Planting roses during late autumn and winter

Roses get away extremely well when planted in their dormant season, between November and early March. Although they will be delivered potted up (to help keep the roots moist), the compost will fall away from the roots as you remove the rose from the pot at this time of year. Do not worry: this is perfectly normal and your plant will respond with lots of new growth in spring.


The golden rule when dealing with dormant plants is that they must always be planted in well-prepared soil - but only when the weather is clement. As soon as you order your roses, prepare the ground by digging a hole that’s twice the size of the pot. Add some garden compost or very well-rotted manure, but don’t over do it. Make sure there’s still plenty of soil in your planting mixture as you backfill. Cover the ground with fleece, to keep the soil frost-free. When your rose arrives carefully tease out the roots and don’t be afraid to trim the odd one if they seem over long. Open up the hole and spread the roots out and then look for the bud union on the stem, a bumpy area. Position this at soil level by laying a cane down on the ground at either side of your hole. You can also add Rootgrow, a mycorrhizal fungi that’s sprinkled into the soil to encourage rooting, at this stage. Gently backfill the hole and press the soil down lightly. In windier gardens it’s a good idea to trim back the newly planted rose stems, to three or four inches. This will prevent wind rock: a side to side movement that will prevent a new rose from rooting properly.