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How to Care for Bare Root Roses the First Year

So you’ve planted your bare root rose. Now what? Read on for my favorite tricks to keep your rose plants healthy and producing beautiful blooms their first year!

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I WATER BARE ROOT ROSES?

After planting, water your rose plants daily for a minimum of 1-2 weeks with overhead water to keep the canes and roots hydrated as the plant is getting established. If you get a lot of rain you can skip the step. You can continue to overhead water beyond 2 weeks as needed depending on how quickly your rose plant develops. When you see the first buds begin to push out you can stop overhead watering.

After you see buds start to push, place the plants on a drip irrigation system or hand water at the base of the rose as needed. Roses like to be moist in the root zone depth but do not like standing water.
 
Watering a bare root rose.
 

MY 5 TIPS FOR FIRST YEAR BARE ROOT ROSE CARE

TIP 1: DO NOT apply any rose fertilizer until you see your first set of leaves push out. Give the rose time to get established before adding anything extra to the soil. After the first full sets of leaves appear, feed the plant with a balanced rose fertilizer once every 6-8 weeks. Consider getting a soil test too so you can learn how to amend your soil with the ideal elements for your location. If your soil is already high in nutrients, you may not even need to apply a fertilizer. Any well balanced rose fertilizer from your local nursery will do just fine. Some of my favorite fertilizers are E.B. Stone Rose Fertilizer Granular & Dr. Earth Rose & Flower Fertilizer Granular.

If you have extra time to tend to your roses, use a foliar fertilizer spray every 3 weeks. This is a wonderful companion to accompany your granular fertilizer application. I recommend E.B. Stone Organics Liquid Plant Food or Dr. Earth Total Advantage Rose & Flower Concentrate Liquid Fertilizer.

Stop fertilizing your roses 6 weeks before your first expected frost date.

TIP 2: To keep your roses disease and insect free in year one and beyond I recommend foliar applications as needed in a rotation as of Neem Oil, PyGanic or Spinosad. Stay away from systemic granular formulations the first year.

TIP 3: Deadhead, aka remove spent blooms, when your rose petals start to fall. Deadheading regularly will send a signal to the plant to start producing more blooms. No time to deadhead? That’s ok - your rose will still re-bloom just not as quickly.

TIP 4: If you want to harvest your garden roses for cut flower production, it’s best not to cut a 12 inch (standard industry length) or longer stem until the plant has at least doubled in size from when it was planted. In warmer growing regions (USDA Zones 11-8) you may be able to cut stems off your first year bare root rose by month six or seven. In cooler growing regions (USDA Zones 7-3) your growing season is shorter and you likely will need to wait until year two for the plant to achieve enough cane growth to be able to cut nice long stems needed for cut flower production. When harvesting from a first year bare root rose plant do not remove more than 1/2 of the total plant height to harvest. Even if you can’t harvest long and lengthly stems the first year you can still enjoy your rose blooms. Snip and display shorter stemmed blooms in a shorter bud vase.

TIP 5: Have questions about your first year plants? For additional assistance and recommendations for how to care for bare root roses in your climate zone, reach out to your local Rose Society, Master Gardeners or join the Menagerie Academy our online learning community for rose and flower growers.
 
 

Follow my tips in this guide and your bare root roses will remain healthy, hydrated and producing blooms for you to enjoy in year one and beyond!

  

Photos By: Jill Carmel Photography

This post may contain affiliate links. I make a small commission if you purchase a product from the link. I only recommend products I love and use in hopes they will help you too! 

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