Bare-root roses don't look very promising - they're all dormant stem and brown roots and look dead - but they're the ideal way to get your roses off to a great start since there's no chance of transplant shock. Plant in early spring in any part of the country or autumn, in USDA Zones 6 and warmer.
Soak the bare-root roses in water for 1 to 6 hours. A five-gallon bucket works well for just a few roses, while a garbage can is a handy container if planting several roses.
Choose the right site in your garden or yard. Roses like full sun (at least 6 hours of direct light a day).
Prepare a planting hole two feet deep. Work in several spadesful of compost to improve soil fertility and texture.
Backfill the hole slightly to form a mound down in the hole. Spread the rose roots over the mound as evenly as possible.
Locate the graft union, the knobby part of the rose where the roots meet the stem.
Position the graft union 1-2 inches below soil level in USDA Zones 5 and colder. In Zones 6 and warmer, position the graft union just above soil level.
Fill in remaining soil.
Prune if necessary. Most bare-root roses these days are sold "pre-pruned" so you don't have to do any pruning at the time of planting. However, if your bare-root rose has more than a few canes, or any of the canes are damaged or rubbing against each other, prune them so that you have just 3 to 6 strong canes (rose stems) that curve outward.
Mound the soil over the base of the rose to prevent drying out. Water gently but well.
Remove the soil in a few weeks once the rose begins to send out new growth by gently pushing away the soil with your hand.