Planting Roses

When you have made a choice from the huge number of varieties and colours of roses, and you are about to plant your favourite rose, it is good to keep the following points in mind. Pot-grown roses can be planted all year round, as long as you can protect them from frost.

  • Roses grown in the soil should be planted in autumn, when the soil is still warm and the plant can produce hair roots. Only then can the rose grow to its full potential the next spring.
  • Roses like the sun, but some varieties will find a south facing spot too warm. Rambler roses, however, are quite well suited to that. Take care to consider this when you choose your rose.
  • Roses like an aerated but sheltered spot where the wind can play through the leaves. This is not the same thing as a windy or draughty place, where all sorts of diseases are lurking.
  • Do not plant roses too close to your wall, where it is usually too dry. A distance of some 30 cm is fine.
  • Roses are quite fussy about their soil. They will do best in light clay or loamy soil but sandy soil should be enriched with lots of well-rotted manure. Heavy clay can be loosened with basalt and acidic soil is best mixed with lime each year. Ideally, prepare a large plant hole for your rose and fill it with special rose compost, regardless of your soil type. This way you can be sure you give your treasured rose the very best start in any garden.
  • To encourage soil life and to keep frost damage to a minimum, apply a layer of mulch right after you planted the rose.


  • Before you plant, place the rose in a bucket of water and leave it overnight.
  • Dig the ground over well and make the plant hole big enough for the rose to spread its roots comfortably.
  • Plant the rose so the grafting point (the swollen part from which the branches spring) sits about 5 cm below the soil. (Naturally this does not apply to standard roses)
  • Mix the loosened soil with compost or manure and put it back around the roots. Firm it in with your foot to ensure the roots make contact with the soil.
  • Water the plant in thoroughly.
  • Climbing roses require some extra attention if they are planted next to the wall. Near the foundations the food supply is usually quite bad so the soil really needs to be improved. Fill a large plant hole with plenty of good compost and cow manure or special rose fertilizer and plant the rose at a distance of about 30 cm from the wall. Because the ground near a wall is quite dry, keep watering the rose well, even when it is established.

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