When Is The Best Time To Plant Roses?

As nice as it would be to be able to snap your fingers and instantly have the luscious rose garden of your dreams, it will take a little bit of planning ahead in order to ensure your flowers have the best chance of thriving. 

Contrary to popular belief, roses are actually low-maintenance flowers to take care of. But low-maintenance does not mean no maintenance. Familiarizing yourself with best practices of planting and care will help both you as a gardener and your roses. 

Bare Root Roses Vs. Potted Roses 

If you are ordering your roses plants, there are two standard states of being that roses will arrive in: bare root or in a container. 

Bare Root Roses

Bare root roses will look like you received a bunch of dead roots in the mail, but do not fear—they are just dormant, waiting to bloom. Make sure the packaging is moist and store the bare roots in a cool and dark place until you are ready to plant them. 

In colder places, you should plant your bare root roses as soon as the soil is workable in the springtime. In warmer places, you should plant your bare root roses in either early spring or late fall (as long as the plant is still dormant). 

Potted Roses

Roses that arrive in containers or pots are further along in their growth journey but also require their own special set of care instructions. 

These should be planted in late spring for the best possible results. However, because they are farther along in their development process, potted roses can be planted at any time during the growing season as long as they are provided with enough water during the hot summer months. 

Roses And Zones: Determining The Best Planting Time For You 

Before breaking ground on your rose garden, check out your Hardiness Zone to determine when the last frost was in your region. The Zone guideline will direct you to when the best time to plant your roses will be depending on your local climate and conditions. This goes for planting both potted roses and bare root roses. In most hardiness zones, the best time to plant roses tends to be early spring. The ground is no longer frozen from winter’s frost, and the summer heat is still in the future. This is usually between late February and early April. 

You can find your hardiness zone using the United States Department of Agriculture’s Hardiness Zone map. There are thirteen zones that you could land in. All you have to do is enter your zip code into the database, and it will tell you which zone is yours, along with the first and last dates of that year’s frost. The first frost date for the year will be during fall. The last frost date for the year will be in the spring. 

For example, Zone 3 is the coldest zone in which it is still possible to plant roses. Zone 10 through Zone 13 might not have enough winter chill for certain classes of rose to flower, so be sure to check with your local nursery regarding particular varieties before purchasing. 

It is vitally important that roses be planted once all signs of frost have passed, as it is dangerous for the rose plant’s ultimate survival. The soil should be warmed up and easy for you to work with as the gardener. Soil that is either frozen or sopping wet from heavy rain is not suitable for rose planting. If the soil is extremely muddy, wait for it to dry out before you commence planting. 

The best temperature range for planting roses is between 40-60 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Benefits Of Planting Roses In Spring 

A lot of plant nurseries will receive their rose stock in January or February, so you will be able to get a head start on your gardening. When roses are planted early, like in late February or early March, your roses will have plenty of time for their roots to settle in and acclimate to their new homes after the winter frost and be ready to bloom come springtime

It can be tempting to plant roses that are already in bloom for an instantaneous pop of color, but in the end, it will be harder for the rose to fully adapt and reach its full growth potential. Container roses can be planted as late as May, but you will have even better gardening results if you plant them even earlier. Plus, you will be able to enjoy your roses as beautiful spring flowers for even longer. 

Roses that are planted in late spring and early summer must also face the wrath of the hot fiery sun before they have fully grown comfortable in their space. Establishing roots during more mild weather is healthier for the rose plant’s long-term growth. They will then be able to deal with higher temperatures easier.

High weather temperatures put stress on the rose while it is trying to bloom. It makes it harder for the plant to successfully establish itself within its new environment. Any extra time can impact the effects of blooming, making the roses both healthier and made to last

Waiting To Plant Roses Until Fall 

Another gardening option is to wait to plant your roses until fall. For this plan of action, your goal is to plant your roses before the winter’s first frost. This will give your plant’s roots more than enough time to delve and settle into the soil before transitioning to its dormant state for the winter. 

Additional Important Planting Considerations 

Along with the time of year and state of frost, there are other important factors to consider before you plant your roses. Make sure to choose your planting location with consideration and care, as your roses will be both happier and healthier with optimal conditions.

Roses thrive under full sunlight, and it is recommended that they receive six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day. A rose plant that does not receive enough direct sunlight will not immediately wither up and die, but it will weaken gradually underneath the partial sun, producing subpar flower blooms and will most likely overwinter poorly. 

Roses also greatly benefit from ample air circulation. To provide this, you can plant your flowers in an area where they will receive fresh and flowing air. A closed or boxed-in area will limit their potential. 

Roses love rich soil and compost. Adding as much compost before planting will help the soil deliver above and beyond nutritional benefits to your roses. 

Tips For Planting Roses 

Before you break garden ground, be sure to secure a pair of gardening gloves to protect your hands. If you are using bare roots roses, soak the roots in a bucket of water for around 8 to 12 hours before planting. If you are planting container roses, loosen up the roots before planting. 

Prune your rose canes back 3-5 buds per cane. Any cane that is thinner than a standard pencil can be removed. 

Once you select your planting spot, clear away any straggling vegetation in the area. Now it is time to dig your gardening hole! Always make the hole bigger than you anticipate needing. A good measurement guideline is between 15 to 18 inches wide. Add organic matter or compost to the bottom of the hole for added soil nutrients. Plant your roses and water generously afterwards. Mound up the loose soil around the canes to protect your roses during their acclimation period to their new environment. 

Avoid Extreme Weather Conditions 

It is best to avoid planting your roses, whether they are bare rooted or in a pot, during any sort of extreme weather condition. The consistency of the soil is imperative to the plant’s success—waterlogged soil after a big storm will not be your roses friend. Waiting until the soil has properly dried will make a huge difference in your gardening long-term. By doing this, you will be able to ensure proper planting practices. 

Final Takeaways 

Roses are known for being a timeless and classic flower that adds beauty and intrigue to any garden or indoor vase. Opt for high-quality plants that are available at your local nursery. The investment will be worth it, as your chance of growing a healthy and vibrant rose plant will dramatically increase. 

Remember that determining the best time and spot to plant your roses has a lot to do with your area’s soil hardiness and accessibility to direct sunlight. Planting your roses in a good spot at the right time is already starting out your tending relationship with excellent care and consideration. 



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