14 Tips for Picking the Best Time to Plant Roses 

Roses are a very popular flower that is often associated with love and romance. But for many gardeners roses don’t always conjure warm feelings of admiration.

Some view it as picky or too hard to grow. Even seasoned gardeners find challenges with growing roses.

However, roses aren’t always difficult to grow. But they do call for proper care.

With these 15 tips, you’ll be able to grow a healthy plant that has more blooms than you imagined were possible.

1. Plant in the Spring

When you decide to plant a rose, you may opt to do it when the plant is already in bloom. The benefit of planting roses in the spring around April or May is that you’ll get an instant burst of color.

Many people love planting rose bushes that are already in bloom so they can enjoy the beauty of the rose sooner. However, this can make it more difficult for the roses to adapt to their new environment and yield a decent amount of growth.

Plus, you should be aware that planting roses in April and May means they will have to deal with the upcoming summer heat sooner rather than later.

2. Get a Jump Start

You can get a jump on planting roses. A lot of nurseries receive their stock of roses around January and February.

2 flowers in a nursery
Check your local nursery for roses around January or February so you can get a jumpstart on planting your flowers.

When you plant your roses early around February and March, you will give your little rose bushes the chance to produce roots into the soil. As a result, they will have the opportunity to get nice and settled in their new home by the time they begin to bloom.

Giving your roses the chance to establish roots while the weather is mild makes them better equipped to handle the blazing summer heat when it arrives.

3. Wait Until the Fall

Another option is to plant them in the fall. If you wait until the autumn, make sure you plant the roses about six weeks prior to the first frost in your area. Doing this will give the roots more than enough time to delve into the soil before your plant goes dormant over the winter.

4. Purchase Roses in Containers

If you require more flexibility in planting time then purchase roses in containers. Container roses are hardier than bare-root roses. You can plant them as late as May. You’ll still get good results, but you’ll get even better results if you start with earlier planting.

Doing so gives your rose bushes the chance to make good root growth and start to become established before they begin to bloom. Plus, they will get a chance to get settled in before the strong heat of summer arrives.

3 roses in containers
Buy your roses already in a container if you’re new to growing them and want to make it as easy on yourself as possible. You’ll also make it easier for the plants to thrive.

Heat and blooming put stress on the plants and make it more difficult for them to get established. Giving them that extra time to make good root growth before high temps and blooming occur positions them to be healthier.

5. Opt for Bare-root Roses

Bare-root roses are a great option since they are normally available only in the early part of spring. These are the roses you see in boxes. They’re typically shipped via mail order.

The best time to plant them is while they’re still dormant (before the shoots begin to grow off of the rose plant’s main branch). It’s better for the vitality of the plant if it’s in the ground before it starts to put energy into growing new stems and leaves.

Avoid buying bare-root roses after February. By this time they have already begun to sprout in the package. As soon as you get your bare-root roses home you should plant them.

The best time to plant your roses is when the daytime temperatures are between 40-60 degrees Fahrenheit.

6. Wait for Favorable Weather

Avoid planting your roses during extreme weather conditions such as during a drought. Also, do not plant them when the ground is water-logged.

Don’t try to work soil that’s too frozen or sopping wet and muddy from spring rains. Wait until the soil has dried if it is muddy. Doing so will allow for proper planting.

4 frozen rose
Avoid planting your roses in unfavorable weather conditions such as when it is too cold. You don’t want to have frozen roses on your hands. 

7. Let the Frost Pass

When it comes to planting roses it’s all about timing. To ensure that you’ll have lots of gorgeous blooms all summer, wait until the danger of frost has passed.

The soil needs to be warmed up so it’s easy to work with. When you’re in the clear feel free to start planting.

8. Let the Weather Warm Up

Wait until the temperatures are between 40 and 60 degrees before planting your roses. You want to give the plant a fighting chance to settle in and form strong roots before summer’s blazing heat arrives.

9. Opt for Quality

Purchase the highest-quality rose bushes that are available at your nursery. The investment of more money will be worth it.

Your chances of growing a healthy, vigorous plant that produces lots of roses will increase. Before buying the plant, look over the root system for signs of damage or dryness.

5 inspect the roots before planting
Hold your plant up and inspect all of it. Don’t just look at the top, look at the roots on the bottom to check for dryness or damage.

If you spot any, it’s a tell-tale sign that this plant is not the best quality and will never reach its full potential. You want to give your plants a chance to thrive.

Do this by picking rose plants that are resistant to common diseases. Check with your local nursery about which problems are most common for roses in your area.

Ask which varieties are best equipped to fight these problems. Without a high-quality rose bush to start with it won’t matter when you plant it. So don’t be cheap – get the best.

10. Get Familiar With Your Hardiness Zone

Know your hardiness zone to determine when the last frost date is. With this information, you will be able to plant your bare roots or rose plants according to the zone guideline.

Zones are listed one through thirteen. You will find that in most hardiness zones that the optimal time to plant roses is in the early spring.

11. Plant for Zones 3-5

If you live in the far northern portion on the central interior of the mainland you are in an area that has some of the coldest zones which include zones 3, 4, and 5 – with zone 3 being the coldest. The last frost date for zones 3, 4, and 5 is May 15 so you can plant your roses after this date.

6 know the cold zones
For the cold zones of 3, 4, and 5 you will need to wait later to plant your roses so they will thrive. Hold off until the last frost date of May 15th to begin planting. 

12. Plant for Zones 6-8

If you live in the southern middle portion of the mainland and central coastal areas you are in the middle zones of 6, 7, and 8. The last frost date is April 1 to April 15 for zone 6.

For zone 7 the last frost date is mid-April. The last frost date for zone 8 is March 21 to March 31. Plant your roses after these last frost dates.

13. Plant for Zones 9-11

If you live in the deep southern half of the country and on the southern coastal margins you are in the warmer zones of 9, 10, and 11. The last frost date is one to two weeks in January.

Higher zones can be found in Hawaii (up to 12) and Puerto Rico (up to 13). Whereas, the lower zones can be found in Alaska (down to 1).

14. Get the Spot Right

Once you have your zone figured out, you can move on to selecting the best spot for your rose. To ensure that it will be happy and healthy give it the best conditions to allow it to thrive. Give it full sun, rich soil, compost, and plenty of air circulation.

Remember that the best time to plant roses has a lot to do with following your area’s hardiness zone guidelines. Plant your roses after the last frost date. Planting your rose at the right time and providing it with excellent care will have you impressing all your neighbors in no time.

1 best time to plant roses