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ROSE GARDENING

Gardening tips: The Helpful Gardener brings the pleasure of gardening to your home. You will find our rose gardening articles collected in one spot. Check back often because we are constantly adding new tips, profiles, and spotlights on roses.

Give your Roses a Head Start!
Planting Requirements for a New Rose

A new rose bush can provide decades of beauty and enjoyment if properly planted and tended. The planting requirements for a new rose are both simple and important. The first months in a new home are crucial for the plant’s survival. While it’s true that roses will grow and thrive without the benefit of your expertise, a little knowledge can go a long way.

When you receive your new rosebush, chances are it will be un-planted and its roots wrapped in moss. It is very important that you keep the plant moist and cold until you are able to plant it properly. For example, a basement is an ideal place for an unplanted rose bush. While a rose bush can survive outside of the soil for an extended time, it is also very important that you plant it as soon as possible.

Rose bushes are usually sold in the winter while dormant. They begin to grow and bloom in the springtime and it is crucial that they are planted before this occurs. Your rosebush should be securely rooted in the ground before springtime, when new shoots begin to grow. Generally, March and April are ideal months for planting.

The first step in planting your new rose is finding a good place to put it in the ground. Your rose should get at least 6 hours of sun each day, and should be planted in soil with good drainage. You can check the drainage of your soil with a simple test: dig a hole that is 12 inches deep, fill it with water and wait for the water to drain. Once the water has drained, refill the hole, if it is empty in less than two hours your soil has excellent drainage!

In addition to drainage, roses have other specific soil requirements. They prefer a more acidic soil with a pH ranging from 5.8 to 6.3. If your soil is too acidic—or too basic—you may ask your local nursery what you can add to the soil in order to correct the problem. Pine needles and lime are both acidifying agents that you may find in your own home or garden shed!

If you are planting more than one bush in your garden, be sure that they are reasonably far apart. Remember, they will grow and air will need to circulate between them to keep them disease free. Rose bushes will crowd each other out if planted too close together. The distance between the bushes ranges from two to ten feet, depending on the type of bush. Ask about the specific spacing for your new rose bush at the nursery at the time of purchase.

Weed your garden bed and clear it of plant debris and waste before planting. A clean garden bed means less likelihood of pests and disease ravaging your beautiful roses. They will not tolerate root competition, especially from heavy feeders like grass. Also, if it has not already been done, prune back the roots of your rose bush one half inch; this will encourage new growth.

Soak your new rose bush in water for 24 hours before planting in order to prepare it for the change. Make sure to dig a hole that is at least two square feet for your rose. Build a small mound of dirt in the center of the hole and spread the roots out on top of it. In colder climates, the roots should be buried slightly deeper than in warmer Southern climates.

Once you have planted your rose, mulch the area surrounding it. Remember to leave a space of several inches around the rose clear of mulch. If mulch is placed too close to the plant, rotting can occur. Mulch is organic plant matter that spreads nutrients to the soil surrounding the rose as water runs through it. It is a natural and simple way to improve your soil!

The first few days after transplantation are the most crucial. You should build a small basin of dirt around the base of your rose bush in order to help it to retain water. Water the rosebush daily for the first week after transplantation. After this week, water every three days adjusting to the weather.

Once you begin to see new shoots coming out of the mound of dirt surrounding your rose, it is time to wash the mound away. Your rose bush is growing, this is good! But you must continue to care for your rose throughout its life. Rose specific fertilizers can be found in any drug store and should be added to the soil around your rose bush every two to three months.

By following these planting instructions you are ensuring a healthy, stable rose bush that will beautify your garden for years! A new rose bush is like a baby, while it requires a lot of love and attention at first, it will grow stronger and more independent with time and you will surely be proud of the results!