Transplanting Roses

Important things to know about transplanting roses

I always avoid moving an established rose from one part of the garden to another, especially when a rose is doing well. If you want exactly this striking blooming bush to grow elsewhere in the backyard, buy an additional plant or better propagate another rose from the same variety.

Sometimes you may have no choice than to move a rose bush, for whatever reason. As it is not an easy task for the rose and you, you have to be very careful when you dig her up.

The Best Time For Transplanting Roses

Asking several gardeners when the best time to move a rose is, you will get multiple opinions. I came to the conclusion that you can transplant the flowers any time of the year, but the easiest time will be the colder months when the roses are dormant.

Hence, the best time to transplant a rose will be late fall (November) when the growing season is over or early spring (March) when the plant is still dormant.

To move a plant during the growing season means to move the whole plant with as much soil surrounding the roots as possible, to avoid the roots from drying out.

Roses are very sensitive to shock and if it is manageable choose late fall or early spring to transplant them.

What To Do Before Transplanting A Rose

To make it easy and smooth for your rose, some things should be prepared in advance.

  • Water the rose thoroughly about two days before transplanting
  • Always prepare the planting hole in advance. The hole should be minimum 15 inches deep and wide enough for the root system (12-15 inches)
  • Work in plenty of compost and build-up a small pile of soil in the middle of the hole
  •  During the move, the plant should stay moist, don’t let it dry out

Use a wheelbarrow to move the rose to its new location to keep the rootball intact. If the rootball falls apart, treat the plant as a bare root rose ( go to planting a bare root rose for more advice).

How To Transplant Roses: The Method

Digging out the plant, you will quite certain hurt some roots. Therefore, you will need a very sharp spade for that job.

  • Dig about 12-15 inches on all four sides of the rose into the soil with a spade, and approximately 15 inches deep. You will cut some roots when you do that.
  • Gently remove the rose with as much soil as possible. Cut injured and broken roots with sharp pruners
  • Plant the rose in the prepared hole. Keep the proper level of the bud graft in mind
  • Prune any damaged canes and mulch to keep the plant moist

After the transplanting procedure, water the plant well for the next three weeks. Don’t overdo it; the plant in transplanting state cannot take up as much water as it normally would.  

Wait for about one month to fertilize the newly planted rose because she needs to establish the feeder roots first, before she can put her energy into flower production.

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