Planting A Container Grown Rose


Container-grown roses can be planted all year round, provided the ground is neither frozen, nor very dry. Plant a potted rose early in the growing season (late spring or early summer) — this is about the time you generally find them for sale. If your climate is cold, wait until after the last frost. But don’t wait too long, because hot summer weather stresses a freshly transplanted rose plant.


Good soil is also very important. It should be rich in organic matter and drain well. If it isn’t, import some good loam (rich, crumbly soil) and compost, or at least mix the existing soil half-and-half with premium soil.

Preparing a hole for your potted rose

When planting roses that come in containers, you first prepare the hole:

  • Take a good look at the pot the rose came in and dig a hole a bit wider and deeper
  • You can put the pot in the hole to check that it is big enough.
  • Loosen the soil on the sides of the pot and in the bottom of the hole, using your fingers or a trowel.

Getting a potted rose ready for planting

Prepare the plant:

  • Water the plant well — until liquid runs out the bottom of the pot — before planting.
  • Clip off damaged stems, flowers, and buds.
  • Leave on as much good foliage as you can. You can cut down to the highest five- or seven-leaflet leaf group.
  • Cut to an outward-facing set of leaves to encourage new growth away from the centre of the plant.
  • Run a knife or other flat object all the way around the inside edge of the pot to loosen the plant.
  • Gently remove the rose from the container.

How to plant:

  • Use your fingers along the root ball to loosen the soil and roots. Don’t worry if a few roots break off.
  • If the rose is really root-bound, take a moment to help it further.
    Score the sides of the dense rootball with a sharp knife, up and down, in two or three places.
    Don’t make a deep cut — just 1/2 an inch in is fine. This step stimulates new root growth.
  • Hold the plant by the rootball (not the top growth) and set it into the prepared hole, and backfill good soil around it.
  • Make a basin of soil or mulch around the plant then water.
    The basin should be about 12 to 18 inches in diameter so the water that it collects soaks in directly over the root zone of the rose.
    This basin makes for easier watering (do this now — give it a good soaking).
  • If the plant settles too low in the hole after the watering, wiggle it back up.
  • For a grafted plant, mound soil over the bud union to serve as insulation to protect this vulnerable portion of the rosebush.