Roses Planting Bareroot Garden Guide

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Planting Bareroot Roses

  • Soak the roots in clean water for 12 to 24 hours before planting.
  • Examine the plant and prune off any broken or damaged roots or canes.
  • NOTE: DO NOT root prune unnecessarily.

  • Dig a hole large and deep enough to properly accommodate the roots.
  • NOTE: Roots should not be bent or twisted at planting.

  • Blend 50/50 leaf compost or peat moss with natural existing soil.
  • NOTE: Do Not use potting soil for amendment, it is too dense, holds too much moisture, and causes root rot issues.

  • Mound blended soil into a cone in the center of the hole and spread roots gently over that soil cone.

Planting Depths

  • In zones 6-10 the graft or crown of the rose should be 1-2 inches above natural soil grade.
  • In zones 3-5 for grafted roses, the graft should be 1-2 inches below natural soil grade for extra winter protection. Own root roses can be planted with crowns even with the soil grade.

Continue Planting

  • Carefully add soil around the roots. Tamp down gently until the hole is 2/3 full, then add 1-2 gallons of water to eliminate air pockets and moisten thoroughly. After the water has soaked in, fill the remainder of the hole with more soil blend as needed and water slowly with another 1-2 gallons of water.
  • Tip Pruning
    • Next, using sterilized, clean pruners cut each cane back by 1/2, leaving canes with 3-5 eye-buds. Any canes that are less than pencil thickness should be removed entirely, back to where they emanate from.

IMPORTANT: Once planted & tip pruned (See above), then mound over the crown & canes with loose mulch, compost or your soil blend. This step protects the canes from drying out or from potential freezing in cold zones until root & shoot growth begins, which typically takes 2-4 weeks, but can take longer depending on conditions.

  • Be patient. All roses are different. Some varieties will leaf out sooner than others. This is normal.
  • As new growth appears, carefully wash the soil covering off the canes, taking care not to break off fragile new shoots.
  • Maintain consistent supplemental water using the 1 inch of water per week, per plant.
  • Apply water, slowly and deeply, allowing it to soak in well to a 6-8 inches depth root zone.
  • Add a 2-to-4-inch layer of mulch around each rose to help conserve moisture and help with weed suppression.


After 2-4 weeks, if no new shoot growth has emerged, uncover the canes and tip pruned one more time by 1-2 inches, and increase watering volume, but do not recover. Watch closely for signs of bud swelling for the next 1-2 weeks, if buds still fail to swell after this pruning and extra watering, then use Sweating Technique. (See Rose Sweating Garden Guide)

Do you have other Rose Questions? Look for all our helpful Garden Guides, including Rose Spacing, Fertilizing, and Pruning.