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Rose care tip: try to use natural fertilizers and collect your own leaves for fall mulching.

Planting Guide

Thank you for your interest in hardy roses! As of April 2018 we are not selling or shipping roses until further notice. This planting guide is a reference for hardy, cold-climate rose care.

Any loamy soil that grows good grass will grow roses well, but some soils may need some additions to grow roses. This job is a one-time effort, and careful preparation will pay off. The ideal soil holds water well, but is well drained (roses want to have a constant supply of moisture, but soggy conditions will prevent air from getting to the roots and they will rot). If you pick up a handful of soil and squeeze, when you open your hand it should crumble a little. If it sticks in a solid ball, it has too much clay for drainage. If it falls apart or sifts through your fingers, it is too sandy. Here’s what you can try:

Planting pit preparation:
You need a well-prepared pit for planting roses, not a bed, so this makes the job easier. You can simply mulch (with biodegradable materials like newspaper and something to cover it) to kill weeds and grass in between. Roots, tops and flowers need to grow in that order. You are building a plant that grows more and more beautiful every year (like fruit trees). It is important not to use strong inorganic fertilizer when planting because it will push the tops to grow before the roots are established. You don’t want much nitrogen the first year, as it will develop tops too tender to survive the winter.

Handling repotted plants:

If your rose has been in its pot for less than two months, it can remain in the pot in partial sun/shade with frequent watering, or you can dig a hole and place the pot in the ground. This will keep the roots cool. If planting in the ground during summer, try to choose a cooler, overcast day. Pull the pot and rose out of the hole, remove the pot and replace the rose, water and mulch as above.

Prune in spring, only cutting dead or weak stems and gently shaping. Don't cut too much, as that will remove the strength of the plant.
Prune once right after blooming, but don’t deadhead.
Prune repeat-bloomers in spring.
Fertilize as you wish, but don’t push it. Organic is best.
Prune and deadhead repeat bloomers.
Stop deadheading and fertilizing in early August to allow plants to go dormant.

Seal pruning cuts with white glue to keep insects and disease out of the exposed tissue.

Follow specific winter-care instructions for each rose. Climbers and ramblers benefit from being bent down and covered with leaves in the fall. See "Winter Care" in the Glossary.