Transplanting Roses

There may be many reasons for wanting to transplant a rose.  Maybe the existing location will be under construction, perhaps you would prefer it in a different part of the garden for aesthetic reasons, or you may be moving.  Whatever reason you have for deciding to move your rose, choose wisely when selecting your roses’ new location.  Your rose is longing for a permanent home.

The best time to transplant is late winter or early spring while the plant is still dormant and before new growth begins to push out.  It is a good idea to plan ahead.  Select the new site for your rose before digging it out.  An ideal site will be in a sunny, well drained location with plenty of room available for the rose to grow and mature.  Prepare the hole for the new location before you dig the rose.

Depending on the size of your rose at the time of transplanting, trim the canes to 10-12”.  This will reduce the amount of shock and stress the plant undergoes when transplanted.  Be sure to dig out away from the base of the plant so as to make sure you are digging out as much of the roots as possible.  In general, the diameter of the root ball should be around 24”.  Settle your rose into its new location. Plant as you would a new rose, making sure the top of the root ball is level or slightly below the soil surface.   Backfill the hole with soil amended with organic matter.  Tamp the soil down.  Soak the newly planted rose in very well.  Monitor the shrub for water over the next several weeks as it settles into its new location.  A layer of mulch around the new planting will help conserve moisture and keep the roots cooler.

Transplanting may be done during the growing season, but make sure the plant is well hydrated before you transplant.  The rose will likely wilt if transplanted during the growing season and weaker branches may shrivel and die back.  Cut these branches off if it appears they will not produce new growth.

Do not fertilize the newly transplanted roses for at least a month after or until you see some signs of new growth.  Applying fertilizer too soon after transplanting may burn the roots, setting the plant even further back in getting established, or killing it.

Your newly transplanted rose should adjust well to its new location provided you’ve given thoughtful consideration to its new home and given it a little TLC along the way.


New Plant Coordinator at Star® Roses and Plants

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