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Planting roses in autumn: step by step instructions and care tips for the new plant in the garden or in the container!

Roses are especially good for autumn planting. They are very productive, and you can pay a quarter of the price for flowers, which would be charged in the spring. Surely you have noticed that in the fall nurseries offer many plants on sale. Many gardeners assume that this means it’s not a good time of year to plant, so the stores are trying to get rid of their stock. But that’s not true! In fact, for many perennials, fall is the perfect time to plant. The weather is mild, roses have a head start on the next growing season, and there is usually more rain. Are you convinced? Here’s how to plant roses in the fall.

Planting roses in the fall - step-by-step instructions and care tips for the new plant

When to plant roses in the fall

Don’t put your plants in the ground just a few days before the first expected frost. Your roses will then not have time to settle in and become established before the harsh winter weather sets in. The right time to plant is about six weeks before the first predicted frost in the fall. This will give the plants time to take root so they can survive the winter well and sprout in the spring. Don’t plant too early, though. Your rose may have a good chance of surviving, but if you plant it in the heat of late summer, it risks dying.

Steps for fall planting in the garden

Below you will learn how to plant roses in the fall

You can absolutely plant live roses in the fall, but first you should prepare the garden for your new plant. How to plant roses properly – follow our instructions:

  • Prepare the planting hole as you would in the spring. This means that you must first choose the right spot before doing anything else. Remember that the current light levels in your chosen spot may be different in the spring and summer than in the fall.
  • Then figure out if you need to do anything to your soil. If you have a heavy clay or sandy soil, you will need to incorporate plenty of well-rotted compost to improve drainage and water retention.

When you have chosen the place and changed the soil, dig the hole

  • Once you’ve picked the spot and amended the soil, dig the hole about twice as wide and a little deeper than the container the rose came in. Mix a pile of well-rotted compost under the removed soil. Fill the hole with water and wait for it to drain. This should take about an hour or less. Add some of the removed soil and compost mixture to the bottom of the hole so your plant sits at the proper height.

You can certainly plant a live rose in the fall


  • Form a small cone at the bottom of the hole to give the roots something to sit on and to direct root growth in the right direction. Carefully spread out the roots and place the plant in the hole. Be sure to spread the roots out over the cone you made so they grow downward and not outward.
  • Fill in the mixture of soil and compost around the roots. Water to firm the soil, adding more soil as needed to even out the hole.

Planting roses in a pot

First, make sure you have the right size pot for your plant

Supplies you will need:

  • A large pot (or many large pots).
  • Soil
  • Seeds/rose plants
  • Fertilizer, compost, manure
  • Shovel/spade
  • Watering can/hose
  • Gardening gloves
  • Gravel
  • Bone meal/flower fertilizer
  • Supports or trellises (if you are planting climbing roses).

When to plant roses in the fall, you will learn from us


Now that you have everything ready, you can start planting:

  • The first thing you should do is make sure you have the right size pot for your plant. The larger the pot, the more room the plant’s roots will have to grow. You should also make sure that the pot has good drainage, meaning that it has enough holes in the bottom.
  • Next, it’s time to prepare the soil for your plant. Your roses will need 1/3 good quality commercial potting soil, 1/3 garden compost, and 1/3 composted manure to give your plant everything it needs. At this point, you should decide whether or not your plant needs blood meal or bone meal; this ingredient will give your roses a boost of nitrogen. Don’t overfertilize, but remember it’s important.

Now is the time to water your roses once you have planted them

  • Fill your flower pot 2/3 full with your soil mix and make a small hole in the soil to put your rose plant in. Be sure to gently loosen the roots of the plant before placing it about 2 to 3 inches deep in the soil. Cover the roots and tap the soil around the plant to firm it up.
  • Now is the time to water your roses once you have planted them. Water slowly so you can see the water being soaked into the soil. Keep watering until the soil is moist throughout, as it is important that the roots get water. If you remember to fertilize your roses every two weeks and stop fertilizing about eight weeks before the first frost, your roses will grow into lush bushes within a few months.

Important care tips for the new plants

Planting roses in the fall - take the right steps to care for your plants

Cut the plant back by one-third after you put it in the ground. You don’t want flowers or rose hips to sap the plant’s energy. Also, cut back any dead or yellow foliage and stems. Plants that have been in a garden center all summer may have a few dead parts, but as long as the plants look healthy overall, you can plant roses in the fall and not have to worry.

Although fall is usually rainier than summer in most regions, you should still keep an eye on soil moisture. You won’t need to water as much as you would in the summer, but you still don’t want your roses to dry out. If nature doesn’t cooperate, give your roses water whenever the top inch of soil feels dry.

You don't need to water as much as you would in the summer, but your plants don't need to dry out

Do not fertilize your new plant. You don’t want to encourage it to grow. Instead, you want it to settle in, get established and prepare to go dormant. Put a lot of mulch around your rose. This will protect it during the cold season. Use several inches of natural mulch such as straw, bark or well-rotted manure and mound it up to one-third of the rose bushes. Remove it in the spring when the soil has warmed. If the bush you planted is particularly large or the branches are widely spaced, you can support the branches with twine.