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How to plant a bare-rooted rose

Roses do really well when transplanted dormant and bare in winter.

What looks like an unpromising stick with some hair, flailing roots, will be ready to take off in spring.

Words: Mez Woodward


'Princess Alexandra'. Photo - Robin Powell


1. Choose your spot. Roses need at least six hours of sun a day, preferably more. Don’t plant new roses where old ones have died or been removed.


2. If the rose arrives and you’re not quite ready to pull the boots on, don’t worry, it will be fine for another day as long as the roots don’t dry out. Open the packaging, sprinkle the roots with water, and then wrap in plastic.


3. Remove packaging and any ties from the plant.


4. Mix up a half-strength dose of seaweed solution in a bucket and soak the roots of the rose for approximately 20 minutes.


5. Meanwhile, prepare the planting spot by working compost or bagged cow manure through the soil to 20cm deep, and watering so that the soil is moist. Dig a hole at least half a metre wide and 30cm deep, then create a mound of soil in the centre of the hole.


6. Spread the roots of the rose over the mound and backfill with dampened garden soil. Press the soil down gently with your hands and create a wide saucer depression to hold water. Ensure the final level of planting matches the original dirt mark you can see on the main stem. This will be below the graft point.


7. Lay on a mulch, 5cm thick, keeping it 5cm clear of the stem. Sugar cane mulch and pea straw are both terrific for roses


8. Water in well with seaweed solution to promote the development of new roots.


9. Feed in early spring with rose fertiliser. Feed again at the start of summer and autumn, skip winter, and start again in spring. Continue this seasonal feeding regime for strong healthy roses and plenty of blooms.

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Author: Mez Woodward