Growing roses can involve hard, dirty work so the rosarian should consider some
important questions in advance. First, do not purchase roses lower than Grade 1 1/2 and, better yet, none except Grade 1. Grade 1 roses are usually two years old and have been regularly pinched and pruned to produce at least three very strong canes. The Grade 1 1/2 rose is also two years old but has only one strong and one smaller cane. The gardener may choose either bare-root or container-grown rose plants. If more than one rose bush is to be planted in a location, it is wise to prepare the entire bed instead of single planting holes.
Potted roses may be be left outdoors until planted at the buyer's convenience as long as they receive the necessary sun, water and nutrients. When planting time has arrived, reduce water for a couple of days to facilitate removal of the rose from its pot. Bare-root roses should be planted as soon as possible but, if there is a delay, the packing material must be kept moist and the plants stored in a cool place at a temperature of approximately 40-degrees Fahrenheit. The night before a bare-root rose is to be planted, unwrap it and remove its packing material. Carefully remove any broken roots. Leaving the tiny feeder roots intact, trim the tips of any roots which will curl in the planting hole. Prune the canes to six or eight inches and store the bush overnight in a large bucket of water to hydrate the plant. Now to the actual planting of the rose:
For bare-root roses, dig the planting hole deep enough (usually 15 to 18-inches deep) that the bud union of the bare-root rose will be a couple of inches below ground level. Retain the excavated soil and enrich it further with organic amendments. Place a handful of bone meal in the floor of the hole and cover it with loose soil. Form a cone of soil to a level which will place the bud union below ground level. Arrange the roots of the rose around the cone. Add enough of excavated soil so the roots are held firm and about half of the hole if filled. At this stage, scatter one cup of balanced fertilizer around the rose and gently fill the hole with water to eliminate air spaces around the roots. Continue backfilling until the hole is filled. Build up soil 8 to 10 inches around the rose. Keep the canes covered until they show new leaves. At that time, with a slow trickle of water, gradually reduce the amount of soil around the canes and begin a routine maintenance schedule.
For potted roses, eliminate the construction of the cone of soil but, otherwise, follow the same routine as for bare-root roses. Scratch the superphosphate into the loose soil at the bottom of the hole. Tease out some of the exposed roots of the root ball and place the rose in the bottom of the hole. Continue the same procedure as for a bare-root rose keeping the bud union below ground level. Mounding extra soil around the rose bush is not necessary.