How to Plant a New Rose Bush

According to research from the University of Illinois, roses have been around for about 35 million years. And, for centuries roses have been one of the most popular flowers in the world. Cherished for their enticing fragrance, their beauty and their long blooming season, roses are available in over 150 different species.

With proper care and maintenance, a rose bush can give you decades of beauty and pleasure.

Although a new rose bush can grow with very little help, you can give them a better head start with a few simple steps. The first few months after you plant a new bush are crucial not only to the plants survival, but to how long the bush lasts and how beautifully it grows.

Tips For Planting A New Rose Bush

Here are just a few easy tips to give your new rose bush the best possible start in its new home!

When you purchase a new rose bush the roots are generally wrapped in moss and covered in plastic.

Although the plant can survive without any soil for quite some time, it’s crucial that you plant the bush as soon as possible for optimal health.

If you can plant the bush right away, make sure to store it in a cool place and keep the root ball moist.

A basement is the perfect place to store the bush until you can plant it.

When Best to Plant Roses

Ideally new rose bushes should be planted before they begin their growing season and start to bloom. In most areas, March or April is a good time to plant a new bush. The earlier you plant your rose the more secure the root system will be before new shoots begin to appear in the spring. However, while they may not do as well the first year, rose bushes can be planted at any time.

Location and Soil

The very first step in planting a new rose bush is to find the ideal location. Roses thrive in soil that has good drainage and in an area where they will get about 6 hours of sun. If you are unsure about how well the soil will drain you can perform a simple test.

Dig a small hole that is about one foot in depth and fill it full of water. After all of the water has drained fill it with water again. If the water has drained in less than two hours the soil has real good drainage.

If you plan on planting more than one rose bush make sure that you give them adequate growing space. Depending on which type of roses you are planting they should be anywhere from two to ten feet apart. If they are planted too close together they will become too crowded which can damage your bushes. Roses need air circulation to keep them from becoming diseased.

Once you have chosen a location remove any weeds and plant debris such as dead leaves. The cleaner the soil where your plant is growing the less chance of disease and pests. Roses do not like to compete with other plants that drain a lot of nutrients from the soil such as grass. The best way to keep anything from growing near the bush is to place mulch around the area. Just make sure that you leave a circle of several inches clear around the base of the plant. Mulch laying around the stem can cause it to rot.

Prepare Your Rose for Planting

The next step is to prepare your new rose bush for its new home. The root ball should be soaked in water for at least 24 hours before you plant it. And, to encourage new growth you should prune one half inch off of the plants roots.

The hole should be approximately two square feet in size. Once the hole is dug, create a small mound with in the center and spread the rose bushes roots over the mound.

After planting it’s recommended that you place a small hill of dirt at the base of the bush to help the soil retain water.

For the first week the bush needs to be watered daily and then watered about every three days or so depending on the weather.

As soon as you see new plants shoots protruding out of the little hill of dirt wash it away with a water hose. New shoots means that your bush is well established and thriving.

Written by Connie Corder, Copyright 2012


  1. davenmidtown
    Jan 15, 2012

    I have always admired roses but never really grown them. I think I shall be off to the nursery to find one… today! Thank you.

    • Houseplants
      Jan 15, 2012

      We are working with two rose bushes that we first planted last spring. It will be nice to see them coming back into bloom again and this time much bigger than they were before (the bushes, not the blooms).

  2. breakfastpop
    Jan 15, 2012

    Okay, you have inspired me to finally do this. I’m off to the nursery!

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