How to Transplant a Large Rose Bush


Rose bushes add beauty to any yard or garden, but there may come a time when they just can no longer remain in the area where they are planted. Before moving roses, wait for them to come out of dormancy. This will be late winter or early spring. If you live in warmer climates, it will be late winter. For colder climates it will be early spring. When it comes time to move them, there are a few steps you can take that will ensure they are moved safely, and will produce healthy blooms in their next flowering season.

Step 1

Water the rose bush you wish to transplant every day for seven days. On day seven, water in the morning, and then begin your moving preparations. This will allow the rose bush to soak up the water one more time before being uprooted.

Step 2

Put on your gloves, grab your shovel and dig the new hole for your rose bush. Because you are moving a large rose bush, dig the hole approximately 2 feet wide and 20 inches deep. You may need to adjust this measurement when you put the bush in the new hole. At this point you can mix some organic matter, compost or fertilizer into the dirt at the bottom of the hole as well.

Step 3

Prune the rose bush down as much as you can, cutting off branches and stems. When you are done it may look just about bare, but it will come back.

Step 4

Look for the widest points on each side of the bush. This is referred to as the "drip line." When you are digging up the rose bush, you need to dig about 10 inches beyond the drip line on each side. You will also need to dig down into the soil at least 20 inches. Gently lift the rose bush up with the shovel, and then, using your gloved hands, pull it completely out of the hole.

Step 5

Gently shake the bush as you lift it to loosen the dirt from the root ball without damaging the roots.

Step 6

Make a mound of soil in the center of the new hole, piling it up so that the top of the center mound is 2 inches below the outer edge of the hole. Spread the roots out gently and lay them over the mound so they drape slightly down into the hole. Fill in the rest of the hole halfway with soil. Soak with water, and wait for the water to drain. Fill the hole the rest of the way with soil. Water again and wait for the soil to drain.

Step 7

Fill the hole the rest of the way, and pile soil up and around the base of the rose bush. Tap soil down.

Step 8

Spread fertilizer made especially for roses on the top of the soil, and cover with mulch. Water thoroughly once a week until the roots are established and you see new growth on the rose bush.

Tips and Warnings

  • Be very careful when digging up the rose bush. If you dig too close to the roots, you may cut them and damage them.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Garden gloves
  • Shovel
  • Pruning shears
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch


  • This Old House: Transplanting Roses
Keywords: transplanting roses, moving a large rose bush, transplanting rose bushes

About this Author

A freelance writer for over 12 years, Traci Vandermark has written extensively on health and fitness topics. She is a student of health, fitness and nutrition at the International Institute Of Holistic Healing, certified by the American Association of Nutritional Consultants. Her articles have appeared in Catskill Country Magazine, The Lookout Magazine, Capper's, Birds and Blooms and Country Discoveries, to name a few.