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How to Plant Tea Roses

Hybrid tea roses are the divas of the rose world, putting out tight, pointed buds that open into big, splashy flowers. The flowers on these rose bushes blossom at the end of long stems, making them favorites for flower arrangements. Some hybrid teas are grafted roses--the buds from one type of rose have been attached to the root system of a different rose variety.

If you’ve chosen bare-root roses, plant them as soon as you can after you get them. If you can’t do it immediately, take the roses out of their wrappers, wet down the roots and wrap them back up in the wrappers again.

The day before you plan to plant your roses, take them out of their wrappings and put them in buckets of water. Leave them to soak overnight.

If you’re planting roses grown in containers, water them very well before you take them out of their pots. (see reference 2, page 52)

Choose a site for your roses where they will get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day. Sunset recommends that if you live in a very hot climate, you should plant your roses in a spot where the light they receive is filtered. If the skies in your area are often cloudy, pick a place where the roses will get all the sunlight they possibly can.

Perform a perc test on your soil. Roses will not tolerate having wet roots, so Field Roebuck suggests you test the drainage in your chosen spot by digging a hole the size of a 2-lb. coffee can and filling it with water. Once the water has drained out, fill the hole again and then keep track of how long it takes the water to drain out.

If there’s still water in the hole at the end of 4 hours, the soil has poor drainage. If that's your situation, consider building raised beds for your roses, or plan to add copious amounts of compost or peat moss to the soil to loosen it up.

Dig the soil up in your chosen spot with the shovel, at least 18 inches deep and at least 18 to 24 inches wide for each rose. Add plenty of compost to the soil--one part for every two parts of soil--and mix it all together thoroughly. Then add fertilizer to the soil and mix it up again.

Decide how far apart you want to plant your roses, based on the climate where you live. Hybrid tea roses tend to grow pretty much straight up and they don't spread out much, but some varieties can reach 6 feet in height. Almost all tea roses eventually have bare canes at the soil line.

Consult the information that came with your roses to determine how much space they will occupy under optimal conditions. If you live in a northern state, your roses won’t grow as large as they would in a warmer place, so you may want to plant them a little closer together.

Make a hole in the soil that's big enough to hold one rose bush. With your hand, rake up a pyramid of soil at the bottom of the hole. If yours is a grafted rose, locate the bud union on it--this is the enlarged place just above the roots where the rose was grafted.

Put the rose bush down into the hole and push soil in and around it. If you live in a cold climate, you may want to cover the rose bush up to about 2 inches above the bud union, but Sunset cautions that doing so can inhibit the growth of canes, so you may prefer to simply mulch the rose bushes well before winter.

Water the roses thoroughly and continue to water them regularly and deeply as they mature. Sunset says that new bushes need less water more often than do established roses, which need deep watering at regular intervals.

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