How to Plant Roses in Spring


One way many gardeners pass the winter is by planning their spring planting. While some flowers can be planted while the temperatures are still cool, roses must be planted after the last freeze date has passed. However, part of planting a rose involves selecting and preparing the garden site and this can be done while it is still too cool to plant. Proper preparation and planting gives the rose the boost it needs to grow well.

Step 1

Select a planting site that gets at least six full hours of sunlight each day. Select a location that provides plenty of airflow and sufficient room for the rose to grow to its mature size.

Step 2

Prepare the soil pH in the plant site four weeks before planting. Till up the soil to a depth of 2 feet and remove rocks, weeds and other debris. Use a soil-testing kit to determine the soil's pH level and adjust the pH to between 5.8 and 6.8. The Iowa State University Extension recommends using limestone to make soil more acidic and sulfur to make it more alkaline.

Step 3

Make a soil mixture when the rose is planted. Dig a hole that measures 2 feet across and 2 feet deep. Place the soil from this hole in a container or wheelbarrow. Determine the approximate amount of the soil and add equal amounts of peat moss, regular potting soil and mulch. Mix well.

Step 4

Shovel the potting mixture into the hole until it is half-full. Add water to the hole until it is full. Mix the water and soil mixture until it has the consistency of a thin cake batter.

Step 5

Remove the rose from its nursery container and put it into the water/soil mixture. Have someone hold the rose so that the bud union, the knob-like joint where the canes and roots meet, is at ground level. Shovel more soil mixture into the hole, until it is filled and the water/soil mixture is firm

Step 6

Place a 2-inch layer of mulch under the rose and build it up around the bud union. Mound the mulch to form a dam about a foot away from the rose, to help retain water. When the rose has new red leaves, remove the mulch from the bud union.

Step 7

Give the rose approximately 1 gallon of water every day until the plant is putting out new red leaves. Direct the water toward the roots and avoid getting the rose's leaves wet. Reduce the frequency of water to once a week, giving the rose 4 to 5 gallons weekly.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not add plant food or use pesticides or fungicides on the rose until it has new red leaves.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Soil-testing kit
  • Lime or sulfur
  • Peat moss
  • Potting soil
  • Mulch
  • Gardening gloves
  • Rose bush
  • Water


  • Ortho's All About Roses: Dr. Tommy Cairns; 1999

Who Can Help

  • The University of Iowa Extension: How to Change Your Soil's pH
Keywords: rose, planting roses, spring

About this Author

Since 1995, H.B. Dean has written more than 2,000 articles for publications including “PB&J,” Disney’s “Family Fun,” “ParentLife,” Living With Teenagers,” and Thomas Nelson’s NYTimes Best-selling “Resolve.” After 17 years of homeschooling her five children, Dean discovered that motherhood doesn’t stop with an empty nest.