It’s Time to Plant Bare Root Roses
English roses work well in Houston gardens
According to rose experts, the time to plant bare root roses is when they will root best, thus ensuring best performance for the life of the rose. In Houston, that means now.
The correct planting window in any area, says Michael Marriott, technical manager of David Austin Roses, is when the ground is no longer frozen but is cool and pliable— not overly-wet and clammy — and daytime air temperatures are under 70 degrees. Planting during the optimal window gives the plant the time and energy to establish strong roots.
Those unfamiliar with bare root roses might be taken aback when first unpacking them. Far from the lush, delicious rose bush envisioned, bare root roses arrive looking, well … dead. Take heart — though that clump of sticks with roots attached might seem vulnerable and uninspiring — once planted, these humble twigs grow fast and in no time become leafy bushes ready to burst into bloom. To give them the right start, just follow some simple steps.
Immediately prior to planting, the roots of bare root roses should be soaked in cool water for several hours or overnight. The plants may be totally submerged, canes and all, if desired. While not optimal, the plants may be soaked for several days, generally without harm.
Most English roses are hardy to Zone 9 (Houston’s planting zone) and work well wherever you have room for them — as climbers or hedges, or in containers.
Climbers — Some varieties of English roses have so much strength and vigor that they can easily be encouraged to form beautiful, fragrant climbers.
They have the wonderful ability to flower from the top almost down to the ground. Their full, multi-petalled blooms have a tendency to nod, which means that their beautiful forms can be appreciated in their full glory. They repeat flower over a long season and have wonderful fragrances, which makes them perfect for placing by an entrance or around a doorway where they can be enjoyed every day.
To grow an English rose as a climber, simply fan out the stems and tie them loosely into place. The closer the stems are to horizontal, the more flowering shoots they will produce. Remove some of the shorter twiggier stems at the base of the plant. This will help to create a taller climber more quickly, by concentrating the plant’s energy into the stronger stems.
Planting against a wall will help to encourage climbing. The roots should always be kept well away from the base of the wall as this is often very dry. Lean the stems in towards the wall, fan them out and tie in. English climbing roses are well-suited to growing on small, decorative obelisks, arches or pillars as the growth is not so vigorous that it will overwhelm the structure.
Containers — English roses can also be grown in large pots and containers. Their graceful, slightly arching, bushy habits mean that they are ideally suited to being grown in this way. Place near to the house where their fragrant blooms and repeat-flowering can best be appreciated.
Use as large a pot as possible, at least 5 gallons or half a barrel. Water regularly or use drip irrigation.
Hedges — Roses are increasingly popular grown as spectacular flowering boundary hedges which can be pruned between 3 feet to more than 7 feet in height. English roses are particularly effective choices, producing a succession of fragrant blooms.
All David Austin roses sold in the USA are specially selected for American growing conditions and climate zones. All are grown and shipped within the USA with planting instructions enclosed. David Austin Roses ships its famous English Garden Roses from its USA growing fields in Tyler, Texas.
David Austin’s award-winning catalog, The Handbook of Roses, is a rose lover’s delight, available at no charge. To order, visit www.davidaustinroses.com or call 800-328-8893.