Rose bushes can be shipped to another party if done during the right time of year. Small rose bushes can be shipped in small pots if placed securely in a box packed with dry material so they do not move in transit. However, larger rose bushes need to be dug and shipped bare root because of the weight of the soil. Shipping bare root means the plant is shipped without any soil around the roots.
Choose a time to dig and ship rose bushes during late fall or winter when they are dormant. They should have no active growth and little or no foliage, depending on the type of rose. Some roses continue to hold some leaves during the dormant period. The day before the roses are dug, soak the root base with water so the plant will be fully hydrated.
Prune the rose bushes back with a pair of hand shears leaving two or three of the largest canes 6 to 8 inches long. Prune the other canes to the ground or top of the root base.
Dig the rose bush from the ground with a shovel disturbing the roots the least amount possible. Shake off any loose soil after the plant is dug. Prune the main roots back by no more than half to fit in the shipping container. There will be smaller feeder roots left that can be easily bent without breaking them when the bushes are placed in the shipping container. Prune only the amount of large roots needed so the rose bushes will fit into the shipping container, which should be as large as possible.
Heat and melt a small amount of paraffin wax in a shallow pan. Dip the bottom one-half inch of the cut end of the roots that were cut in the paraffin wax to seal off the root and prevent it from drying out. Place the cut end of each root in the melted paraffin wax for two seconds and remove. Only treat the ends of the main roots that were pruned.
Turn off the heat from the paraffin wax when finished because paraffin wax becomes very flammable when hot. Use extreme caution when working around hot material.
As soon as the paraffin wax becomes solid around the cut ends of the rose bushes, wrap the root system in damp newspaper, then wrap it again in a plastic bag. You will need to carefully bend the tender feeder roots so they fit into the bag. Secure the top of the plastic bag around the main stem or canes of the rose bushes with a plastic twist tie. The twist tie should be at the top of the root section and below the canes or top growth.
Prepare a suitable shipping container for the rose bushes. Place the rose bushes into the container and use dry newspaper to pack the rose bushes in the container so they do not move around during shipping.
Secure the container with packing tape and ship to the desired party.