If you are like many gardeners, seeing a table of rose bushes on clearance has you dancing in the aisles with glee. You may even sustain your euphoria all the way to the car. But, eventually the nagging fear that you really won’t be able to revive them raises its ugly head. Bargain-priced roses typically show signs of neglect and stress, but unless they are infected with disease, most can be revived. So put on the gardening clothes and get those roses in the ground.
Remove the plastic wrap from the rose bush and insert the entire root ball into a bucket of tepid water. Allow it to soak for one hour. Although some sources recommend soaking roses overnight, Bill Welch of Texas A&M University advises against soaking a rose for more than an hour.
Select an area that receives six to eight hours of direct sunlight a day. Prepare the soil by digging at least 6 inches deeper than the planting depth of the rose, as recommended by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. This encourages deep root formation.
Amend soil with compost, well-rotted manure or peat moss. Organic matter improves aeration, promotes drainage and provides nutrients. According to North Dakota State University Extension, roses prefer well-drained soil and cannot tolerate soggy soil.
Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the root ball of the rose bush. Create a mound of soil in the center of the hole. Spread the roots of the rose bush over the mound. Position the rose to the original planting depth and fill in around roots with fresh soil. Firm down with your hands to secure the bush.
Water thoroughly to moisten the soil to the root level. Keep soil moist until you observe new growth. Reduce water and allow soil to dry slightly between waterings. Roses require 1 inch of water per week. If rain is insufficient, provide supplemental water.
Fertilize with 5-10-5 or 10-10-10 fertilizer a week or two after planting. Repeat in four to six weeks. Generally fertilizer is divided into three yearly applications.