First, think about location and what your rose will need:
1. Roses need six hours or more of sun each day.
2. Roses need soil that is high in organic matter. The richer the soil is, the better off the rose will be. They prefer slightly acidic conditions, with a pH of 6-6.5.
3. It pays to take time to prepare your soil. Dig out eight to ten inches of topsoil and set aside in a wheelbarrow or on a tarp, then dig out all roots and stones from the area. Mix in at least one part of well-rotted manure, compost or leaf mold for every 3 parts of soil in the ground and into the soil in the wheelbarrow as well. Add ½ cup of super phosphate to help root growth and one cup organic rose fertilizer (organic fertilizer will not burn the plant) into the mix and pour it back into the hole. Allow the mix to settle until you are ready to plant your rose.
4. Roses need good drainage. If you have heavy soil, you will need to add sand into the soil around individual plants or dig a trench below the garden bed to drain away excess water.
5. Don't plant a rose where another has been, because rose-specific disease organisms may lie dormant in the soil for up to five years. To be safe, shift your site to a new location or replace the top foot of soil.
6. It is best to plant your roses in the spring, before weather becomes very hot. They can also be planted in the fall. What is important is that they are allowed to get their roots established in the soil before intense heat or intense cold.
After these preparations, you are ready to plant:
1. Roses in containers may be root bound, so inspect the roots before planting. If the root ball is a solid mass of roots, score the root ball lengthwise in three or four places with a sharp knife. Spread the sections open about an inch or so to allow new roots to form. If the plant isn't root bound, loosen the soil all the way around the ball, exposing the roots.
2. Set the plant into the prepared hole at the same depth it grew in the pot. Spread the roots out and avoid twisting them around in the hole. Fill the hole, and firm the soil around the rose.
3. Water it well to establish good soil contact with the roots. Finish off with about two inches of mulch, sawdust, woodchips, grass clippings, buckwheat, peanut hulls, or other material to help the soil to retain moisture, keep down weeds, and protect the rose bush from extreme temperatures.
4. The first month is critical for your rose. Most important is regular watering. Roses need about one to two inches of water per week. It is much better to water deeply once a week than to water lightly and more frequently. Thorough watering encourages good root growth and a strong plant. Water in the morning or use a soaker hose to avoid getting water on the leaves, which can lead to black spot.
5. Roses need plenty of fertilizer during the growing season- a regimen of organic rose fertilizer and liquid fertilizer is a good choice.
6. If you can only plant your rose in the summer heat, don't feed it for a month, other than the fertilizer added to the soil preparation. This will allow your rose to get established before asking it to do more. Remember to water.
Growing beautiful roses doesn't require special skills, and it's not a matter of luck. By giving them the right start and the proper follow-up care, you are well on your way to having beautiful roses.
If you have questions, please ask. We would love to help. Enjoy!
Credit: Fine Gardening March-April 1997, Written By: Richard Devine