General advice on how, when, and where to plant your rose.

Receiving Your Rose

When you receive your potted rose from English Roses, it’s good to remember that it may look different from the online image or label image. The reason for this is that roses, like many plants, have a growing season, which is typically between March and September. During this time roses will make new leaf growth and flower, and at the end of this time roses will start to lose their leaves in time for the winter. This seasonal change is what makes roses such beautiful garden plants and ideal personal gifts. The constant seasonal change yet repeated annual blooms and amazing scent, really connects with something basic within all of us that ensures the enduring appeal of roses.

Like us all, roses are living and need water and fresh air throughout the year. When they are in full leaf and the weather is warm, their requirement for water is greater so we advise that potted roses are watered daily between April and September, and twice a week outside these times. It is best to water the compost directly rather than the foliage, this way you can be sure that the water has gone into the pot. As a simple rule of thumb, fill the pot up with water until the water is level with the top edge of the pot.

When to Plant Your Rose

November is typically the best time to plant a rose, although you can plant them at any time of the year. This is due to several factors, including the optimum soil conditions, handling of the rose, and a chance for the rose to establish a good root system before spring time growth begins. However, as long as the ground isn’t frozen, waterlogged or in drought, your rose should be fine. For more detailed year round information, take a look at our Rose Care Calendar.

Our roses arrive potted, which they are happy to stay in until they outgrow them, usually until the end of the season. This means that immediate planting is not necessary, and you can take your time deciding where it will go. It also means you can wait for the optimum time to plant (usually November – see here for why!), although they can be planted all year round. If you don’t want to plant them in a garden and instead keep them containerised, thats fine too! Just increase the size of the pots as the rose outgrows them, and make sure to keep them well watered. If you have received a gift potted rose (grey shiny pot), please bear in mind that these pots do not have holes in them so water more sparingly.

Choosing the Best Place for Your Rose

Roses generally like a sunny position with a good amount of space around them. Six or more hours of sun is ideal, although if the area is prone to very hot or dry conditions some shade is no bad thing. Some roses will grow in partial shade, but most roses bloom their best if they are in a spot that gets sun all day.

Roses don’t have very specific requirements for soil type, so as long as the soil is in reasonable condition with plenty of organic matter, roses will grow. Also make sure the soil you plant your roses in has good drainage to avoid roots rotting in wet soil.

Finally, do not plant your roses too close together. The more airflow around the plants, the less likely they will be to get disfiguring fungal diseases such as black spot and powdery mildew on their leaves. Ensure to plant roses at least 3 feet from other plants to avoid competition for soil nutrients as well.

rose planting

Tools and Equipment for Planting

  • Garden spade
  • Garden fork
  • Work gloves


  • New rose plant
  • Peat free rose compost or soil improver
  • Bark mulch
  • Granular rose feed

Plant Your Rose

  • Water your potted rose generously, immediately before planting.
  • Prepare the soil thoroughly, using a fork to remove and weeds or large stones. This gives your rose more room to freely grow its root.
  • Dig a hole big enough for the roots using a spade. This will likely be around 16″ wide x 16″ deep (40cm x 40cm). Save the soil you have removed.
  • Break up the soil at the bottom of the hole using a fork.
  • Mix a spadeful of soil improver with the soil at the bottom of the hole, and mix 2 spadefuls of soil improver with the soil that you have removed from the hole.
  • Remove the rose carefully from its container. This is usually done by gripping the rose firmly (using gloves!) and inverting the container.
  • Gently loosen the roots slightly so they will spread out well when planted, and then sprinkle with granular rose feed.
  • Position the rose in the centre of the hole. The bottom of the stems should sit about 2″ (5cm) below the top of the hole.
  • Fill the hole all around the roots, using the soil you removed (plus the added soil improver you already mixed in).
  • Firm the soil lightly using your foot.
  • Water the rose well, and apply mulch around the base.
  • Continue to care for your rose at it becomes established, watering well and using granular rose feed (applied according to product instructions).

Rose watering

You will now have a rose that is ready to establish a good root system, which will ensure it can thrive in your garden!

For more information on general Rose Care, including feeding and watering, please click here.

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