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How to plant roses bought in containers

Easy to follow step-by-step guides on how to plant potted roses in your garden.

Don't forget that the most important thing when planting roses during the summer is regular watering!


Top tip - We recommend that any container roses purchased before June are left in their pots until after this time to give the roots time to establish and bind with the surrounding soil. Removing the rose from its pot before early June could damage the young fibrous roots.

Materials needed


Choosing where to plant your rose

  • Most roses prefer a sunny location, although some are more shade tolerant and where applicable this will be stated within the information on the pot label that comes with your rose.
  • Roses should be planted at least 30cm (1ft) away from structures such as walls or fences.
  • If your rose is being planted in a particularly windy location then they may need extra support.
  • To avoid rose replant disease never plant a rose where a rose has previously grown. Alternatively rose replant boxes can be used. Click here to learn more.


Planting your potted rose in the garden

  1. Pre-water your rose.

  2. Dig the hole, ensuring that it is deeper and wider than the pot that the rose is currently growing in. Generally a spades depth, by a spades width is a good measure.

  3. Check the depth is correct by placing the pot in the hole and laying a cane across the hole. The graft point, or union, wants to be about an inch below soil level. This reduces the risk of wind rock, exposed roots and suckers.

  4. Sprinkle a handful of fertiliser such as bone meal or Toprose Gold into the hole. Using your spade mix the fertiliser with the soil.

  5. Add a spade full of well-rotted farmyard manure (at least 12 months old) into the hole and again mix well with the soil.

  6. To avoid scorching the roots of your rose and potentially damaging the health of the plant, ensure that any well-rotted manure or fertilisers used are well mixed with the soil, so that they don’t come into direct contact with the roots. NEVER use fresh manure!

  7. Poor some water into the bottom of the hole.

  8. Remove the rose from the plastic pot.

  9. We recommend sprinkling Roots Boost mycorrhizal fungi directly onto the root ball of the rose.

  10. Sprinkle some more Roots Boost mycorrhizal fungi onto the soil which is going to be used to fill the hole.

  11. Place the rose in hole.

  12. Fill the remaining space in the hole with the pre-prepared soil.

  13. Firm soil around the rose with heel to ensure there are no air pockets.

  14. Sprinkle a couple of handfuls of fertiliser around the top of the soil.

  15. Water well.

  16. Water regularly throughout the summer until established.

Feeding & Watering Advice

Planting your potted rose in a larger pot

  1. Choose a pot which is large enough for your rose. Smaller shrubs generally require a pot with a 14 – 16 inch diameter. Shrubs taller than 3ft and larger ramblers and scramblers will require pots with a depth of around 20 – 22 inches.

  2. Ensure that the pot has sufficient drainage holes. Roses hate to have their feet sitting in water. Adding bits of broken terracotta pots or shingle to the bottom of the pot will also help to improve drainage.

  3. Use a good quality potting compost, such as John Innes No. 3.

  4. Allow around 2 inches from the top of the soil and the lip of the pot for easy watering.

  5. Water and feed pot grown roses regularly during the growing season. Roses growing in pots will require more regular watering than roses growing directly in the ground.

  6. Replace the top 3 inches of soil every year in January / February to refresh the nutrients in the compost. Then every 3 years the majority of the soil should be replaced.

Download Planting & Pruning Guide

If you would like to learn more about caring for your roses, including expert advice on how to plant roses, check out our informative workshops available from Peter Beales Garden Centre in Attleborough, Norfolk.

Workshops & Courses

How to plant potted roses


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