Rob D. Brodman

Follow these guidelines to grow great antique roses

Steven R. Lorton  – November 3, 2004 | Updated March 21, 2019

Plant bare-root roses as soon as possible after getting them home. Before setting them in the ground, soak the roots in a bucket of water for four hours or overnight. Amend the soil with compost or other organic matter to make sure it’s rich and well drained.

• Dig a planting hole at least twice as wide as the root system but a bit shallower (this will allow for settling). Roughen sides with a spading fork.

• Make a firm cone of soil in the planting hole, then spread roots over it. Position the rose so the bud union (the thickened part toward the bottom of the stem) is above surrounding soil; measure the level by laying a shovel handle across the hole.

• Pack the backfill soil around the roots as you hold the plant upright. When backfilling is almost complete, water to settle the soil around the roots. If the plant sinks too low, pump it up and down while the soil is saturated to bring it to the proper level. Finish filling the hole with soil, then water again.

• Water during the growing season when the top 2 inches of soil is dry.

• Scatter a complete granular fertilizer (such as a 12-12-12 formulation) around the base of plants in spring and midsummer