How to Plant Rose Shrubs


Shrub roses are versatile plants. They can be grown as accent plantings or as flowering hedges. They are generally disease-resistant and withstand the cold better than other types of roses. Mature rose shrubs can reach 6 feet in height, but growth is easily controlled by pruning. Ask three rosarians how to plant a rose shrub and you will likely receive three different answers; many have their favorite techniques. Plant your rose shrub as soon as the ground has thawed in early spring.

Step 1

Soak the roots of the bare-root shrub in a bucket of room temperature water for four hours before planting. Don't soak them any longer than 24 hours as the roots need to breathe and cannot do so when submerged in water.

Step 2

Choose a location in which to plant the shrub rose. It should be an area that receives four to five hours of sun per day. Unlike other types of roses, shrub roses don't mind being crowded, so don't rule out a location near other landscape plants.

Step 3

Pick all weeds from within a 3-foot radius of the planting location.

Step 4

Amend the soil by adding a 3- to 4-inch layer of compost and digging it down to a depth of 8 inches with a long-handle gardening fork.

Step 5

Dig a hole that is the same depth as the pot in which the rose shrub is growing. If you are planting a bare-root rose, look for a soil ring on the lower portion of the main stem. This is an indication of how deep it was planted in the nursery. The hole should be twice the width of the root ball.

Step 6

Create a mound of soil at the bottom of the planting hole. The root ball will rest on top of this mound with the roots spread out in all directions, hanging down. The roots should just slightly touch the soil without bending. You may have to enlarge or reduce the size of the mound with more soil to get it to the proper height. Throw a handful of bone meal into the hole on top of the mound.

Step 7

Place the root ball on top of the mound, spread the roots around on all sides and backfill the hole three-fourths of the way with soil. Fill the hole with water, allow it to drain and finish filling the planting hole with soil. Use your feet to press the soil in place around the base of the rose shrub.

Step 8

Water the rose shrub, slowly, until the water puddles.

Step 9

Mound the soil 6 inches up the trunk of the rose shrub, packing it around the cane. Allow the soil to remain for the first two weeks the rose shrub is in the ground. Remove it by gently washing it away from the plant.

Step 10

Add a 3-inch layer of mulch to the soil, completely surrounding the rose shrub but 2 inches away from the cane.

Step 11

Water the rose shrub to keep the soil consistently moist for the first three months it is in the ground. It should break dormancy within three weeks of planting.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket
  • Long-handle gardening fork
  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Bone meal
  • Mulch


  • Spring Valley Roses: How to Plant Roses
  • Rose Magazine: Planting Roses
  • Colorado State University: Shrub Roses
Keywords: plant shrub roses, plant rose shrub, growing shrub roses

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations, worldwide. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.