The Q&A Archives: Rose Bushes

Question: What is the proper way to plant a rose bush in a container? I just purchased a lovely bush from Home Depot in Delafield and I would like to get it planted in the pot on my upper deck before the rain starts. I purchased some bonemeal per your garden associates suggestion. Now what type of soil do I want to put into the pot?

Answer: You'll want to use a good grade of regular potting soil (Kellogg's, Miracle-Gro, Scott's, etc.) rather than garden soil in the pot. Fill the pot part way with moistened potting soil, sprinkle in the bone meal, unpot the rose, gently loosen the roots (so they're not growing round and round in the shape of the pot), set the rose bush in the new container, then fill in all around the roots with moistened potting soil. Ideally, the rose will be sitting at the same soil level as it was in the original pot. Water well after planting to help settle the soil and exclude any air pockets around the roots.

Plants in containers will need to be watered more frequently than the same plants in the ground; water thoroughly when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Containerized plants can be burned when fertilizer is applied so to prevent this, use a water-soluable liquid, diluted to half-strength and applied every 2-3 weeks. This will provide an almost constant diet of nutrients to the roots of your rose bush. Finally, remember that roses need full sun, but the roots of your plant can cook if the container also receives direct sunshine in the middle of the summer. Try to provide some protection, either by grouping several containers around your rose, or setting a decorative rock next to the container, providing shade from a large shrub, etc.

Best wishes with your new rose bush!

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