How To Plant Bare Root Roses

How To Plant Bare Root Roses

Roses are a joy to have in the garden and planting a bare root rose is so simple, it is just a case of waiting for warmer weather until the rose bursts through with new growth and colour.

What Is A Bare Root Rose?

Bare Root Roses Planted

A bare root rose means exactly what it sounds like, there is no soil around the root system. This is often the most practical way to supply roses as they are supplied in a dormant state so do not suffer any issues by having no soil around the roots.

Roses are typically field grown by a nursery and after just under two years of growth are removed from the soil. This happens when the rose is dormant.

The roots are trimmed and the soil removed and wrapped with plastic to limit moisture loss before supplying to customers.

Types Of Roses Available As Bare Root

Nearly all types of rose are available as a bare root plant, including:

  • Shrub
  • Climbing
  • Rambling 
  • Hybrid tea
  • Ground cover

No matter which type you are looking for you should be able to find the type you want as a bare root plant. It is when they are available you need to consider.

When To Buy And Plant Bare Root Roses

The nature of bare root roses, having no soil to sustain the rose, means that they need to be sold and planted when they are dormant. 

You are only going to be able to buy them from late autumn into winter when the weather is cold the rose is dormant but, of course, still alive.

The time scale for planting bare root roses is between leaf fall or late autumn until early spring when new growth emerges. As long as the ground is not frozen then planting throughout this period is fine.

How Long Will Bare Root Roses Last Before Planting?

A bare root rose will not last indefinitely. The plant may be dormant but it will still need moisture and nutrition.

You should aim to plant your bare root roses within 7 days or buying them. If you intend to store the rose for a short while before planting refer to the details below.

Storing Bare Root Roses Before Planting

If for any reason you need to wait longer than 7 days before planting a bare root rose you will need to store them properly.

The easiest way to do this is to dig a small trench in a sheltered area. Lay the roses on the ground with the roots in the trench and fill in the soil and heel them in. This is a temporary solution and the roses should be planted at the nearest opportunity.

If the ground it too cold to plant them roses then a container is the best option. Fill the container with soil/compost and water them in. Keep the container out of freezing conditions and the rose should be fine until the ground has thawed.

Planting Bare Root Roses

What You’ll Need

Rehydrating Bare Root Roses

The best thing to do before planting your bare root roses is to rehydrate the roots. 

The best way to do this is to simply site the roots in a bucket of water with the stems of the roses sticking out.

You can leave the roses in the bucket for a couple of hours. I tend to just leave them to rehydrate whilst I’m preparing the ground for planting them.

Preparing The Ground To Plant Your Rose

Digging hole for rose

If you haven’t already done so then ensure there is plenty of nutrition in the ground you intend to place the roses. This means digging in either compost or well rotted manure in advance of any roses going in. 

If you are planting your rose close to a wall or fence, make sure it is not too close. I like to leave a gap of about 30cm from the wall to ensure the rose is not in a rain shadow and the roots are not obstructed by underground obstacles.

If this has already been done then you can start digging a hole.

The hole just needs to be large enough to accommodate the roots so roughly one spade length deep and wide.

Break up the bottom of the hole with a fork to ensure it is not compacted and will allow the roots to grow freely and unimpeded by stones.

Adding Mycorrhizal Fungi

To give the rose the best chance of flourishing as quickly as possible, I like to use mycorrhizal fungi. This acts to improve water and nutrients take-up between the soil and roots of the rose.

Hold the rose over the hole you have dug and thoroughly sprinkle the mycorrhizal fungi over the roots. 

The roots will be wet from the rehydration so the fungi will cling to the roots and any excess with him straight into the hole the rose is going into.

I highly recommend doing this step if you can.

Placing & Firming In The Rose

Planting A Rose

Place the bare root rose in the hole and look at where the stems are joined to the roots. This graft union needs to be just below the surface of the soil. 

If you are planting a climbing rose then you may want to consider angling the rose back towards a wall a small fraction. It won’t make too much difference once the rose has grown for a short while by can make tying into a support easier.

Backfill the soil around the roots ensuring the graft is just covered with soil and firm in with the heel of a boot.

Give the rose a good watering in and ensure the rose is watered thoroughly until it is well established.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *