Planting Roses

Planting Roses

Roses make a beautiful addition to your landscape; they add color and elegance year after year. All you need for success with your roses is a little bit of knowledge when it comes to variety, planting, watering, feeding and pruning. Here we have created a guide to help you, but you can always give us a call or come in and talk to us about your gardening questions!


When choosing a rose, consider the variety. Certain kinds of roses are better at naturally fighting disease than others, so be choosy to avoid wasting time and money. Here at Dambly’s we strive to offer you the best roses available, ones that have been tested  for their resilience against disease. Look for the Knockout® and Hasslefree® branded roses as a sign of quality. The Knockout® Rose is a great choice for continuous summer color. As far as rose bushes go, they are low maintenance and are known for their resistance to black spot leaf disease. They make an excellent low hedge or accent. The Hasslefree® collection includes several varieties including Climbers, Floribunda, Hybrid Tea, and Grandiflora.

Besides traditional varieties for a typical rose garden, consider Miniature Roses for a border, Climbing Roses for a fence or arbor, and Carpet Roses for a ground cover.


Although roses can thrive in many conditions, they grow best when planted in an area with good drainage and adequate sunlight. They do well with soil moisture but avoid wet foliage. If leaf surfaces remain wet throughout the day fungi can germinate which may cause dark spots and/or powdery mildew. This will not kill the plant, but it can eventually cause the leaves to drop. When planting, dig a large hole and add about 50% of a soil amendment like Bumper Crop® (a conditioner that adds Mycorrhizae, Worm Castings, Kelp Meal and Dehydrated Poultry Manure). Carefully remove the pot and loosen the dense roots. When planting you can use a root enhancer (Like Garden Elements or Bonide Plant Starter or BioRoot) to help reduce transplant shock and stimulate new root growth. Thoroughly water your rose after planting and top dress with up two inches of fresh mulch, but leave some room at the base of the plant for it to breathe.

Feeding and Watering

Roses perform best when they are fed monthly. We recommend using Espoma Rose-tone. The organics in Rose-tone breakdown gradually providing a safe, long lasting food reservoir activated throughout the growing season. Most rose fertilizers contain three nutrients--nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N-P-K), which are all very important; Rose-tone includes 12 more micronutrients (including iron, calcium and magnesium). You will notice a big difference when you regularly feed your roses, because they will show bigger, better and more abundant blooms, plus they will look healthier since they will be able to fight disease more efficiently!

In your beds spread 6 pounds of Rose-tone per 100 square feet, or for an individual rose use 1 ¼ cups per plant. Sprinkle the granular food around each plant out to the widest branch, then scratch the food into the top 1” of soil, and then water. (If you are planting new roses add a mixture of peat moss and 3 cups of Rose-tone to the planting hole). Feed monthly from early spring to mid-September to keep them blooming throughout the season!

Roses need watering all throughout the gardening season. You can use a trickle irrigation system or a soaker hose, just keep in mind that it is best to provide water to the root system only to avoid blackspot and powdery mildew caused by prolonged wet foliage. If you use an overhead watering system plan to water in the early morning so that the leaves will have plenty of time to dry before the evening.


In the spring you can prune out all the dead wood and cut back to the sound wood with a clean, slanting cut. Throughout the season remove fading roses by cutting them just above a leaf grouping. For climbing roses you should only have to cut back the dead wood the first year.


Debbie Webster
Debbie Webster