When and How To Plant Barefoot Roses Successfully

The best time of the year to plant bare root roses is in Spring, even though it’s cold.

Plant your barefoot rose where it will receive at least 6 hours of sunlight, in acidity oil, where the air can circulate around the rose bush as it grows.

Before planting, soak the root ball in water and root stimulant to give it a head start. Dig your hole and place your rose in the hole to the correct height. compost around the rose after patting down soil and fertilize regularly.

more detailed steps on how to successfully plant your barefoot rose can be found below.

Bare Root Roses Have Many Advantages

Bare root roses is that they are lighter than potted roses, and you can plant them in your garden at the right time in Early Spring. They are susceptible to heat and drying winds so it is best to plant them before the start of the Summer to allow the roots to draw water and make the plant more resilient.

Red Rose

Bare root roses are able to get an advantage over potted roses due to their dormant condition (without any foliage or active growth). You can plant them earlier in spring without worrying about cool weather destroying any active growth. The tolerance to cold weather is much lower for potted roses. A bare root rose can be planted as soon as the ground is accessible and it doesn’t require consistent frost. The rose will begin to grow once the weather is warmer.

How To Plant Your Bare Root Rose 

To give your rose the best chance for successful blooms consider:

  • Sunlight: Plant your rose in an area that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. Shade tolerant roses are rare and don’t produce as many flowers in the shade as roses grown in full sunlight. 
  • Soil: Make sure your soil pH is between 6-7. Roses love slightly acidic soil. It doesn’t matter if you have clay soil or light sandy soil, adding organic matter to your soil is a great idea. You can use garden compost, well-rotted horse manure, and leaf mold to improve the soil structure and provide nutrients to your roses to help them thrive and be healthier.
  • Air Circulation: Find a spot that allows air to circulate, but isn’t subject to strong winds. There is less chance of your rose developing powdery mildew or black spot if there is adequate air circulation. Strong winds can dry out roses and cause potential damage to the blooms.

Now it’s time to plant your rosebuds:

  1. Give the bare root roses a headstart by putting them in a bucket with water and 1 cup root stimulant. This will stimulate root growth. It will allow them to establish themselves in your soil faster, so they are able to absorb water quickly and have greater stability. It will also decrease the likelihood of your rose becoming dry in its early stages.
  2. Dig a hole about 2 ft in diameter and 2 ft deep. Keep the soil on one side. To increase fertility, water retention, and soil structure so that roots can move through the hole easily, partially fill the hole with soil amendments. Leaf mold is a great organic material to retain moisture. This allows roots to draw on this moisture when they come out of dormancy. Add a cup of fertilizer or soil mixture, such as bone meal, to give your rose a great start in life.
  3. The bud union (the connection between the roots and the canes) of the rose should be at least 3 inches below the soil line. To ensure that the bud union is at the correct depth, place a bamboo stick or other straight piece of wood over the hole.
  4. Place your rose in the hole to the correct height. You can add or subtract soil according to your needs. Then fill the hole with soil, leaf mold, or good compost. To give the rose stability, compact the soil around it. Make sure the bud union is not below the ground.
  5. Next, you will need mulch (compost, horse manure, leaf mold) to partially cover the rose canes. This will reduce moisture loss. This is crucial as bare root roses are susceptible to drying out in the first few weeks. Mulch should be placed high around the rose. As new shoots emerge from the canes, you can reduce the amount of mulch around your rose each week. This is done by washing the mulch with a watering can or hose.
  6. After planting, give the rose a good soak twice per week at the base for the first year with four gallons of water. Slowly pour the water into the soil, making sure it reaches the roots.
  7. Fertilize the rose every month after new shoots appear. Too strong fertilizer can cause more harm than good so check the quantity recommended for the product you are using.

Best Time to Plant Your Bare Root Rose 

Bare root roses are more susceptible to summer heat, so make sure they have the opportunity to establish roots and draw water in the Spring by planting them then. This way, the rose won’t dry out in warm weather.

Keep applying mulch to your rose garden during the summer. Keep the weeds at bay and the ground cool, and make sure to keep the earthworms happy and active. The resulting earthworm castings have their nutrients chelated.
It means that it is easily absorbed by the plant.

Healthy roses are more resistant to pests and disease than other plants. you will produce more flowers if you mulch generously to ensure that the soil is well-drained, fertile, and with the right texture.

It is best to wait until the second year for your newly planted bare root rose. It will be in a dormancy state when the rose is planted for the first time, so it may take some time for it to establish itself.

If you are planting roses in clay, sandy, rocky soils, or windy areas, then there are some unique considerations to be aware of because of the unfavorable conditions.

Related: Will Roses Grow Successfully in Clay Soil?

Related: Will Roses Grow Successfully in Sandy Soil?

Related: Can I Grow Roses in Rocky Soil?

Tips for Buying Bare Foot Roses  

Bareroot roses must be in dormancy and have no leaves when they are purchased. Do not purchase roses whose leaves have begun to grow.  The rose will die if the roots are not able to take up enough water and establish themselves before the leaves grow.

Look for roses with at least three strong canes, large buds tightly packed and closed.

Depending on the rose species, the outer layer of the rose cane may be brown or green. You can check if the rose is still alive by lightly scratching the rose skin. The outer layer of cambium should be green. If it is brown, the rose is alive but not dormant.



Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)