Bare root roses can give a gardener pause when it comes to how deep to plant the bush. Sometimes the advice to “plant as deep as it was growing” isn’t so readily apparent. A soil line on the trunk can be difficult to find. Many bare root roses are grafted on to sturdier rootstock and this can make the depth even harder to determine.
When you plant a grafted rosebush, should you plant the graft (the swollen, knobby part of the stem) above ground or below ground? My Daddy taught me to plant a rose with the graft above ground in our sandy Ohio soil. Then I read that the graft should be planted below ground in some areas and above ground in others. Which way is best?
Stan Griep, an ARS Certified Consulting Rosarian from Colorado explains, “Planting the graft below ground in all areas is actually best from the angle of overall rosebush support. Planting the rose in the same below ground manner helps prevent the wind from rocking the bush and causing root damage problems. Some say that it promotes suckers or growth from below the graft. I have not seen that happen with any of my roses unless the top part has died and the bottom ‘root stock’ is then taking over to survive. All things considered, planting the rosebush lower works better.”
So, there you have it. Moreover, if you can’t find a swollen, knotted protrusion on your rosebush, then you probably have one that grew on its own roots. On the other hand, you might have a container grown bush, so just plant it as deep as it was growing in the pot.
Growing roses doesn’t have to be difficult. Follow the suggestions in the articles on the GardenSMART Articles page and you will be able to cultivate these beautiful flowers in your own garden.