Planting Bare Root Roses in Colorado


It is possible to grow roses in most communities in Colorado, but it is a challenge due to the extreme temperature fluctuations and long periods of dry weather. Choosing cultivars appropriate for the climate, is half the battle. Many hybrid teas, grandifloras, and floribundas will die even when given winter protection. These roses can be purchased inexpensively and treated as annuals. Avoid climbing hybrid teas and grandifloras as these bloom on last year's wood. Consider planting roses grown on their own roots. The plant may die down to the ground but emerge true to its variety. Explorer and Parkland roses were developed in Canada and have been hardy down to -30 degrees F without protection.

Step 1

Select a site that receives full sun with well-drained soil, and protection from the wind.

Step 2

Place the bare root plant in bucket of water. The roots should be completely covered. Soak the plant for at least four hours but no more than 24 hours. Don't allow the plant roots to dry out before planting.

Step 3

Dig a hole large enough to spread the roots out without bending or overcrowding. If the soil is heavy clay or compacted, dig the hole at least 18 inches deep and 36 inches in diameter. Mix some organic material (peat moss, leaf mold, manure, or compost) into the soil that has been removed. The ratio should be half organic matter to half soil.

Step 4

Prune any visible damaged roots. Place the shrub in the planting hole. If you are planting grafted stock, the bud union should be at or slightly below ground level. The bud union is the point where the plant is grafted onto the root stock It can be recognized by the bulbous swelling located just above the roots. When planting non grafted stock set the crown just below the surface.

Step 5

Fill in around roots with the soil mix. When you have filled in the hole two-thirds of the way, fill the planting hole with water. As it drains it will settle the planting mix around the roots. Continue filling in the hole and water again.

Step 6

Prune top of the plant to about 9 inches tall. This will allow the plant to put most of its energy into forming roots. Make the pruning cuts at a 30- to 45-degree angle, 1/4 inch above an outward facing bud eye.

Step 7

Check the moisture level of the soil for the next few weeks and water as needed. The soil should be moist but not wet.

Things You'll Need

  • Bare root rose plant
  • Bucket of water
  • Shovel
  • Organic matter
  • Pruning shears
  • Garden hose


  • Winter Hardy Roses
  • Selecting and Planting Roses
Keywords: planting roses in Colorado, types of roses for Colorado, rose requirements in Colorad0

About this Author

Joan Puma is a graduate of Hofstra University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in fine arts, and has worked in the film industry for many years as a script supervisor. Puma's interest in gardening lead her to write The Complete Urban Gardener, which was published by Harper & Row. Other interests include, art history, medieval history, and equitation.