Bare Root Rose

Winter is a great time for planting. Getting plants in the ground at this time of year gives roses plenty of time to establish before the hot summer and the long awaited bare rooted plants are available. During winter, rose that have been field grown are dug up when they’re dormant, and sold, ready for planting. Bare-rooted roses are only available in winter – June, July and August. With so many new varieties of bare root rose available, there is no excuse not to get planting.

See Heynes list for varieties of Rose.

When selecting a bare rooted plant, try to ensure there is no obvious physical damage and look for a good, even structure and also look for good strong graft. Don’t leave the rose sitting round for extended period of time, and remember the roots of these plants need to stay moist from the point when dug out of the ground until planting time. If not planting straight away make sure to keep them moist, not wet.It is most important to NEVER allow the roots to become dry. In Australian bare root rose should be planted over the June to September months and should be in the ground by the time rose bring to “shoot”.



Roses like to be planted in a sunny, open aspect and the soil needs to have good drainage. So select a location where they’ll receive at least six hours of sun and have good drainage.


At planting time it is recommend to prune, because when the rose are dug, the roots are pruned, and for a balanced tree the tops should be pruned to balance the root size. Prune new roses back by one-third in an even manner to an outwards facing bud, make cuts on a sight angle, and use clean secateurs.  Also remove any dead or broken wood.


Dig a hole around twice as wide as the root ball. To allow the rose roots to spread the inside of the hole should have nice, rough edges, to ensure the effective movement of water and air. Thoroughly mix the soil from the hole with plenty of gypsum and some SA compost, then put a good shovel of gypsum into the bottom of the hole and fork in through.


Unpack the bare root rose, remove all packing materials, and carefully untangle the roots. If in sawdust carefully remove most of it. Before planting remove any diseased, or damaged roots.  

Set the rose in the hole and spread the roots out in a natural position. It can help to mound a pile of soil at the base to support the root system. Position the rose so the bud union is above the soil level, its best to plant the rose at the same level as when it was originally in the ground. Back fill the hole, lightly firm the soil, make a well around the base and water in. Also it’s very important to stake standard roses.


Water as needed however do not overwater. Now that bare root roses are in the ground it is important to remember that over watering and mulching roses at this early time will set them back. The soil around the rose should be kept moist but not soggy.

Consistent watering is important in the dry months (summer). Before watering, check the soil if it’s damp, it will be fine.

No need to fertilise until the rose starts growing in spring. (If you feel inclined to, add a small amount of fertilise at time of planting). When summer arrives it is recommend to mulch.