How to: Plant Roses

Shrub Rose

Roses are marvellously tolerant and robust, there are only a few things you might consider before planting:

  • Some roses are bred to be tolerant of shade, others require more sun, but overall, most roses need four hours of sunshine a day. (Depending on the position of your garden the sunshine in a particular spot can vary from month to month.)
  • Roses are wonderfully productive, and greedy as a result. They need fertile soil and do not want to compete for space and nutrients, so assess the proximity of nearby plants and trees. For the same reason it is better not to plant them where another rose has just been growing because it will have exhausted the soil of nutrients.
  • If you are planting a rose in a container, the smallest diameter of the pot must be at least approximately 45cm (18in)
Hand drawn lilac burford garden co.

Choosing your rose

Considering the appropriateness of the rose for your space

Planting in the ground

You will need

Water the rose thoroughly before you begin.

Before you start digging, hygiene is important. Make sure that the area surrounding the spot you have chosen is cleared of any dead cuttings or old leaves to reduce the risk of transferring disease.

Thoroughly dig over the area you intend to plant the rose, then dig a hole, at least 40cm (16in) x 40cm (16in). Using a fork, loosen the soil at the bottom of the hole to encourage root growth.


Clearing the ground of leaves and weeds

Digging the soil

Digging a hole of at least 40cm across

With a spade, line the bottom of the hole well with well-rotted farmyard manure and then sprinkle the bottom and sides of the hole with Mycorrhizal fungi, again to encourage root growth.

Place the rose, still in its growing container, in the hole to ensure that the union of the rose will be about 5cm (2in) below the level of the ground. Adjust if required then take the rose out of the container and position in hole. Backfill the soil and firm down gently with your boot.

Water the now planted rose thoroughly again.

Removing the rose from the pot

Removing the rose from the container

Planting the rose

Backfilling the soil around the newly planted rose

Planting in a container

One of the great delights of many roses is their scent, so growing a rose in a container on a terrace near a doorway, window or seating area adds layers of pleasure to a summer garden.

The container should be at least 45cm (18in) in diameter. Ideally place it in its intended position while it is empty, to avoid having to shift the full weight of a planted up, watered container.

Porous pots are ideal for roses, so terracotta pots are recommended but zinc, stone or glazed earthenware are also feasible. It is a good idea to place the pots on feet to facilitate drainage and thus ensure the roots do not become too wet.

You will need:

Water the rose thoroughly.

Place shards of terracotta or stone in the bottom of the pot to ensure the drainage hole is not blocked by soil.

Assess the container you are using and with a spade make a half-and-half mixture or enough well-rotted farmyard manure and John Innes No. 3 compost.

Fill the pot with the mixture and press it down gently to avoid air pockets. When you have reached a point where you think the union of the rose will be 5cm (2in) below the desired height of soil in the container, test the height by placing the rose, still in the container it was grown in, and adjust if necessary.

Remove the rose from the pot and sprinkle the sides and base with Mycorrhizal fungi. Place rose in the container. Back fill using a trowel with the remaining mixture and firm down with your hands.

Water the rose thoroughly.

Following planting and throughout the growing season the rose, because it is in a container, will require regular checking to ensure it has enough water to thrive.