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How to Plant Roses in Texas

Gardeners can successfully plant and grow roses anywhere in Texas’s six growing regions as long as they follow soil preparation and care instructions. Roses are one of the most popular landscape plants and offer you an extraordinary variety of colors and sizes, and of course, that wonderful, sweet rose fragrance. Older varieties of roses also have a hip--a fruit pod which remains after the petals are gone--that can be used to make a vitamin C-rich tea.

Select your site for planting roses. Roses need eight hours of sun to flower well. However, in the hot Texas summers, you may want to give them a bit of late afternoon shade. The site should be level and not too close to trees and shrubs that compete for nutrients.

Prepare the bed for your Texas rose garden using a shovel or gardening fork. Clear the site of all weeds and grasses. Loosen the soil down about 12 to 15 inches and remove any rocks.

Check soil pH. Roses are tolerant plants, but they prefer a pH level that is slightly acidic to neutral between 5.5 and 7.0. East Texas soils are usually about the correct pH naturally. But soils from Dallas west and south tend to be alkaline and require the addition of elemental sulfur to lower their pH to provide the correct conditions for growing roses.

Check soil drainage. Roses do not like wet feet, and the clay soils in parts of Texas are slow to dry out. To check your soil’s drainage, dig a hole 1 foot deep and fill it with water. If the water drains out of the hole in 15 minutes, you have good drainage. If not, routinely adding organic matter will improve drainage.

Prepare the soil for planting roses. After the bed soil has been loosened, remove about half of the soil. Into the remaining soil add composted organic matter like peat moss and manure. Mix the organic matter and loosened soil. Add remaining top soil to raise the bed slightly above the site elevation. In West Texas caliche and chalk soils, a good potting soil mix from a local nursery is the best choice as the primary bedding soil for your roses.

Plant rose bushes. Dig a square hole slightly larger than the container holding the rose bush. Add superphosphate to the bottom of the hole according to package directions based on transplant size. Spread the plant roots gently and set the rose bush into its hole.

Add soil around the transplant until the bud union is about two inches above the ground. Tap the soil down gently and firmly around the rose plant.

Water-in the newly planted rose to settle the soil. Add more soil if needed to reach the desired soil height. Extra fertilizer is usually not needed in the first year.


In South Texas, plant roses in the fall or early winter. In other Texas growing regions, plant roses after the danger of frost has passed. Check out the Earth-Kind roses selected by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension for hardy choices adapted to Texas living with minimal environmental impact. If using un-decomposed organic matter, add a bit of nitrogen to the soil because the decomposition process will take nitrogen from the roses.

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