How to Plant Roses & Other Flowers


Planting flowers and other plants is all about caring for the roots. The roots absorb water and nutrients, and any damage they receive will reduce the vigor of your plant. Dryness is the primary cause of damage. Never expose the root ball to the air and sun for more than a few moments. Give the roots loose, airy soil with lots of organic matter, room to grow and adequate water, and you'll soon have a vigorous, disease- resistant plant with lots of blooms.

Step 1

Water your rose or other flower before planting. If it has been sold bare-root, as many roses are in the early spring, soak the roots in a bucket of water for about an hour. This gives dry roots a chance to absorb as much water as possible before getting into the ground.

Step 2

Dig a hole with the shovel that is approximately twice as wide and as deep as the current root ball. Mix the soil you remove with peat moss, compost, steer manure or other organic matter. The amendments will help hold water and nutrients in the soil so they are available to the roots.

Step 3

Take your plant out of the container and gently spread the roots out as far as they can be easily pulled. If the plant is root-bound, with many roots curled tightly around the inside of the container, you may need to make shallow cuts in the tangled mass so the new roots will spread outward.

Step 4

Place the plant in the hole so the top of its root ball, or the soil line of a bare-root rose, is even with the top of the surrounding soil. Push the amended soil around the roots, using your fingers to work it in between them. Never cover the root ball with extra soil. Doing so may smother the roots and kill the plant.

Step 5

Water the rose or flower thoroughly with a starter solution containing vitamin B1. This helps the growth of new roots and reduces the effect of losing roots while transplanting.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid planting flowers in any soil that drains poorly. Standing water reduces the amount of oxygen available to the roots, causing rot and death of the plant. If the soil is wet, plant on a mound a foot or two high to provide better drainage.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Organic matter (peat moss, compost, steer manure or other)
  • Starter solution containing Vitamin B1


  • All-America Rose Selections: Planting Roses
  • Flower Gardening Made Easy: Tips for Planting Perennials
Keywords: planting techniques, planting roses, planting flowers

About this Author

Over the past 30 years, Mara Grey has sold plants in nurseries, designed gardens and volunteered as a Master Gardener. She is the author of "The Lazy Gardener" and "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Flower Gardening" and has a Bachelor of Science in botany.