There is no putting it off, if you want to know when to plant roses, then the answer is as soon as possible. Whether you are planting for the first time or transplanting you do not want your roses out of the ground any longer than they have to be. This doesn’t mean plant them right after New Year’s Day, just as early as you can without risking a frost.
If you do plant them and incur a frost you will want to cover your roses, mound soil over the base of the plant; build the soil up at least six inches above the bud union. If it gets really cold you may want to wrap burlap or ‘frost threatens’ around the plant to protect it from freezing winds. It also doesn’t mean just run down the local market and grab any rose to stick in the ground.
With careful planning you shouldn’t run into any situation like the one above where you have to scramble to save the rose bush. So take a little time to do some research and find the rose that is the rose for you. Let me detail a few critical dynamics to be aware of before you begin planting.
Beware of Greenhouse Roses
One thing to consider, if you have a rose that was grown in a greenhouse then it most likely isn’t hardened to weather. Plants that have been thriving will prepare themselves for the cold times by a natural hardening or thickening of cell wall. So just be cautious if your plant may be fragile due to its infancy.
We want to do all of our planting and transplanting when the rose is dormant and not producing any leaves or buds. All gardeners have a concern when planting, and that is, ‘will my flowers grow’. To best predict the answer to that question we would have to examine how we prepared for planting. Most every plant that is planned and cared for ahead of time is sure to grow and blossom.
The Climate Is In Control
One of the main indicators of how your plant will survive is the length of the days where you live. Naturally this is because the longer the day the more sunlight you are apt to garner. Since roses require up to six hours of daily, unfiltered sunlight then of course the more sun you get the easier it will be to grow your roses.
I know a lady who kept rose bushes galore when she lived in Southern California but when she moved to the Pacific Northwest she found the lack of sunlight increased her workload so much she was unable to continue with her rose hobby. She did say it could be done; it just takes a lot of work. One of the next factors the show longevity of the plant is the amount of radiation in your area.
This does not get talked about enough, I believe, and can be a problem even if you live in a sunny area. Shade, cloudy days or rainy days will reduce the radiation a plant gets significantly. Radiation is measured in nanometers (nm) if your location can bring in 270- 3000 nanometers your roses will do fine.
It’s Not Just About Being Hot
The range of temperature in your locale will have a lot to do with how successful you are in growing roses. There are plants that will continue flower in a wider range of temperature than others, so you will want to know what your local range of temperature is and select your roses accordingly.
If you live in a climate that frosts unpredictably sooner in the fall or later in the spring then you may want to opt for a rose that has a history of being able to handle a bit of a frost. Some plants can adapt to subfreezing weather and for some it is a sudden ending.
On the other side of that weather map is heat, and some are able to handle more heat than others so look at that aspect too. My mother, who loved to garden, would always advise me that if I was hot, so was the flower.
A Couple More Factors Before You Grab Your Spade
Another factor related to the weather is rainfall. If it rains an awful lot make sure there is enough drainage to avoid flooding in the garden. If you live in a dearth of natural water fall then you will be the cloud supplying the rain. Be sure and pour an inch to two around the roots each week.
I like to keep up with the weather and see how much has been averaging in the last week then water accordingly. I did want to mention your pH level in the soil, when you understand that if your soil is too acidic or too alkaline it will affect your plant’s ability to absorb water and nutrients. So while it may look weak and droopy and you are giving fertilizer, nutrition, proper water, sun, heat and you’ve done everything you can think of, it just doesn’t respond.
Check the soils pH, it may be that your plant just isn’t getting the nutrition it needs. You can get kits from a local garden center.
Be Sure To Wear Gloves
So there you go. Plant your roses as soon as you can, but not before you know exactly what you need to be successful. If you take into consideration the previous tips, take time to know the rose you want and be sure it will cultivate you can rest easy that your rose gardening experience will be successful and bountiful.