Planting a Bare-Root Rose


Bare-root roses are roses that are sold without soil or foliage. Look for bare-root-roses with firm sound-looking stems and no shriveling. They can be planted in early spring a month or two before your region's last frost date and tend to be less expensive than container roses which can be planted later in the season. Planting them just as growth is starting allows them to grow and flower better than a pampered rose in a pot that's already developed leaves and flowers.


Many roses have a knobby spot where the roots and main stem were grafted together. However, many old garden roses are grown on their own roots and therefore do not have a graft union.





Step 1

In a large container soak the roses for 2 to 12 hours in cold water Soak the roses for 2 to 12 hours in cold water in a large container outdoors. (A garbage can is ideal and can hold several roses.) Trim off any broken roots or damaged canes.

Step 2

Prepare the soil well and dig a hole to accommodate the rose Follow the old saying about digging "a $20 hole for a $10 rose" and prepare the soil well. Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the rose. Then work the soil beneath the hole to a depth of an additional foot, working in plenty of compost. Then make a small mound at the bottom of the hole.

Step 3

Position the rose to spread its roots over the mound

Position the rose, spreading its roots over the mound. Then check the position of the graft union (also called the bud union) the knobby section between the roots and the stem where the top has been grafted onto the roots.

Mix the remaining soil with compost and refill the hole halfway, firming it as you go. Water well. Fill the remaining half and create a saucer by mounding up soil in a circle around the rose to collect water.


Step 4

In most climates, plant the bud union 1 to 2 inches above the soil level. In cold-winter regions, plant it at soil level or up to 2 inches below the soil. You can lay a broom or spade handle across the hole to compare the bud union level to that of the surrounding soil. If in doubt, follow the instructions that come with the rose or check with your Home Depot Certified Nursery Consultant.

Step 5

Keep the rose moist by mounding it with 8 to 12 inches of loose mulch or any remaining soil-compost mixture. Water it every three to four days. In about three weeks, remove about half the mound and keep watering. In another week or two, remove the remaining mound.


In another week or two, remove the remaining mound adding a 2" - 3" layer of mulch around the base of the rose. Maintain this throughout the season to protect the rose from temperature extremes, weeds and moisture loss.