When to plant roses

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Wondering when to plant roses? There are a few things that can affect the timing.

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 allows the roots to become well-established in the soil before the heat of the following summer. While fall or spring planting is optimal, roses can be planted any time of year as long as the soil is workable (not frozen).

Read on to learn all about when to plant roses!

When to plant 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

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 most roses are now sold growing on their own root systems (own-root roses), as opposed to grafted or budded roses, there are still some nurseries that offer grafted roses. 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.

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, it’s usually best to wait until fall to plant roses. 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.

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 heat of the next summer arrives. The soil is also very warm in the early fall and welcoming to plant root growth.

If you live in an area with very cold winters, it’s best to plant in early fall or wait until spring to plant roses. In these regions, the ground freezes solid and the roots will not be able to establish themselves prior to freezing.

Best time to plant roses: The bottom line

The best time to plant roses is in early fall or early spring. However, roses can be planted any time of year as long as the soil is workable (not frozen). Keep in mind that newly planted roses will need extra water. Watering frequently is most important during the first month after planting.

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Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a Master Gardener and founder of the gardening website Home for the Harvest. She has been featured by Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, Mother Earth News, and the National Garden Bureau. Mary Jane lives with her family in the Okanagan Valley.