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How to Plant Roses in Florida

By Tanya Khan ; Updated September 21, 2017
Beautiful roses enhance the appearance of any spot.
roses rose, rose.. image by Christophe Hamerlik from Fotolia.com

Roses are favored throughout the world for their blooms and fragrance. Florida gardeners find it challenging to grow roses in the sandy soils and humid environment. Planted and cared for properly, roses can bloom year-round in the central and southern parts of the state and for up to nine months in northern Florida. Plant roses alone in flowerbeds, in containers to decorate an indoor spot or mix them with different types of flowers for a larger variety of color.

Select a spot in a garden or yard that has well-drained soil and receives at least six hours of direct sunlight every day. Test the pH of the soil to ensure it is 5.5 to 6.5, which indicates a moderately to slightly acidic soil. Send a sample to a local extension office or test it yourself with a home kit. Add sulfur to lower pH level or lime to raise it.

Add 2 to 4 inches of organic compost, manure or peat moss to the bed. Rake the bed well to ensure the soil amendment mixes well with the existing soil and goes 12 inches deep.

Dig a hole for each plant as deep as the rootball of containerized roses grafted on Fortuniana rootstock (easily available in Florida nurseries) or Dr. Huey rootstock over the amended bed. Remove the rootball from the container and gently loosen entangled roots.

Plant the rose at the same depth as the container to ensure the grafted union is above soil level. Backfill the hole with a mixture of ¼ perlite, ½ top soil and ¼ peat moss. Apply a 2-inch layer of mulch over the soil. Make sure the grafted union sits above it.

Water the roses frequently enough to keep the soil evenly moist for the first two to three months. Feed the plant a fertilizer specified for roses, containing time-released nitrogen and micronutrients. Fertilize roses in the north and central Florida once a month from mid-February to mid-November, and those in the south every month. Apply 1 cup of fertilizer per application for every rose plant.


Things You Will Need

  • Soil testing kit
  • Sulfur or lime
  • Organic compost
  • Rake
  • Shovel
  • Containerized rose plants
  • Perlite
  • Peat moss
  • Garden hose
  • Rose fertilizer


  • Make sure the selected planting site is away from any high trees or structures that may block good air circulation or sunlight to the roses.
  • Create raised beds for planting roses over areas where soil does not drain well.
  • Roses in Florida require larger spacing than in other areas of the United States. Space each rose plant at least 6 feet apart.

About the Author


Tanya Khan is a freelance author and consultant, having written numerous articles for various online and print sources. She has a Master of Business Administration in marketing but her passion lies in writing.