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How To Plant a Rose Bush

by Stark Bro's on 05/06/2014
Pink Double Knock Out® Roses

Traditionally, roses are symbolic of beauty and love. Rose bushes are attractive additions to any landscape and their blooms come in a wide range of colors. Roses are often pleasantly scented, attracting bees and other wildlife. They can develop nutritious and harvest-worthy rose hips, the petals can be used to make herbal teas, and of course the single and double blooms make gorgeous cut flowers.

One of the best things about a rose is that the bush is easy to plant. As long as you choose a sunny (6-8 hours daily), well-drained location, even a newly planted rose bush will take off and bloom for you year after year!

To plant a rose bush, you will need:


  • Dig a planting hole large enough to accommodate the existing root system, leaving room to grow
  • Remove the rose plant from its pot
  • Loosen the root ball a bit and spread out the roots
  • Refill the planting hole with soil and any rose food you might use
  • Tamp around the roots to remove any air pockets that may have formed in the soil
  • Thoroughly water the rose bush once it’s planted
  • Mulch over the newly planted rose’s roots to retain moisture and keep weeds down

Watch Elmer’s simple demonstration of how to plant a rose bush in this video »

Now that you know how plant a new rose bush, you can improve the sights and smells of your landscape with ease! And, if you’re a real fan of roses in the landscape, you can also learn All About Climbing Roses here.

Shop All Roses »

Topics → Planting & Growing, Tips


  1. Rich permalink

    So I got four of the Winner’s circle roses last year…planted them and they did ok…at first… They eventually died. The soil is rather sandy and one by one they died off. You guys stood by your product and sent me four new ones this spring. These were not in the ground a week before they started looking sickly. Yellowish leaves, drooping, just all around in poor health. I haven’t aggressively watered them because I didn’t want to over water them. We’ve had a fair amount of rain last week and in the coming days but even the last few days of full sun didn’t do much to change their condition. I even put them in this tree, shrub, and rose soil I bought to try and get their health up. I am debating cutting them back in hopes that’ll invigorate them but at the same time I figure it could kill them so I’ve been just trying to be patient and see what happens. Any advice? Thanks!

    • Hi Rich! A couple of the comments below (from Richard and JR) may help you, and I’m wondering the same types of things being asked — especially about the temperature, location, and soil where you planted your roses both times. Cutting the plants back may help invigorate them if there isn’t an issue with the soil. If you can relocate them to a better spot, it might be to the benefit of the roses to try that instead.

      If they don’t end up surviving, it may be an issue with the soil. Sandy soil tends to drain quickly, meaning plants may suffer from drought-like stress if they don’t receive enough water. They may also be lacking nutrients. It may help to get a soil sample and have it tested to see what’s going on at the soil level. You can contact your local county cooperative extension for soil testing — find the contact information for yours here:

      I hope this helps, and I recommend reading the comments below yours here to see if they help give you some ideas on what you can do about your roses. :)

      • rich permalink

        I noticed today that two of them have some new growth on them so the transplant must have shocked them. The other two were my neighbor’s(we were going to stagger them along the property line fence) and she gave them to me when she gave up on them. So they may have yet to recover, but I think it’s just an issue of time now. The new growth is quite encouraging. Thanks!!!

  2. Richard Serr permalink

    I’ve grown a lot of roses. They need a tremendous amount of fertilizer. What always worked best for me was composted steer manure. When I planted I would use 50% native soil, 25% steer manure, 25% peat moss. That always worked well. Then in the winter I would put a bag of steer manure on each rose covering the bud union. In the spring I would spread this manure around like mulch. I would apply the recommended chemical fertilizer in the summer making sure that I didn’t feed them too late in the year. I usually use the rose food with the insecticide included so I never had to worry about bugs. This program has always worked great for me. I don’t know if it’s possible to overfeed them. One place I lived the neighbor’s cats used to bathroom in my roses. She was a rose grower too. She would remove the scat to prevent burning her roses. I didn’t know why. I left it alone on mine and my roses looked better than hers!

    • rich permalink

      I can definitely try more fertilizer…I have several geared for roses but was fearful of overdoing it and harming them. I have some of that Bayer stuff that a friend swears by…I’ll put some on this week! Today I noticed some new growth on some of the plants so I think planting it in mid April(with a late winter) shocked it.

  3. To answer your question, a rose person would probably need to know some more information. What was the temperature when you planted the roses? Did you water the rose well (soak the dirt) when you planted? How often after that did you plant? How much sun does your planting location get, as in how many hours of the day? Roses typically need full sun to prosper, meaning at least 10 hours a day during the summer. If you plant them in the shade, they will not do well. Where is your home located, as in what city and state? What elevation is your home at? Roses only do well up to about 5000 feet, depending on the latitude you live at. I would also ask a local expert what it takes to grow roses in your area. Are there other people in your neighborhood that grow roses? You could ask them for tips for successful rose growth in your neighborhood. Given that it only took a few days for the new plants to start looking sickly, you probably do not have a bug problem. Was the soil treated with an herbicide at some point? Roses are very susceptible to some long lasting herbicides. This would have been some sort of chemical to keep weeds from germinating or growing.

    • rich permalink

      Great advice. Thanks! I live in southern NH and noticed some new growth today so I think they are on the mend. It was cool when I planted them…maybe 50s or 60s but we had a late winter so everything is a week or two behind here. They should get a decent amount of sun where they are. My biggest concern is the soil. I replaced the soil around them so they should have at least a decent start… I also laid manure down there last fall and let it winter there. Today I noticed two of them showing new growth which tells me it was in shock and that the worst is over and hopefully the plants will thrive going forward. We also enjoyed our first week of fairly solid 60s to 70s and sun so I think that is helping too.


  4. Stacey permalink

    We have ordered quit a bit this Spring- fruit trees, grapes, strawberries, roses, etc. Everything has great new growth and looks really healthy… except for the Knock Out Rose Trees. We planted 12 of them, and only one has new growth… the rest look dead. They have been in the ground for about a month now. Do we need to give them more time? Is there something we should be doing in addition to watering? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated! Just wish the 11 looked as great as the one :(
    Thank you!

    • Stacey permalink

      NOTE: The roses did not come from Stark Bros- they came from a local nursery- everything thriving did! I am just asking in hopes that you can shed some light on our rose trees, please.

      • It’s difficult to speak about another nursery’s product, especially without seeing it, but I can help you determine if the 11 rose plants are still living. We call it the “scratch test” (read about how to do a scratch test here).

        If you find that the roses are still living, then they may just need more time to thrive this growing season.

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