When to Transplant Roses

Keep these tips in mind while transplanting roses to ensure a successful move.

| Summer 2017

  • If moving roses during the growing season, then cut them back by at least a third.
    Photo by iStock/Lord Runar

Reader-submitted question: When is the best time of year to move roses, and how much sun do they need? — Donna Holcomb

Answer: Roses are actually much hardier than many gardeners think. They need full sun for best results and can be moved with success just about any time of the year. During spring, when new growth and flowers are forming, it’s least desirable to move them. However, after the foliage has hardened, they can be moved and kept alive with a fairly high success rate. The best time to move roses is in fall after the first hard freeze — but any time during winter will also work.

Cut roses back by at least a third if the moving occurs during the growing season. This trim could also be done during the dormant season but isn’t essential for success at that time. Roses should be moved to already prepared beds that contain a mix of native soil, compost, rock minerals, cornmeal, and dry molasses. Earth balls can be left on the roses, but bare rooting of roses works well if the roots aren’t allowed to dry out. Set the plants high so the crown is at the ground grade or just higher.

Add Garrett Juice — a root and microbe stimulator that I formulated — to help the roses settle into their new location. To 1 gallon of water, add 1 cup compost tea, 1 ounce liquid molasses, 1 ounce apple cider vinegar, and 1 ounce liquid seaweed.

Howard Garrett’s book, The Organic Manual, explains bed preparation, planting, pest control, compost making, and more. 

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