Planting Roses in the Fall

Fall may seem like the end of the planting season but for container-packaged roses, it can be a great time of year to start planting. Early spring is better for planting if you have bare root rose bushes, but there is enough time for planting a potted rose in fall to ensure that your newly planted roses will create a solid root system before they go dormant in winter. So if you’ve just got to get some roses in the ground, skip the bare root roses and go for those already in pots. 

There are many different rose varieties to choose from when planting so your first decision will be what kind of rose you want to grow. In addition to growth habits, such as bush form or climbing, there are also different varieties such as hybrid tea roses, floribunda, grandifloras, miniature, tree, and climbers. When you grow roses the choices and colors are almost endless so spend some time doing the research before you get started planting. 

There are a few things you have to keep in mind if you decide that fall will be your growing season for your roses. Number one, you should not fertilize. Fertilizing roses can actually weaken them leaving them more susceptible to diseases like powdery mildew and black spot. Leave fertilizing to spring planting.

Roses need full sun so location is important when planting. They also need good drainage so you may want to check your soil before popping them into the ground. 

Mulch is vital for healthy roses. Use organic matter to cover the roots of your roses. This will keep them warmer longer and will give them that extra little bit of cushion they will need in winter. 

Go for dormant plants. Plants with new growth won’t be as happy going into the ground in the fall. If you just love the idea of watching new growth instantly, you might want to wait till spring to plant those bushes. For long-term success, planting dormant bushes in the fall is the best idea. 

Finally, don’t prune. Tempting as it may be to shape your roses, they don’t need the additional stress of open wounds. This can also make them susceptible to disease and pests and they don’t need that before going into a long cold winter. 

So take some time and consider if fall rose planting is what you’re looking for and if it is, get out that shovel, gather some mulch, and get planting!