3 Little Roses …Time to Plant

English rose
new English roses

Yesterday, we worked on getting the holes ready for our new English roses.  Now the kids and I are so excited that we are almost ready to plant them.

soil amendments

Here are the soil amendments that I purchased – Bone Meal, Compost, Blood Meal and Organic Rose Fertilizer (the blood meal and fertilizer are to be used later).

Bone Meal – an organic source of phosphorus, which helps aid in root development and later flowering.

Compost – enriches the soil as it is filled with micro-organisms which help break down materials and release them into the soil in a form that plants can absorb through their roots.

Blood Meal – is the highest organic source of nitrogen.

Organic Rose Fertilizer – contains organic nutrients as well as beneficial micro-organisms including miccorhizae.

*Miccorhizae are beneficial fungi that forms a beneficial relationship with plant roots and helps them to absorb and transform nutrients into forms that the roots can absorb.  Plants with micchorizae growing in symbiosis with their roots:

– Absorb nutrients more easily.

– Use less water.

– Grow more feeder roots.

OK, enough of the amendment lecture, let’s get the holes ready for our roses.

holes ready for our roses

Remember the old nurseryman’s saying, “Dig a $40 hole for a $20 tree.”  Well, the same goes for shrubs.  It is hard to under-estimate how important a properly dug hole is for the future health and growth of your shrub.

For our roses, we dug our holes approximately 32″ across and 24″ deep, according to the directions from the rose grower.

*For most shrubs, I recommend digging a hole 3X the width of the root-ball of the shrub and roughly the same depth as the root-ball.  By doing this, you will have loosened the surrounding soil, making it easier for the roots to spread.

holes ready for our roses

The holes were filled 1/2 way with the compost and then I added the bone meal according to package instructions.

holes ready for our roses

Then we returned some of the dirt that we had previously dug up until level with the top of the hole and mixed it together with all of the amendments.

The English roses we purchased are not bare-root roses, so the planting process from this point on is a little different.  But, everything else including preparation of the hole and adding the amendments is the same.

holes ready for our roses

Warning…if you have dogs, they will find a way to play in the dirt you dig up.  If you are lucky, they may help you dig your holes.  

holes ready for our roses

Once the native soil and amendments were combined, we leveled them out and then with a smaller shovel (I used the kid’s shovel – it was the perfect size), I made a planting hole for each new rose.

ready to plant his rose

My son is so excited and ready to plant his rose. 

new English roses

The hole is the same depth as the root-ball of the shrub rose.

new English roses

Fill in the hole carefully, but be careful to not add additional soil on top of the rose.  Then tamp down lightly around the hole.

new English roses


new English roses

English Roses

Now, it is time to start cleaning up…

new English roses

The kids are wondering how long they will have to wait for their roses to bloom….hopefully, this spring.

**After the roses have bloomed, I will add the blood meal and organic rose fertilizer.  You don’t want to add fertilizer at the beginning since it will cause the branches to grow before the roots can support them.

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
26 replies
  1. tina
    tina says:

    I can't wait to see how they all do with such a great start-the kids will love watching the progress too. I put bone meal in all my holes but warning, dogs dig it out-even after weeks of it being in the ground.

  2. T Opdycke
    T Opdycke says:

    Hi Noelle,

    What fun! It's so exciting planting roses or any plant that you've been anxiously awaiting. Here's to your roses having a long, healthy, abudant blooming life. Cheers!

  3. Carol
    Carol says:

    Noelle, Your children are precious… you are lucky to have so much help! I hope each rose grows as beautifully as each child that claims them as their own. I look forward to updates! ;>))

  4. leavesnbloom
    leavesnbloom says:

    oh Noelle those roses will flourish now in all that beautiful soil. I am glad to see that you too are using the fungi along with your planting mix. I bought lots of it last week to use from now on with my plantings. David Austin recommends it for not just his roses but other plants too.

    I really like your finishing touches with the cobble stone.

    I can't wait either seeing them in bloom!


  5. Di
    Di says:

    Noelle, it is so exciting and they are going to be so beautiful and fragrant there at the patio. And your son is going to be so proud as he watches them grow. Diana

  6. Jeff
    Jeff says:


    It doesn't show whether or not you loosened the soil around the root ball of the young rose plants. What are your thoughts on that?

    It seems as though you use wood chips around your roses as a mulch. Does this attract termites?

  7. Christine B.
    Christine B. says:

    You planted them next to a sitting area: how clever of you! The fragrance will be delightful. I just need to train my neighbor's beagle to dig my holes for me.

    Christine in Alaska

  8. arizonaplantlady@gmail.com
    arizonaplantlady@gmail.com says:

    Thank you for your comments, as always.

    Thanks for the warning. I am have been keeping my eye on my dogs when we let them outside. I hope I can keep them from bothering my new roses.

    Hi Jeff,
    In answer to your questions – I did not loosen the root ball because the roses were barely rooted and it would have done more damage then good. I do loosen only if there is abundant root growth. Thankfully, wood chips do not attract termites, so it is safe to use. Thank you for your questions.

  9. noel
    noel says:

    aloha noelle, can i borrow the kids for awhile, i have quite a few holes to dig up…hey did i mention we have to jack hammer holes here first to dig up a hole so actually most gardeners build up beds here which is alot of work.

    nice job on the rose tips and the nice ring around the roses!

  10. Liisa
    Liisa says:

    Thank you so much for sharing all of the information on planting and pruning roses. It is wonderful to see your kids excited about gardening. How lucky you are to have such wonderful helpers. I look forward to seeing your roses in bloom! 🙂

  11. Skeeter
    Skeeter says:

    It is wonderful to have children involved with planting something. You are setting the seed for future gardeners! Cant wait to see the rose's bloom myself! Good Luck and doggie was a great supervisor! If only we could teach them fur babies to help us at times such as this 🙂

  12. gippslandgardener
    gippslandgardener says:

    Thank you Noelle – I'm going to re-visit all your informative rose posts when it comes time to relocate mine over our winter!
    Loved the $40 hole for a $20 plant saying, that one is going to stick!

  13. Nancy in Sun Lakes AZ
    Nancy in Sun Lakes AZ says:

    I have had the same problem as Tina with the bone meal. I planted an amaryllis bulb in the ground with bone meal and they dug it out in no time. Then I planted it in a high pot and they got to that too. It would be much safer for the roses to put some kind of barrier around them like little fences. Your sweet dog will probably not only love the bone meal, but the blood meal too!!!

  14. Ever Green Tree
    Ever Green Tree says:

    I enjoyed the entire step by step explanation of the process. Great Job Noelle! Will look forward to updates!

    We too have a small separate enclosure for our roses here at home… and boy they are flowering this time of the yr…:)

  15. Kyna
    Kyna says:

    I love English roses! I bet those new roses will be beautiful! 😀 My area is so humid, that all of mine get black spot, no matter what I do 🙁

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