Richters InfoSheet D5015

Classic Rose Planting Instructions

To get the best results and enjoyment from your newly purchased rosebushes, we would urge you to follow these important steps. As climate and weather conditions change greatly across Canada and the United States, you may find that problems arise and you need extra advice. Contact your nearest rose society or horticultural society; they will gladly help to make your rose growing a success.

Preparation of the Planting Site

Prepare the bed for planting some time before you expect to receive your plants: in the fall, by mid October or early in the spring. Your rose bed should get a minimum of four to six hours of sunshine per day and have good drainage. For poor soil, we recommend digging out the existing soil to a depth of sixteen to eighteen inches (40-45 cm), and replacing it with good top soil. To improve your existing bed, you may add sheep or cattle manure, peat moss, bone meal, compost, etc. Avoid adding commercial fertilizers until your plants are well established (6-12 months after planting).

Care of Plants Upon Arrival

After receiving your rosebushes, plant them as soon as possible. Do not let them sit around in their packaging for days in a warm room or where chance of frost exists.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Never let the roots dry out after unwrapping or during planting. Should the plants have been in transit for an extended period of time, soak the roots in water for a few hours, but not for more than twenty-four (24) hours. After 24 hours, damage to the root system will occur. If it is not possible to plant the roses as soon as they arrive (cold spell or unexpected snowstorm), they may be stored in a closed plastic bag, after the roots have been wetted down, for up to a week. For longer periods, it would be best to bury the plants in a slanted position, leaving only the tops visible. Plant as soon as possible, even if there is a chance of frost. Rose stems can take frost up to -10 Celsius without danger .


Dig the holes large enough to accommodate the roots in a natural spread out position. For classic roses and climbers, plant five to six feet (5-6 ft) apart, as they require more spreading room for growth (see Fig. 1). Place your plant into the hole with bud union, one inch (2 cm) below ground level. In colder areas, plant two to three inches (3-5 cm) below ground level. See Fig. 2. Spread out the roots and fill in soil to two-thirds full and pack well (Fig. 3). Fill the hole with water and let it drain down (Fig. 4). Then complete filling of the hole.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Cut back tops of roses, either before or right after planting, to 5-6" (15-20 cm). Should any young soft sprouts have emerged during shipping, these must be cut off because they will dehydrate the plant. Leave only a few sturdy canes; remove weaker canes and those that are too close together. Cut canes at a 45 degree angle, about 1/4" above an outward facing bud, so that new growth will develop up and away from the centre of the plant (Fig. 5).

Mound soil up around bases of new plants to prevent canes from drying out before the roots have been established (Fig. 6). Unhill the soil to normal level after 2-3 weeks or after new buds have started to sprout.


Roses need good drainage to grow well, but they also need a lot of water during the growing season, especially until roots reach deep enough to provide sufficient moisture. During dry spells, plants should be thoroughly soaked one or two times a week. To hold moisture, leave a slight depression around each rose plant.


Spraying should begin in early May or as soon as new leaves have fully developed. Continue spraying in 10-14 day intervals. until freeze up. We recommend spraying over dusting because sprays last longer and do not wash off easily.


We welcome your feedback on your experiences. The information you provide will help us refine our recommendations to other herb enthusiasts. Please email your comments to Infosheet Feedback.


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©2001 Otto Richter and Sons Limited


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