- Soak bare-root roses in a bucket of water for 8-12 hours before planting.
- Prune each cane back to 3-5 buds per cane. Any cane thinner than a pencil should be removed.
- If planting container grown roses, loosen the roots before planting.
- When you plant the rose, be sure to dig a much bigger hole than you think you need (for most types, the planting hole should be about 15 to 18 inches wide) and add plenty of organic matter such as compost or aged manure.
- Soak the newly planted rose with water.
- Mound up loose soil around the canes to protect the rose while it acclimates to its new site.
- Some old-timers recommend placing a 4-inch square of gypsum wallboard and a 16-penny nail in the hole to provide calcium and iron, both appreciated by roses.
- Don’t crowd the roses if you plan to plant more than one rose bush. Roses should be planted about two-thirds of the expected height apart. Old garden roses will need more space, while miniature roses can be planted closer.
- Diligently water your roses. Soak the entire root zone at least twice a week in dry summer weather. Avoid frequent shallow sprinklings, which won’t reach the deeper roots and may encourage fungus. In the fall reduce the amount of water, but do not allow roses to completely dry out.
- Roses love water—but don’t drown them. That is, they don’t like to sit in water, and they’ll die if the soil is too wet in winter. The ideal soil is rich and loose, with good drainage. One of the worst mistakes you can make is to not provide adequate drainage.
- Use mulch. To help conserve water, reduce stress, and encourage healthy growth, apply a 2- to 4-inch layer of chopped and shredded leaves, grass clippings, or shredded bark around the base of your roses. Allow about 1 inch of space between the mulch and the base stem of the plant.