The Q&A Archives: Rose Bush

Question: I bought a rose bush from Home Depot a few weeks
ago. It doesn't seem to be growing. It is not
blooming and it is all limp. It looks dead. Is
there anything I can do to save it or should I
just return it?

Answer: Based on your description I am not certain what is happening to your rose bush, but it should not be wilted. There can be a variety of causes for wilting, but usually it is related to over or underwatering, or to poor planting technique.

The rose should be set at the same depth as it grew in the container, no deeper. The hole should be dug several times wider and slightly deeper than the rootball. The roots should have ample loose soil to spread through as they grow.

The most important thing after planting is to water correctly. The soil should be evenly moist like a wrung out sponge, not sopping wet and not dried out. To know if you need to water, dig into the soil with your finger. If it is still damp, do not water yet. When you do water, apply it at the roots and not to the foliage. Water slowly and thoroughly so it soaks down to the deepest roots. After watering, wait a few hours and then dig down to see how far the water went. Sometimes it can be surprising.

Also, using an organic mulch will help reduce watering needs in addition to holding down weeds and feeding the soil slowly over time as it breaks down. The mulch should be about three inches thick and spread out in a flat layer over the root area. Do not pile it against the stems (canes), leave a space of several inches between the plant and the mulch.

If you think you have planted and watered correctly, you might want to check with your local store about returns or warranty.

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