How to Plant a Rose Shrub


Roses are one of the most beloved of all flowering plants. Their showy flowers make for excellent bouquets and can fill a room with their distinctively sweet scent. For centuries the popularity of roses have made them an iconic symbol of beauty, love, war and even politics. Roses are relatively easy to grow, and, once established, they can be very hardy. You can plant a rose shrub from early spring through the fall. However, the earlier you plant in spring, the better, since it will allow plenty of time over the summer for the rose to develop a strong root system.

Step 1

Choose a planting area for the rose shrub that will provide at least six hours of sunlight every day, as suggested by Jane Martin and Angie Eckert with Ohio State University Extension. This will ensure the rose shrub will be well developed and produce an abundance of blossoms.

Step 2

Dig up the soil in the planting area using a spade, garden fork or rototiller to a depth of between 16 and 18 inches. Sift through the soil using a metal rake, and remove all large clods, sticks, roots or other objects that can interfere with the growth of the rose shrub.

Step 3

Level and smooth out the soil using the metal rake so you can spread out a 2 to 4 inch layer of leaf mold, aged manure, compost or other organic matter. Mix the amendment into the soil using the fork, spade or rototiller.

Step 4

Pour water into a bucket until it is about one-third full. Unwrap the material from around the root system, if you are planting a bare-root rose shrub. Place the roots into the bucket of water and let them soak for one hour prior to planting. If you are planting a container grown rose shrub, cut along the sides of the pot all the way to the top of the rim. Do this all the way around the container until you can remove the rose from its pot.

Step 5

Cut off any dead, broken or damaged branches and roots from the rose shrub.

Step 6

Dig a planting hole that is approximately 18 inches wide by 15 inches deep. Measure out approximately 1/2 cup, or enough to fill a hand-full, of bone-meal. Mix the bone-meal into the soil in the bottom of the planting hole.

Step 7

Create a mound of soil in the middle of the planting hole that is about 10 to 12 inches high, if you are planting a bare-root rose shrub. Spread out the roots of the rose shrub over the mound of soil. Loosen up the root system using your hand, if you are planting a container grown rose shrub.

Step 8

Scoop in a few shove-fulls of soil in the planting hole to secure the rose shrub in place. Make sure it is not sitting too deep in its planting hole. Ideally it should be planted at the same level in the soil it was previously growing at. Scoop in soil to fill the planting hole full once you are sure the rose shrub is sitting at a good height.

Step 9

Water the rose shrub thoroughly using a steady, slow stream of water. The rose should be provided enough water to moisten the soil at a depth of approximately 12 to 16 inches. To help the rose shrub maintain adequate moisture levels, spread a 2-inch layer of grass clippings, compost, bark or other organic matter around the rose. Keep the mulch about 2 inches from the stem of the rose.

Things You'll Need

  • Rose shrub
  • Spade, garden fork or rototiller
  • Bucket
  • Soil amendment
  • Bone-meal
  • Multi-purpose snips
  • Mulch


  • Ohio State University: Planting Roses
  • Illinois State University: Growing Roses

Who Can Help

  • The University of Illinois: The History of the Rose
Keywords: planting roses, planting rose shrubs, rose planting

About this Author

Katelyn Lynn is a certified holistic health practitioner who specializes in orthomolecular medicine and preventative modalities. She also has extensive experience in botany and horticulture. Lynn has been writing articles for various websites relating to health and wellness since 2007. She has been published on She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in alternative medicine from Everglades University.