Planting Rose Bushes In The Fall

Planting Rose Bushes In The Fall

By: Heather Rhoades

The general rule of thumb says that fall is an excellent time to plant new flowers in your garden, but when it comes to the delicate nature of roses, this may not be the ideal time when to plant roses. Whether you should be planting rose bushes in the fall depends on several factors. Let’s take a look at these factors.

Bare Root Roses or Container Roses

The first thing to consider is what kind of packaging your roses are in. If your roses come as bare-root plants, you should not be planting your rose bushes in the fall. Bare-root plants take longer to establish themselves and will most likely not survive the winter if planted in the fall. Container packaged roses establish themselves much more quickly and can be planted in the fall.

Winter Temperatures Affect When to Plant Roses

Another factor in deciding when to plant roses is what your lowest average winter temperature is. If the winter temperature in your area drops down to -10 F. (-23 C.) or lower on average, then wait until spring for planting rose bushes. The rose plants will not have enough time to establish themselves before the ground freezes.

Leave Enough Time to Time to First Frost When Planting Roses

Make sure that there is at least one month before your first frost date if you will be planting rose bushes. This will ensure that there is enough time for the roses to establish themselves. While it does take longer than a month for a rose bush to become established, the roots of a rose bush will continue to grow after the first frost.

What you are really looking for is the time when the ground freezes. This normally occurs a few months after your first frost (in areas where the ground freezes). The first frost date is just the easiest way to calculate when to plant roses with the ground freeze in mind.

How to Plant Roses in the Fall

If you have determined that fall is a good time for you to be planting rose bushes, there are a few things you should keep in mind about how to plant roses in the fall.

  • Do not fertilize – Fertilizing may weaken a rose plant and it needs to be as strong as possible to survive the coming winter.
  • Mulch heavily – Add an extra thick layer of mulch over the roots of your newly planted rose. This will help keep the ground from freezing just a little bit longer and give your rose just a little bit more time to establish.
  • Do not prune – A fall-planted rose bush has enough to contend with without having to deal with open wounds. Do not prune roses after you have planted them in the fall. Wait until spring.
  • Plant only dormant – One of the top things to remember when considering how to plant roses in the fall is that you should only be planting dormant roses (without leaves). Transplanting active roses or planting rose bushes that come from the nursery in active growth will not work as well when planting in the fall.

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Choose the Right Roses

Not all roses will work well when planted in pots. For example, unless you put it against a trellis or provide some other type of support, a climbing rose is a poor choice, as it will sprawl out everywhere. Likewise, grandiflora roses tend to be on the taller side with large blooms, and they can be prone to tipping or blowing over when planted in containers. Shrub roses, species roses, and older rose cultivars reach dimensions that make it difficult to grow in a contained space, as well. It's also best to leave the hybrid tea roses to your garden, as they do not usually grow well in pots.

However, there are four types of roses that are especially suitable for containers:

  • Ground cover: These stay low and look lovely when they spill over the edges of a container. Depending on the size of your pot and the variety of ground-cover rose, it may also be possible to use it as a border around a larger plant.
  • Miniature: These types of roses have been cultivated to stay on the small side, so they are naturally well suited to growing in containers.
  • Patio: If you want a rose that is larger than a miniature rose but not as big as a standard rose, try a patio rose. This is a type of floribunda, bred to a smaller scale.
  • Polyantha: This type bears clusters of small roses on a shorter plant. Check the tag to make sure you are not purchasing a climbing type of polyantha.

Choose and Prepare Containers

Choose a relatively large, tall pot when growing a rose bush. Many experts recommend a pot no less than 15 inches in diameter. Roses send down deep roots, so the taller the container, the better. The soil in pots heats up faster than garden soil, so clay pots are generally better than plastic since clay is slower to transfer heat from the sun into the soil. If you must use plastic pots, use lighter colored plastic, which won't heat up as fast as dark plastic. Make sure the pots have ample drainage holes in the bottom. Place a layer of gravel or medium-sized rock about 1 inch deep in the bottom of the container.

Prepare the Potting Soil

There is a delicate balance to be maintained when you are planting roses (or any other plant) in containers. Use a potting medium that drains well enough to diminish the likelihood of root rot while being heavy enough to hold moisture. A planting medium that drains too fast will dry out before the roots can take up moisture, and soil that is too heavy in organic material can become soggy, fostering rot.

Create a potting soil mixture consisting of one-third quality commercial potting soil, one-third garden compost, and one-third composted manure. Add a cup of perlite to enhance drainage. Add 1 cup of bonemeal to the soil mixture. If you wish, you can also add fishmeal or blood meal for added nutrients.

Plant the Rose

Fill the pot about two-thirds full of prepared soil mix. If planting a bare root rose, mound the soil up in the center, then place the rose over the mound and spread the roots out over it. If planting a potted rose, just create a slight indentation, then remove the rose from its nursery container and place it into the pot. Fill in around the rose using the remaining potting soil, pressing it down firmly around the lower canes. The soil surface should be level with the bud union—the point where the rose is grafted to the rootstock. Fill the container right to the top with soil it will settle with time.

Place your potted roses in a location that gets at least seven hours of direct sun each day. On patios and decks, this may mean moving the pots around over the course of the day to keep them in the sun. If you are growing groups of potted roses, keep them spaced at least 2 feet apart to ensure good air circulation.

Water Thoughtfully

Immediately after planting, water the plant thoroughly so that all the soil is well saturated. After planting, keep an eye on your roses so you know when to water. A good general rule of thumb is to water when the top of the soil surface is dry. Keep potted roses in soil that is moist, not wet—ideally, the soil should have the dampness of a wrung-out sponge.

  • You will have more success if you do not water between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. This is typically the hottest part of the day, and evaporation is accelerated during this time.
  • As much as possible, try to keep water off the leaves. Wet leaves can lead to powdery mildew and other fungal infections and plant diseases.
  • Drip irrigation can be a great way to keep your container roses happy. These systems are designed to deliver the water directly to the root zone instead of spraying the foliage.

When you place a rose within a finite amount of soil in a pot, it can quickly use up all of the nutrients available. Roses are heavy feeders in any situation, but when grown in pots they require more frequent feeding than when planted in the garden.

Apply a balanced fertilizer designed for roses every other week to make sure that your plants have access to all of the food they need for proper growth and vigorous blooming. Any balanced fertilizer works fine for roses those marketed as "rose fertilizers" or "systemic rose care" may have additional ingredients aimed at preventing fungal diseases or pests. In spring, some growers spread a tablespoon of epsom salts around the base of the plant, which provides magnesium for healthy foliage.

Follow the fertilizer directions carefully, as over-fertilizing can be as bad or worse than not feeding at all. Apply fertilizer to the soil and not the leaves (unless the directions instruct you to do so) because foliage can be burned by the salts in fertilizers.

You should stop fertilizing about eights weeks before the expected first winter frost. This will prevent the plant from developing tender young shoots that will be destroyed by the frost.

Repot Every Few Years

Except for miniature roses, most roses grown in pots need to be repotted every two or three years, since they are heavy feeders that quickly exhaust potting soils. Using freshly prepared potting soil each time you repot will keep the nutrient levels at an acceptable level. Over time, salts and minerals from fertilizers can also accumulate in the soil. This can potentially damage the rose, but changing the soil regularly should prevent that. Exhausted potting soil can be added to the compost bin.

Protect From Freezing Temperature

Every fall, gardeners in cooler zones need a strategy for protecting their container roses from the ravages of winter. Plants in pots get much colder than those in the ground, so this is a very important step. For roses to survive the winter in pots, they should be rated at least two USDA hardiness zones colder than the one you live in. For example, if you are in zone 6, grow potted roses rated for zone 4.

To protect your potted rose, you have several options:

  • Mulch the base: If the winter weather is just a little chillier than your plant is rated for, you can add some mulch to the top of the container and mound it around the pot to add insulation. However, be sure to keep the mulch away from the plant itself. If wet materials are constantly touching the trunk or branches, it greatly increases the chances that insects or diseases will attack your rose.
  • Bury it: If you have space, another option is to dig a hole in your landscape and place the entire container inside. Cover the soil at the top of the container with garden soil, but make sure the soil doesn't touch the crown (where the plant meets the roots). Gardeners in very cold climates sometimes build insulating structures out of chicken wire and straw or dried leaves to insulate the above-ground canes of their roses through the winter. Though this is not a very attractive technique, it can help your roses survive through the harshest winter climates.
  • Build a cold frame: Even though they are unheated, structures such as a cold frame or sturdy hoop house can raise winter temperatures enough to prevent winter from damaging your potted roses. This generally works in moderately cold climates, but not in areas with the most severe winters.
  • Bring it inside: If you have room, and windows that provide enough sun, your rose may enjoy spending winters inside your garage or home. As you switch locations, harden the plant off to help it gradually acclimate to the new environment.

Address Pests and Diseases

Potted roses are susceptible to many of the same pests and diseases that can plague roses planted in the garden.

The most common insect that you will find on your roses is the aphid. Aphids usually congregate on the buds and leaves where they suck out juices, making the affected parts wither. When you first spot aphids, use a hose to spray them off the plant. Do this in the morning so the rose has time to dry off before temperatures drop, which can promote fungal diseases and rot. Or, you can also pick the aphids off by hand, though this can be a tedious task if the plant is badly infested with the tiny insects.

Potted roses are susceptible to a variety of fungal diseases, including powdery mildew and black spot. While there are fungicides that can treat fungal diseases on roses, the best strategy is preventive—to makes sure the roses have good air circulation, which reduces the chances of fungal infection.

Growing Rose Bushes

Years ago, roses seemed as if they were easy to grow when, in fact, the varieties of the time were quite finicky. Many gardeners became frustrated and gave up on the idea of trying to develop a rose garden. Fortunately, there is a new generation of rose varieties that are easy for any gardener to grow.

How Many Rose Varieties are There?

There are so many different varieties of rose bushes that many beginners have a hard time deciding which ones are best for their yard. You can find everything from knock out roses, hybrid tea roses, and climbing roses to shrub roses and groundcover roses, and then there are bare-root roses and container roses. It makes you dizzy while trying to figure out the differences.

There are over 150 different rose species, with countless hybrids. They are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, and almost any color imaginable, including multi-colored and two-toned types. Not only do they come in many different visual forms, but they also have a variety of different fragrances, from floral to candy scents.

Which Types of Roses Should I Plant in My Yard?

If you are a beginning rose gardener, the key is to pick disease resistant varieties that are low-maintenance. These types are the easiest roses to grow and do not get fungal diseases and powdery mildew like many of the more delicate varieties.

Hardy species such as the climbing rose or shrub is the best type to start with if you are new to gardening. These roses are hard to kill, easy to care for and grow on their own root. Knock out bushes and home run roses are a great starting rose and grow well in most climate and soil conditions.

Where Should I Plant Roses?

Roses desire fertile, well-drained soil and require six to eight hours of sunlight every day. While they do enjoy the sunshine, they can’t tolerate afternoon sun in, especially hot climates. If you live in a colder climate, plant your roses next to a west or south-facing fence or wall to protect them from freeze damage in the winter months.

How Do I Maintain My Rose Bushes?

Rose care is relatively simple when you get right down to it. Roses require consistent watering during the growing period. Water the roses at the base of the shrub to prevent wetting the leaves and prevent black spot and mildew growth. Place mulch around the base of the bush to prevent the soil from drying out and eliminate weeds.

Prune broken or damaged branches to keep the bush healthy and deadhead blooms to encourage more growth. Fertilize the roses regularly with organic methods or slow-release fertilizers.

Remove garden pests, such as aphids, as soon as you notice them. The best way to deal with aphids on rose bushes is to blast them with water from the hose or to pick them off by hand. If you find unwanted bugs other than aphids, make up a neem oil for roses solution to eliminate them without using harsh, expensive chemicals.

Add coffee grounds for the garden and your roses to lower the soil’s pH levels and attract worms that keep the soil loose so the roots have room to spread. It’s a great way to recycle those grounds that would otherwise end up in the trash.

Beach Rose (Rosa rugosa)


Also known as the Japanese rose and dog rose, the beach rose gets its name because it tolerates salt, poor soil, drought, and high winds. This hardy rose flowers in shades that range from bright rose colors to white and bluish-pink, and it blooms from spring through fall.

The beach rose has suckering roots that keep it anchored and helps in preventing soil erosion from wind and rain. This bush is extremely low maintenance and requires no fertilization or mulch and thrives in zones 2 through 9.

English Rose (rosa) – Rose Bush with Highly Fragrant Blooms


This rose plant is a cross between old-fashioned and modern roses with sweet fragrant blossoms. English roses flower in colors that range from purple, red, and orange to white, pink, and yellow, depending on the type, and they bloom from spring through fall.

This low maintenance bush reaches a mature height of 3 to 20 feet with a spread of 2 to 5 feet, depending on the variety. It thrives in zones 4 through 9 and prefers partial to full sun.

Damask Rose (Rosa × Damascena)


This particular rose variety only blooms once, except for a few types that rebloom in autumn. While it is a shrub, it does have creeping or climbing habits and produces fragrant blooms of light pink and red in many shapes and sizes.

The damask rose grows to a mature height of 7 feet tall with a spread of 4 feet wide. It thrives best in sunny locations in zones 4 through 9 and requires regular fertilizing to ensure optimal plant health.

Double Knock Out Rose (Rosa ‘Double Knock Out’) – Easy to Grow Rose Bushes that are Self-Cleaning


The double knock out rose bush produces cherry-red blossoms with one to five flowers per cluster. It blooms continuously from spring through fall, making it one of the best reblooming shrubs for summer interest. Prune annually to control growth and remove crossed branches.

Since they are self-cleaning, double knock out roses do not need deadheading, so there is less work for you. These shrubs enjoy full sun and thrive in zones 5 through 10. It has a mature height and spread of up to 5 feet and is not susceptible to insects and diseases.

Mister Lincoln Rose (Rosa ‘Mister Lincoln’)


This hybrid tea rose has dark, red flowers that average five inches in diameter with 35 to 40 petals per bloom. It is a tall and proud looking rose with a strong damask scent, and its tall stems make it the perfect cut flower for the home.

The Mister Lincoln rose is a very hardy grower, but it is susceptible to blackspot. It thrives in zones 7 through 10 and requires a great deal of sunshine. Depending on the growing conditions and pruning, it reaches a height of 3 to 7 feet with a spread of up to 2 feet.

Eden Rose (Rosa ‘eden’) – Easy Growing Climbing Rose


This elegant, old-fashioned bush produces double blooms with over 100 petals that are over four inches in diameter. The flowers range in pastel shades of cream, yellow, and pink with an abundance of foliage, making it a great choice as a vibrant privacy fence.

This hardy climbing rose is deer and disease resistant and grows best in zones 5 through 10. It is a restrained climber that is ideal for small yards and trains easily on fences and walls.

Queen Elizabeth Rose (Rosa ‘Queen Elizabeth’)


This hybrid tea rose blooms with four-inch flowers that have up to 40 petals each. The repeat blooms form in small clusters of pink flowers with a subtle fragrance.

The Queen Elizabeth rose is very resistant to disease and is a vigorous grower, reaching a height of 5 to 10 feet with a spread of 3 feet. It thrives in full sun, grows best in zones 5 through 9, and prefers well-drained soil.

Ghislaine de Feligonde (Rosa ‘Ghislaine de Feligonde’) – Constant Blooming Rambling Rose


The Ghislaine de Feligonde rose is a popular David Austin rose that is an almost thornless rambler. It produces flowers that start with pale, apricot blooms with a yellow base that fade to pink and white. The flowers are repeat bloomers with a sweet, musky fragrance.

This disease-resistant plant reaches a height and width of 6 to 10 feet and thrives in rich, fertile soil. It grows best in zones 6 through 8 and requires fertilization in early spring or late winter.

Austrian Briar (Rosa foetida)


This upright rose shrub has arching stems of pale-green foliage that produces single, cupped orange and yellow flowers that are followed by round, red rose hips. The blooms are highly fragrant and long-lasting.

Austrian briar rose shrubs thrive in zones 3 through 9 and prefer sandy and clay loam soil. They grow to an average height and width of 2 to 5 feet and are deer resistant. This plant requires full sun to prevent leaf loss and a leggy appearance.

Gertrude Jekyll Rose (Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’) – English Shrub Rose with a Rich Fragrance


This English rose produces large double blooms of cupped, deep pink flowers with infolded petals. The scented blossoms vary in size from half an inch up to six inches and rise from grayish-green foliage.

This rose shrub thrives in sunny locations of zones 5 through 9 and blooms from mid-spring to mid-fall. The English rose grows to a height of 5 feet with a spread of 3 feet and is deer resistant. It prefers moist and well-drained soil and requires pruning for optimal health.

Cabbage Rose (Rosa × centifolia)


Cabbage roses produce large, full blooms with a wonderful fragrance and are an old-time favorite among gardeners, in spite of being a thorny shrub. The flowers are thick and multi-petaled and range in colors from dark pink to lavender. The stems have thick, heavy thorns, so beware while planting or working with these beautiful plants.

These roses are hardy in zones 5 through 11 and require well-drained soil with proper ventilation to prevent disease. Cabbage roses grow to a height and width of 4 feet and require pruning at the end of the growing season.

Hybrid Tea Rose (R. x hybrida) – Ideal Roses for Cut Flowers


Hybrid tea roses have the iconic petaled blooms and bud shape and are standard for cut flowers. While they are a bit more finicky than many other rose types, they are easy to grow once you get the knack of it. They produce a wide range of fragrant, colorful blooms throughout the summer months.

The tea rose grows best in zones 5 through 9 and is low maintenance. They reach a height of 3 to 8 feet with a width of 2 to 3 feet and produce upright branches with one bud per stem.

Grandiflora Rose (Rosa)


The Grandiflora rose is a cross between the hybrid tea and floribunda rose. It has high-centered, showy blooms that are similar to the hybrid tea yet sports multiple blooms per stem. The summer-time, fragrant flowers range from purple, red, orange, and white, to pink and yellow.

Grandiflora roses thrive in zones 4 through 9 and make a good choice for use as a cut flower. Depending on the variety, this rose reaches a height of 1 to 8 feet and a width of up to 3 feet.

Floribunda Rose (Rosa) – Bush that Produces Clusters of Fragrant Flowers


These rose bushes produce an abundance of blooms on every branch. It is a hardy shrub that free-flowers with fragrant roses in shades of blue, red, white, and pink. It is a good candidate for privacy, containers, and erosion control.

Floribunda roses require very little spring pruning and grow to a height of 1 to 8 feet, with a width of up to 6 feet, depending on the type. They thrive in hardiness zones 4 through 9 and are low maintenance.

Back in the day, having a yard filled with rose bushes was a task best left to expert gardeners, and the envy of the neighborhood. Nowadays, there are so many new roses that are not only disease-resistant and low maintenance, but also fill your garden with continuous blooms in a vast array of colors and fragrances.


We hope you enjoyed discovering how to fill your garden with rose blooms by planting easy to grow rose bushes, and we’d love it if you’d share our rose growing tips and plants with your family on Pinterest and Facebook.

How to Trim Rose Bushes in Fall

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Rose bushes are beautiful plants that usually produce flowers in the spring. As fall begins, rose bushes usually close up and stop blooming. To maintain the health of your plant, try to cut it down by about ⅓, make your cuts at a 45 degree angle, and cut off any dead or diseased branches that can cause trouble for your plant as the weather gets colder.

u00a9 2021 wikiHow, Inc. All rights reserved. wikiHow, Inc. is the copyright holder of this image under U.S. and international copyright laws. This image is not licensed under the Creative Commons license applied to text content and some other images posted to the wikiHow website. This image may not be used by other entities without the express written consent of wikiHow, Inc.

u00a9 2021 wikiHow, Inc. All rights reserved. wikiHow, Inc. is the copyright holder of this image under U.S. and international copyright laws. This image is not licensed under the Creative Commons license applied to text content and some other images posted to the wikiHow website. This image may not be used by other entities without the express written consent of wikiHow, Inc.

u00a9 2021 wikiHow, Inc. All rights reserved. wikiHow, Inc. is the copyright holder of this image under U.S. and international copyright laws. This image is not licensed under the Creative Commons license applied to text content and some other images posted to the wikiHow website. This image may not be used by other entities without the express written consent of wikiHow, Inc.

u00a9 2021 wikiHow, Inc. All rights reserved. wikiHow, Inc. is the copyright holder of this image under U.S. and international copyright laws. This image is not licensed under the Creative Commons license applied to text content and some other images posted to the wikiHow website. This image may not be used by other entities without the express written consent of wikiHow, Inc.

Warning: If your rose bush has any mildew or fungus, which normally looks like white spots on the branches of the bush, you should sterilize your pruners in between each cut. If it doesn’t, you can use your pruners on multiple bushes without sterilizing them.

Rose of Sharon Varieties

Popular rose of Sharon varieties include the following:

'Blue Satin' Rose of Sharon

'Blue Satin' Rose of Sharon is a hard-to-find, nearly true-blue color.

Photo by: Image courtesy of Proven Winners

Image courtesy of Proven Winners

'Blue Satin' Rose of Sharon is a hard-to-find, nearly true-blue color.

‘Lil' Kim' is a dwarf rose of Sharon with red, purple or white blooms. It matures at 3 to 4 feet tall and wide. The leaves are small, so you see a lot of colorful blooms as opposed to foliage. The flowers often last up to three days, while most rose of Sharon blooms fade after just one day.

‘Purple Pillar' rose of Sharon is a beauty with semi-double, purple-pink flowers with red throats. It tops out at 10 to 16 feet tall but only grows 2 to 3 feet across, so it's a good choice for narrow spaces.

Plants in the Chiffon line, like 'Blue Chiffon,' have large blooms that look like anemone flowers. These bushy shrubs grow vigorously and are hardy in Zones 5 to 9. 'Blue Chiffon' rose of Sharon is violet-blue with inner petals around the stamens, giving it a frilly look. It matures at 8 to 12 feet tall.

'Lavender Chiffon' rose of Sharon is striking with its semi-double, light purple petals marked with red veins. It grows 8 to 10 feet tall, so it can be used as a small tree just leave the central leader and remove the other branches.

'White Chiffon' rose of Sharon is a fine choice for a moon garden, where its pure white blooms, when planted with other light-colored flowers and foliage, will reflect the moonlight. It matures at 6 to 8 feet tall.

‘Blue Satin' Chiffon has nearly true-blue petals set off by yellow stamens and splashes of red in the flowers' throats. This nearly seedless variety is sometimes sold as 'Azurri Blue Satin' and reaches 8 to 12 feet in height.

Watch the video: The Garden Gurus - Growing Roses