Mad About Berries

How To Plant Bare Root Roses

Bare root roses are dormant plants sold without soil and with their roots exposed rather than in containers. These roses are typically offered during their dormant period, which typically spans from late autumn to early spring.

Bare root roses have several advantages over container-grown roses, as they can be more affordable and easier to transport. Additionally, they tend to adapt more quickly to their new environment, resulting in healthier growth and a more established root system.

Published: April 24, 2023.

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Bare Root Roses vs. Potted Rose Plants

There are key differences between bare-root roses and their potted counterparts.

Bare root roses are often more cost-effective since they do not come with the added expense of a container and the associated growing medium.

They are also more environmentally friendly, as they do not require plastic pots that may end up in landfills.

Also, bare-root roses tend to have a more robust root system, which can lead to stronger, healthier plants once they are established in the ground.

In contrast, potted rose plants are generally available throughout the year and can be more convenient for gardeners who prefer the flexibility of planting on their own schedule.

However, they may require a longer period of adaptation to their new environment, and their root systems may be less developed in late fall than those of bare-root roses.

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Where To Buy Bare Root Roses

Bare root roses can be purchased from a variety of sources, including garden centers, local nurseries, online retailers, etc.

When selecting a supplier, consider factors such as the reputation of the grower, the variety of roses available, and the quality of the plants being offered.

Ideally, choose a supplier that specializes in roses and offers a comprehensive selection of cultivars to suit your garden's specific needs.

When purchasing bare-root roses, examine the plants carefully for signs of good health, such as well-developed root systems and sturdy canes. Avoid plants that show signs of disease, damage, or weak growth, as these may struggle to establish themselves in your garden.

Only healthy bare root roses will grow into strong and healthy rose bushes with countless fragrant rose flowers.

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When To Plant Bare Root Roses

The optimal time to plant bare-root roses is during their dormant period, which typically falls between late autumn and early spring.

This ensures that the plants have sufficient time to acclimatize to their new environment and establish their root systems before the onset of warmer weather and active growth.

In milder climates, bare-root roses can be planted as early as November, while in colder regions, it may be best to wait until March or April, when the threat of hard frosts has passed.

red roses

Roses Growing Conditions

Roses thrive in well-draining soil with a slightly acidic pH of 6.0 to 6.5.

They require at least six hours of direct sunlight per day for optimal growth and flower production. In warmer areas, some partial shade can be helpful during hot summer days.

Adequate water is essential for healthy rose plants, with a general guideline of providing 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week - more during hot summer days, especially if the roses are grown in pots and containers.

To prevent the spread of diseases, water at the base of the plant rather than on the foliage.

Wind protection is another important consideration when selecting a planting site for your roses. Choose a location that is sheltered from strong winds, which can damage delicate blossoms and cause stress to the plant. However, also ensure that the area has good air circulation to help prevent diseases.

Planting Bare Root Roses

To plant bare-root roses, first soak the roots in water for several (2-4) hours to rehydrate them.

Dig a deep and wide hole to accommodate the entire plant root system without crowding or bending the roots.

digging hole

Create a small mound of soil in the center of the hole, and spread the bare roots out evenly over the mound.

Note: If the soil is heavier, feel free to double the hole in depth and width and amend the soil with plenty of potting soil, organic compost, and some aged manure.

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Next, backfill the hole with a mixture of native soil and organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to provide additional nutrients and improve soil structure.

Also, feel free to add some balanced NPK fertilizer with a gradual release of nutrients and all required microelements.

rose planting

As you fill in the hole, gently firm the soil around the roots to eliminate air pockets and ensure good contact between the roots and the soil. If necessary, shake a plant gently a few times before compacting the soil.

The bud union, which is the point where the rose variety has been grafted onto the rootstock, should be positioned just above the soil surface in warmer climates and 1 to 2 inches below the surface in colder regions to provide additional winter protection.

Once the hole is filled, water the newly planted rose thoroughly to help settle the soil around the roots.

Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to help conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and maintain a consistent soil temperature.

Keep the area around the rose free of weeds and debris, as these can harbor pests and diseases.

yellow rose

Bare Root Roses Frequently Asked Questions

How long to soak bare root roses?

Before planting, soak bare-root roses in water for at least 2 to 4 hours. You may also extend the soaking period up to 12-24 hours to ensure the roots are fully hydrated, which is particularly beneficial if the plants appear dried out upon arrival.

How long can bare-root roses sit in water?

While it is essential to soak the roots before planting, avoid leaving them submerged in water for more than 12 (24) hours, as this may lead to root rot or other issues related to excessive moisture.

If you are unable to plant the roses immediately after the soaking period, keep the roots moist by wrapping them in damp newspaper or peat moss until you are ready to plant.

Note: If you can't plant your bare-root roses after 2-4 hours of soaking, don't soak them at all until you can plant them for sure.

How long does it take for bare-root roses to grow?

After planting, it may take a few weeks to several months for bare-root roses to show significant growth, depending on the variety and growing conditions.

In general, you can expect to see new shoots and leaves emerge within 4 to 6 weeks of planting, with blooming occurring later in the growing season.

When to plant bare-root roses in Zone 7?

In USDA Hardiness Zone 7, the ideal planting time for bare-root roses is from late February to early April, when the soil is workable, and the risk of hard frosts has diminished.

When to plant bare-root roses in Zone 8?

In Zone 8, you can plant bare-root roses from late January to early March, taking advantage of the milder winters and allowing the plants to establish their root systems before the onset of warmer temperatures.

When to plant bare-root roses in Zone 9?

For Zone 9, the optimal planting period for bare-root roses is between December and February, when the weather is cooler, and the plants are still dormant.

Planting during this time ensures the roses have enough time to acclimate before the arrival of hot summer weather.

Few Final Words

roses in bloom

Planting bare-root roses is an economical and environmentally friendly way to add these beautiful and fragrant plants to your garden.

By selecting healthy plants from a reputable supplier, planting during the appropriate dormant period, and providing the proper growing conditions for soil, sun, water, and wind, your roses will have the best chance of establishing strong root systems and flourishing in their new environment.

With proper care and attention, your bare root roses will reward you with years of stunning blooms and delightful fragrance.

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