The Q&A Archives: Transplanting Climbing Roses

Question: I'm going to be moving from the Chicago area to NE Iowa. My grandmother planted what I would call a rose bush. It's about 3-4 foot tall and 6-8 foot wide. I don't know the right way to care for it, but have been cutting some canes out each year and it blooms profusely most of the summer so I must be close to right. Anyway, I want to take the bush with me when we move to Iowa, but am not sure of the right way and the right time to move it. We won't be fully moved for about 18 months, but have family living there so it can get the proper care.

Answer: The very best time to dig and transplant a rose bush is while it's dormant (late winter). Digging it while it's dormant will lessen transplant shock and will not interrupt the growing and blooming cycles. Or, you can wait until very early spring, just as the buds begin to swell on the canes to prune and then dig your rose bush. Transplant it into a container large enough to accommodate the roots without cramping. It can live in a container for several months providing you water and feed it regularly. Transplant it into its new home in late winter and by the following spring it should be ready to put out new growth.

Best wishes with your move!

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