame, wall, or similar support.

Planting Instructions:

  1. Dig a hole 12" wider than the diameter of the pot and thoroughly loosen the soil in the bottom of the hole.
  2. Add 1/2 pot-full of Peat Moss and a small handful of Rose-tone fertilizer to the excavated topsoil, and mix thoroughly. If the soil is heavy or has a high proportion of clay, add Perlite or sand to loosen the soil and provide better drainage.
  3. Each rose should be planted so that the soil line on the stem (the height of the soil in the pot) is level with the ground surrounding the hole.
  4. Fill the hole with the soil mixture as needed, tamp firmly, and then water gently but thoroughly. Continue watering as above 2 times per week for the first 2 weeks, then reduce to once per week. Note: Watering should take rainfall into account. Do not overwater. Check the soil with your finger. If it is wet or moist, wait a day or two and check again. If the soil is dry or crumbles easily, it's time to water again. Direct the flow of water, at the base of the plant to avoid wetting buds and leaves.
  5. Cover the plant bed with a 2" layer of Coco Hull Mulch, Pine Bark Mulch, or another natural mulch.

Spring - Care:

  1. Roses are heavy feeders, and require regular fertilizing for best blooms. Roses should be fed every 2-4 weeks, from leaf-break in mid-April until leaf-drop in fall, with high phosphorous fertilizer, such as Rose-tone or Miracle-Gro Rose Food.
  2. Due in part to their extensive breeding, many roses are subject to certain insect and disease pests, such as Japanese Beetles, Aphids and Blackspot. These usually can be prevented safely and without the need for extensive maintenance by regularly spraying with a rose spray or dusting with a rose dust as directed by instruction. Please feel free to ask us for help with any questions.
  3. For best blooms, prune off blossoms after flowering by cutting the cane just above the uppermost compound leaf with 5 or 7 leaflets. At the base of this leaf is a bud that will produce the next stem and blower bud.

Winter - Early Spring Care:

  1. In early to mid-December, after the ground freezes, the graft of each rose (the know where the canes join together) should be protected with a mound of soil or mulch at least 8-10" deep. Cover the soil mound with a mulch of Shredded Strat, Coco Hull or Pine Bark Mulch. Prune the canes of Floribunda, Grandiflora, and Hybrid Tea roses back to a height of 18-24"
  2. In early to mid-April (depending upon the weather), remove the mulch layer and soil mound. Prune canes of above rose types to a height of 8-10" and prune off all areas damaged by winter kill (black or dark brown areas of canes). Remove old, woody canes to encourage development of new canes, which bear more flowers. Fertilize as described above and gently scratch in well-rotted cow manure around the base of the plants.
  3. For Shrub roses, remove dead wood and prune canes and prune to a compact, well-branched, natural shape.
  4. For Climbing Roses, remove any damaged canes and 1/3 - 1/5 of the total number of very thick, older canes. This will encourage formation of new canes, which will yield the best blooms. Prune last growth after it blooms by cutting back to a 5-leaflet compound leaf. Replace any broken ties or supports for canes.

Materials Helpful for Planting:

Peat Moss
Coco Hull Mulch, Pine Bark Mulch, or Other Natural Mulch
Approved Rose Spray or Dust

Helpful Equipment:

Garden Spade
Pruning Shears
Garden Hose
Hose or Hand Sprayer

Books containing additional information on the topic of this Plantsman's Guide are available in our book department to the rear of the Nursery Center Store.

© Rosedale Nurseries, Inc. 1991, 2004, 2015

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