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Instructions for planting antique roses

Posted by kristimama SF East Bay Zn9 (My Page) on
Tue, May 10, 11 at 15:03

Hi all,
I did a search on GW but didn't find anything here stating specific instructions, so I apologize if this has already been answered before.

I'm looking for information on exactly HOW to start planting roses in the ground. (I have a few of my bands from last year in pots, eager to get into the ground this spring.)

I wouldn't automatically trust the advice of my local nursery, because they only sell the modern and "tree" roses... I am not sure their instructions would be right for antique roses.

I have the typical Bay Area dense clay soil, and the top 12-14" of most of my soil has already been amended over the years at some point with Bumper Crop (or similar wood-based soil amendment). Below 12-14" it's a solid mass of clay.

How deep and how wide do I dig & amend for antique roses, so that they grow to thrive? Should I line the hole with gopher cages? How wide around them should I mulch, and with what (manure, wood chips, etc)? And how much fertilizer do OGRs like through the year?

I've planted fruit trees, which say amend wider but not deeper, and plant a little high so that they can sink in. Just wondering if there's a general rule for OGRs?

Thanks for what must seem like a completely beginner question. I have a veggie garden and fruit trees, but have never planted a single rose in my entire life! Can't wait to start, though.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Instructions for planting antique roses

  • Posted by fogrose zone 10/sunset 17 (My Page) on
    Tue, May 10, 11 at 15:48

paul zimmerman has quite a few videos on youtube concerning roses and there are several about planting them. suggest you view them. also doing google search for rose planting will give you lots of information.

hope this helps.


Here is a link that might be useful: paul zimmerman's videos on youtube

RE: Instructions for planting antique roses

Thanks Fogrose. I think I remember watching a Paul Zimmerman video on pruning roses, but it didn't occur to me to see if he had one on planting them. LOL

There's so much information when you do a google search, not all of it accurate, so I thought I'd start with you OGR experts, here... for the best advice. This forum is such a great resource. Thank you.

RE: Instructions for planting antique roses

It is very important with old roses to get a LOCAL estimate as to the size the rose will grow. Many old roses grow MUCH larger here in No Cal than it says they will in the catalogues, or even on HMF (sometimes two or three times larger!). So, I would post a list of the roses you are planning on planting here, and get some local advice. That way you can plan for the size, whether or not they climb (some 3 ft bush roses in England are climbers here!), etc.

You mentioned gophers - do you have them where you live? We don't have them here (San Rafael) thank goodness, but if you have them there you need to hear from the folks that also have them.

As to the exact planting, I can tell you what I do with roses that have been in 1 gallon pots for a year - but I am a rather relaxed & lazy gardener, so I don't have a lot of rules & regs.

What I do is have my DH dig a hole maybe 1 1/2 ft deep and the same in diameter. One thing you have to be careful about in our clay is not to build a "bathtub" that traps the roots, so you need to make the hole wider at the top than at the bottom, and be sure and rough up the sides of the hole so that roots do not just bounce off it. Then I fill it 1/2 full of planting soil that I buy in bags (SOIL, not amendment, mulch, or anything else). You can mix in the dirt that came out of the hole with the planting soil. Then I water that in, and leave it alone until it has drained. Then I put the rose in, and fill around it with more planting soil & local dirt, so that it ends up at the same level vis a vis the dirt that it was in its pot. Then I water it again. I DO NOT feed it at this point - the planting soil has food in it already. If it is blooming I might cut off the flowers, so it can concentrate on making roots. Then I put a deer cage around it if there are any deer within 50 miles of it -deer LOVE the tender new growth.

Then I leave it alone, except to make sure it has enough water, and is draining OK. It will just sit there for a while - hopefully it is growing roots. This may take months. Do not worry. Some people plant roses here in our climate in the Fall, so this boring part can happen over the Winter. Then suddenly it will start to put our new growth. That is when it is OK to feed it - be sure NOT to feed it more than it says on the instructions. I only feed my old roses once a year, with Ozmocote or some other time release fertilizer, but then I am lazy.

Good Luck with your new babies! (Oh, once they get 3-4 feet tall I take the deer cages off - they may munch a bit, but now the roses are big enough so that the deer won't eat them in one bite.)


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