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When to plant roses

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The best time to plant roses is in the spring or fall. Spring planting is most common due to the availability of container plants at garden centers and shipping times for bare-root roses. Planting in autumn is optimal as it allows the roots to become well-established in the soil before the following summer’s heat. While fall or spring planting is optimal, roses can be planted any time of year as long as the soil is workable (not frozen).

Planting a roses

The best time to plant roses

While roses can be successfully planted outdoors at any time of year, the best time to plant them is during the mild shoulder seasons of spring and fall. Planting in autumn is generally considered the best time to plant roses, with early spring as a close second.

Some types of roses, including those sold as bare-root roses, may only be available in early spring. Planting when temperatures are mild allows for the roots to grow and establish themselves in the soil before dry conditions arrive in the summertime.

“There are two great times to plant roses: spring and fall. Spring has always been the traditional planting time because the soil is warming up and plants grow quickly and become established before the summer’s heat wave comes. But an increasing number of gardening experts are also recommending fall planting.”

Everyday Roses, by Paul Zimmerman
Newly planted rose

Planting roses in the spring

Roses are most commonly planted in the spring. In the springtime, roses are well-stocked at garden centers. These container plants are easy to pop into the garden. Bare root rose plants also ship in early spring for planting as soon as received.

Container roses can be planted at any time during the spring. It’s usually best to plant them immediately, but they can live in their pots for many months if you can’t get to them. Just be sure to keep them well-watered.

While spring is most common for rose planting, the soil is generally still quite cold from wintertime, and the roots can be slow to establish themselves. Keep the plant well-watered, especially if summer temperatures arrive early.

While many roses are now sold growing on their own root systems (own-root roses) instead of grafted or budded roses, there are still many grafted roses on the market. Grafted roses are usually planted in the spring rather than the fall as they are more susceptible to winter damage during their first winter in the ground in cold climates.

Peace roses

Planting roses in the summer

Roses can be planted in the summer, especially in areas that aren’t overly hot and dry. If you’re planting roses in summer, the best time to do so is early in the season before dry conditions arrive or after the hottest days of summer have passed. Avoid planting roses in the summer if there is a heatwave or dry spell in the weather forecast.

If you live in a very hot and dry climate, waiting until fall to plant roses is usually best. In these regions, summertime temperatures can be too warm for newly planted roses, and they may struggle or even die. Keep the rose in its planter pot in a sheltered location out of the afternoon sun. Be sure to water it often and wait until cooler fall temperatures arrive to plant it.

White knock out rose plants

Planting roses in the fall

Fall is often the best time to plant potted roses in the ground. The roots can become established in the soil quite a while before the next summer’s heat arrives. The soil is also very warm in the early fall and welcoming to plant root growth.

It’s best to plant roses in early fall or wait until spring if you live in an area with very cold winters. The ground freezes solid in these regions, and the roots cannot establish themselves before freezing.

Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a quintessential Canadian gardener. An engineer by trade, she tends to an ever-expanding collection of plants. In her world, laughter blooms as freely as her flowers, and every plant is raised with a dash of Canadian grit.

Mary Jane is a certified Master Gardener and also holds a Permaculture Design Certificate. She's also a proud mom of three, teaching her little sprouts the crucial difference between a garden friend and foe.

When she's not playing in the dirt, Mary Jane revels in her love for Taylor Swift, Gilmore Girls, ice hockey, and the surprisingly soothing sounds of bluegrass covers of classic hip-hop songs. She invites you to join her garden party, a place where you can share in the joy of growing and where every day is a new opportunity to find the perfect spot for yet another plant.

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