How to Plant a Rose Bed


Planting a rose bed in your home garden adds loads of color and fragrance throughout the spring and summer. Rose beds need to be well organized with sufficient space between the rose bushes, which helps to control the spread of fungal diseases, and with wide paths between the rows allowing for ease of care and enjoyment. Creating a rose bed requires a few easy-to-do steps to ensure your roses will thrive and flourish for many years to come.

Step 1

Select a location for the rose bed that receives at least eight hours of sun daily. Morning sun is best, with some afternoon shade tolerated in really hot climates. The planting site should not be too close to tall trees that may cause shady conditions. A sheltered location is important to protect the roses from windy conditions.

Step 2

Till the ground in early spring as soon as the ground is workable and preferably after the last frost. Work the soil down at least 1 foot and amend with compost or well-rotted manure and a time-released fertilizer, such as 10-15-10. The fertilizer should have a 1:2:1 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Too much nitrogen will cause more foliage than blooms.

Step 3

Space the rose bushes about 3 to 5 feet apart depending on how large they are supposed to grow. If a rose will grow up to 3 feet tall, space the roses 3 feet apart. Allow an additional foot between rows; for example, if the roses will grow up to 3 feet tall, space the rows 4 feet apart.

Step 4

Dig a hole for each rose bush that is twice the size of the width and height of the root ball, spacing the holes apart at the appropriate distance. Add a handful of bone meal to the bottom of each hole before placing the rose bush in it.

Step 5

Remove the rose from the container it was in and gently loosen the root ball. If necessary, cut the roots apart if they are tightly encircling each other. Use a sharp knife and make cuts about 2 inches apart all around the root ball to loosen the roots and better enable them to grow into the ground once planted.

Step 6

Place a rose plant into a hole so the top of the root ball is at or slightly higher than ground level. Fill in the hole with the soil taken out of it and tamp down gently around the base of the plant. Repeat for each rose plant.

Step 7

Water the roses well after planting using a drip irrigation system or a soaker hose. Water roses about every three to four days to keep the soil moist, but not soaking wet. If the weather gets really hot, water a little more often to keep the soil from drying out.

Step 8

Feed your rose plants with a time-released fertilizer that is higher in phosphorus than nitrogen. Phosphorus is the middle number on the fertilizer container. Fertilize in the spring two weeks after the plants leaf out and again in the summer after blooming begins. Stop fertilizing about six weeks before the first frost, usually in late summer.

Step 9

Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch to control weeds and maintain moisture in the soil helping to conserve water. Mulch also helps keep the soil from splashing onto the rose foliage which can spread disease. Use shredded bark or pine needles.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not over-fertilize roses or they can die. Avoid getting the foliage wet with overhead sprinklers when watering rose bushes.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Rototiller
  • Soil
  • Compost
  • Fertilizer
  • Bone meal
  • Mulch
  • Drip irrigation


  • Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society: How To Make A Rose Bed In Your Garden
  • Learn 2 Grow: Making Your Rose Bed
  • Rose Gardening Made Easy: Planting a Rose Garden
Keywords: plant roses, rose beds, planting rose beds

About this Author

Residing in Southern Oregon, Amy Madtson has been writing for Demand Studios since 2008 with a focus on health, pregnancy, crafts and gardening. Her work has been published on websites such as eHow and Garden Guides, among others. Madtson has been a childbirth educator and doula since 1993.