Roses Are Plants Too!

Give new roses a good “boxing” around the roots

Souvenir d’Un Ami.  An old fashioned Tea rose I grow in my garden.  No fuss, blooms all season and cuts nicely for the house.  The old Tea Roses a great class of roses for warm climates and particularly the Southeast
Photo/Illustration: Paul Zimmerman Roses
Souvenir d’Un Ami.  An old fashioned Tea rose I grow in my garden.  No fuss, blooms all season and cuts nicely for the house.  The old Tea Roses a great class of roses for warm climates and particularly the Southeast
Photo/Illustration: Paul Zimmerman Roses

With bare root and rose planting season coming upon us, I thought I’d do some posts on planting new roses in your garden.  While in many instances it seems to be just another thing rose experts have made over-complicated, in some cases there is truth in what they are saying.

The first thing I’d like to deal with is what is called “rose replant disease”.  In simple English this is the one where you’ve been told not to plant new roses in soil where roses have just been dug up.  There is truth in this.  Roses leave behind certain nematodes and other things that can hinder the new rose’s growth.

Generally the advice is to completely replace the soil in the bed.  A costly, if not back breaking endeavor.  There is a simpler way I first learned about in Europe from the folks at Peter Beales Roses in England.

It’s called “The Box Method”.

Simply put you dig a nice sized hole, put a cardboard box in it and then plant the rose in the box with good potting soil and compost.  The idea behind it is the box protects the rose while it gets established and the bad nematodes go away.  Over time the cardboard breaks down, becomes compost and the roots can grow into what is now clean soil.

Like so many things incredibly simple when you think about it.

Generally a box size minimum of 20” x 20” will do it.  If you can’t dig a square hole then do the best you can and line the hole with cardboard sheets making sure you overlap the edges.  Use a good potting soil with rich compost, and periodically tamp down the soil because as the cardboard breaks down it will create air holes.  Don’t use waxed or coated cardboard.

This is being widely used all over Europe with great success.  It’s also being used as a way to get rambling roses established near tree trunks so you can grow the rose up into the tree.  If you want to read more or ask questions to people who are doing, it we’ve started a thread on our rose forum about it.  Click Here to go straight there.

Happy Roseing

View Comments


  1. BiggFinn 01/25/2011

    Hello Paul,
    I don't know whose mistake it is, but "Souv du Un Ami" is not proper Frence. It's not even bad French. It's just wrong.
    Souvenir d'Un Ami (Remembrance of a Friend). Please make a note of it and pass this on to the breeder, supplier, editor, or whomever it may concern.
    Une Nageoire Grande

  2. PFZimmerman 01/26/2011

    My bad. I knew better than that. I fixed it and thanks for catching that!

  3. matrixr124 02/09/2011

    ""It’s also being used as a way to get rambling roses established near tree trunks so you can grow the rose up into the tree. If you want to read more or ask questions to people who are doing, it we’ve started a thread on our rose forum about it. Click Here to go straight there.""

    I would love to learn how to make a climber go into a tree but the link doesnt appear to be working...??

  4. PFZimmerman 02/10/2011

    It seems to be working for me but here is the direct URL.

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