When your Bare Root Roses arrive they will have 3 – 4 short stems and exposed roots. Roses are in their dormant phase between autumn and spring and are best planted during this time. Because they’re in their dormant phase, they don’t need much in the way of nutrients or water and are perfectly happy out of soil for a good few days.
When they Arrive
As long as the ground is not waterlogged or frozen, Bare Root Roses can be planted straight away (or within the next few days). If the ground is frozen when your Bare Root Roses arrive, or planting straight away isn’t convenient, the roots can be stored in a bucket of water or damp compost for up to a week.
It’s a good idea to give them a soak in a bucket of cold water for a couple of hours prior to planting, doing this rehydrates the plant and help to bring it out of dormancy once planted.
- Dig a hole that’s large enough to fit the entire root mass without any roots being broken, bent or emerging from the surface. It also needs to be deep enough to entirely cover the roots all the way up to the grafting point on the stem. (The grafting point is the join where the stem of the ornamental variety is grafted on the root stock and is at the bottom of the stem).
- When positioned in the hole, the grafting point should be just above the level of the soil surface.
- Use a granular fertiliser to give the planting hole a boost before planting.
- Position the Rose plant into the planting hole (making sure it’s straight and upright) and fill back in with the dug-out soil.
- Firm down the soil around the base of the rose gently with your hands. Give the rose a good soak with water straight away after planting.
After the initial watering, Roses tend not to need anything more until the weather starts to warm up in the spring. It’s a good idea to water new Roses regularly throughout their first summer season while they establish strong root systems, especially if the soil starts to dry out.
Roses benefit from occasional feeding. This can include a foliar feed, such as BioGro Black Gold, which is a natural, concentrated seaweed fertiliser that is applied when watering. Alternatively, scatter a granular fertiliser, such as Westland Rose Food with Horse Manure, around the stem and water-in.
Your Rose will start growing in the spring and will flower that same year. Throughout the summer you might find that long shoots appear from the root stock, these are called suckers. They’re easy to spot because they’re very flexible and don’t usually produce flowers. They can be cut completely off from where they join the main framework of the Rose to keep the shape of the plant neat and compact. Keep on top of this throughout the summer to maintain a neat growing habit.
The main framework of the Rose can be pruned during the winter when it has lost its flowers and hips and become dormant. The ideal shape of a rose bush is radial from above, with the main stems all growing outwards and all evenly spaced. The ideal shape for a climbing rose is a fan shape with evenly spaced stems. To work towards achieving this, branches that should be completely removed are:
- Crossing/rubbing branches
- Dead branches
- Inward-growing branches
After the removal of unwanted branches, remaining branches should be cut just above the third bud from where it joins on to the main stem. If possible, choose to cut above a bud which is outward-facing to encourage the new branch to grow outwards rather than inwards. With climbing roses, replace old stems with new ones where possible by tying them in where desired.
Top Rose Tips
To give your roses an extra treat and boost into the growing season, mix a handful of Westland Granular Rose Food or Westland Fish, Blood and Bone into the bottom of the hole when planting.
Remove the dead-heads of roses as and when needed to keep the plant looking neat and fresh. As autumn approaches and flowers are no longer being produced, leave the dead-heads in tact – many varieties produce attractive hips that provide vibrant colour throughout the winter.
Unwins Precision Quality Bypass Secateurs are ideal for pruning and dead-heading Roses.