We’ve talked about fall planting in the past. It’s a great time to plant roses because they can get their roots established before winter sets in. Then, next spring, they are ready to take off.
It’s also a great time to buy roses because many garden centers put their leftover roses on sale. Granted the selection won’t be as good as spring, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find some great roses out there this time of year. With that in mind here are few tips for buying and planting sale roses.
Don’t be too fixated on finding a particular variety. Instead, focus on the landscape use for the rose you are looking for. If you want a mass planting that stays low, focus on shorter bushes within the color range you want. Looking for something towards the back of a flower border? Focus on taller bushes in your color range.
Once you’ve decided landscape use and color go to your local garden centers and look for roses that fit the bill. The nice thing about shopping at your local Independent Garden Center is the good ones only bring in roses they know do well in your area. Because of this you can feel confident you are buying roses that will do well for you. Plus, by this time of year the roses have been sitting in pots since spring, gone through summer and are likely stressed out. If they still look good in a pot at this time of year you can bet it’s a good rose for your climate!
While your garden center has taken care of the rose in terms of watering and feeding, chances are the rose is a bit pot bound by now. By that I mean the roots are crowding in the pot and it’s ready to get in the ground and start growing. But the risk of planting a pot bound plant is the roots will continue to stay in that rootball and will struggle to extend their reach deep down into the soil.
When you get the roses home and you have your bed prepared is the time to take care of any pot bound issues. When you slip the rose out of the pot to plant it, tug at some of the larger roots to gently pull them out of the rootball. Not too hard as we don’t want the rootball to fall apart. The next step is to take a sharp knife or your clippers and score lines vertically down the rootball, gently cutting into the root system about half an inch. Make four to six vertical scores around the rootball. Cutting those outer roots spurs new growth and that growth will head out away from the rootball and into the soil.
After the roses is planted and you’ve watered it in well, take a moment to look at the plant. Look for any dead wood, broken canes etc. Cut that stuff out. After that don’t cut anything. Just leave the rose alone to settle in.
Don’t fertilize the rose at this time of year. Let the rose settle in on its own. If you have prepared your soil correctly there are plenty of nutrients already in there. We are not in the least concerned about top growth at this point. The only thing we are worried about is growing roots – and nature will take of that. Just keep the rose watered as needed and later into fall it will simply go into dormancy like all your other roses.
That’s all there is to it. By taking a few extra steps you will have success with planting roses that go on sale in the fall. And those prices leave more in your gardening budget for when the winter catalogues come!