Autumn is a wonderful season, day temperatures have dropped and the nights are cool, ideal conditions for perfect roses. These conditions allow for the buds to develop and produce the best flowers of the whole year. So this is a good time to visit gardens and take a note of the roses which appeal to you. Select the plants which not only produce fine blooms but are also strong, healthy and robust. Order plants early from your favourite rose nursery to avoid disappointment as supplies do run out.

New rose plants appear in the chain stores too early in the season. It is wise to purchase from a rose nursery as their plants have been lifted in cooler weather and have not suffered a stressful time caused by early digging.

Rose plants are usually posted to your door if you have pre-ordered from a nursery. They are wrapped and sealed in plastic so there is little or no dehydration. When unwrapping your parcel, check that there are no damaged roots as these can be cut away. Top growth should be shortened to a sound growing eye. Then set about planting or heeling them into the ground.

Roses are so easy to plant, but follow these steps:

  • Dig a hole 300 mm square
  • Mound up the base of the hole to form a pinnacle in the centre
  • Place the new plant in the hole spreading the roots evenly around the mound. Care should be taken to ensure that the bud union is level with the surface of the rose bed. When plants are planted too high they are easily blown about after they begin to grow and develop
  • Half fill the hole with soil and press it down firmly.
  • Half fill the hole with water.
  • When the water has subsided, fill the hole with soil and firm down.
  • No fertilizer should be applied when planting although a soil conditioner such as the recommended Neutrog Seamungus can be mixed with the planting soil.
  • Remember to label your roses.

Climbing roses are planted in the same way. Standard roses are planted in a similar way but tied to a wooden stake for support.

  • The hole should be dug and the soil sloped from one side of the hole. The stake (25 mm x 25 mm) should be driven in on the high side so that the top of the stake is just below the top of the bud union of the plant when in the ground.
  • The roots should be spread away from the stake and then follow the same procedure as for bush roses.
  • One tie in a figure of eight is used to hold the plant to the stake. This should be just below the bud union.

Bare root roses can be planted until the end of July or early August. Those later planted roses will have to be carefully tended as the feeding roots will not have fully developed before the soil dries out. If you miss out on the winter planting, roses can be planted from containers but it is wise to wait until the new roots have grown enough to hold the soil in the pot which may not be until October or November.

So the moral is……….get in early and order to avoid disappointment.

By Walter Duncan