How to Plant Bare Root Roses

Plant bare root roses as soon as possible for healthy growth. image by Tobyotter/


Rose bushes are commonly sold as bare root plants, which are in a dormant stage to allow for easy transportation. Improperly planted bare root roses will have difficulty adjusting and could go into shock when suddenly placed back into the soil. Bare root roses are easy to plant with the proper technique, but they can't be planted and expected to thrive without care and preparation. For best results, plant bare root roses immediately upon receiving or getting them home.

Step 1

Remove bare root roses from any packaging and soak the roots in a bucket of room temperature water for one to two hours. This will rehydrate the roots and initiate the start of growth. Without soaking, the roots will experience severe and possibly fatal shock when planted.

Step 2

Search the roots for any topical damage and remove any dead or damaged roots using a pair of pruning shears. Dead or damaged roots will not grow properly and should be removed to allow room for new roots to grow. Remove all roots that are withered, broken, bruised or otherwise damaged.

Step 3

Select a planting location with well-drained soil that receives full sun for most of the day. Dig a hole twice as wide as the rose's root system. This will allow the roots to spread out naturally without being cramped. Use a garden spade to loosen the soil on the bottom of the hole where the roots will be growing.

Step 4

Form a cone of soil at the bottom of the hole on which the bare root rose plant will sit. Adjust the size of the cone so that the top of the plant's root system is barely above soil level when placed in the hole. Spread out the roots evenly around the cone, to start them in the direction they will be growing.

Step 5

Refill the hole with soil and gently pack it over the roots. Water thoroughly to bring the moist soil into full contact with the roots.

Step 6

Form a mound of soil around the stem of the roses that is 3 to 5 inches in height; this will prevent the canes from drying before growth begins.

Step 7

Continue watering the rose plant as it grows. Water once per day when temperatures are 90 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Water every two to three days when temperatures are between 70 and 89 degrees. Water once every four to five days when temperatures are 69 degrees and below. Soak the soil to a depth of 2 inches at each watering.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not plant bare root roses in heavy clay soils, as they don't drain quickly enough and root rot may develop. Instead, plant in sandy soils with good drainage for the best results.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket
  • Pruning shears
  • Garden spade


  • University of California: Selecting and Planting Bare Root Roses
  • Ohio State University Fact Sheet: Planting Roses
  • Book: Organic Gardening for Dummies; Ann Whitman and Suzanne DeJohn; 2009
Keywords: bare root roses, bare root rose plants, plant bare root roses

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including

Photo by: Tobyotter/