How to Plant Roses: Bare Root Climbing Shrub

Add a dramatic addition to landscaping and learn how to plant bare-root climbing roses. Easy to grow, climbing roses provide a bounty of blooms all season long. With varying fragrances, they are a lovely addition to any cottage or farmhouse garden.

Climbing roses are the perfect flowering plant to add height to the garden. Roses can be grown up the side of the house or barn walls, along a garden fence, over pergolas or arches. Climbing roses are available in many categories – by fragrance, type, best for cutting or shady areas. With a large selection of roses available, be sure to find the right bare root rose for your space in the garden.

Claire Austin Climbing Rose

What are Bare Root Roses?

Bare root roses are dormant plants that have no foliage. Generally, ordered online and shipped to your home to plant in the correct season. They will arrive in a box, look like sticks, with dangling roots, wrapped in plastic with no soil.

Where to Buy Bare Root Roses

While there are many places to buy bare-root roses, I have found that I like purchasing all of mine from David Austin Roses. They have been breeding roses on their family farm in Shropshire for almost 60 years, offer a guarantee, and have expert advice available.

My personal favorite is Claire Austin. A creamy white English climbing rose with a strong myrrh fragrance with a medium-size bloom. Best for health and fragrance, north-facing walls, doorways, and arches, this rose proves to be an excellent climber that offers both beauty and performance.

White Climbing Rose

Where to Plant Bareroot Climbing Roses

Plant your climbing rose in moist but well-drained, fertile soil. Most climbing roses do best with at least 4 hours of sunlight during the day, but some are tolerant of shade. Generally, the more sun, the better, but afternoon shade can be beneficial when the afternoon sun is hot.

Climbing roses should be planted where they have enough space to grow and so that the roots will not have to compete with other plants, trees, or shrubs.

Roses are very versatile, and there is a rose for almost all growing conditions. Always read the instructions that come with the rose to learn more about it and know the best growing conditions to plant bare-root climbing roses.

Planting a Climbing Rose Bush

When to Plant Bareroot Climbing Roses

Bare-root climbing roses are best planted in the spring after the last frost. Planted on a dry day when the soil is not frozen or extremely wet. Climbing bare root roses should be planted between January and May, depending on your location.

In Missouri, we are located in the South Central /Lower Midwest area. We are in zone 6 and plant bare-root in the latter part of April or early May.

Planting Bare Root Roses

Supplies Needed

Climbing Rose Care

How to Plant Bare Root Climbing Roses

Step 1: Rehydrate Rose

When roses arrive through the mail, they will be wrapped in plastic wrapping around the bare roots. Open the box, remove the plastic wrapping and place the roots in a bucket of water. Allow the rose to rehydrate for a minimum of two hours or up to six hours.

Bare root roses are often planted the same day they arrive in the mail. However, if you cannot do this, the roots will need to be kept moist. Open the plastic wrapping, sprinkle the roots with water, and then wrap them back up for a day or two.

Soaking Bare Root Roses

Step 2: Dig Hole

Remove any weeds or large stones from the area the climbing roses will be planted. Dig a hole large enough for the roots using a garden spade. The hole should be dug approximately 12-18 inches deep and 16-24 inches wide depending on how wide the roots are.

Step 3: Add Compost and Rose Food

Using the garden spade, add two spadefuls of composted manure or compost to the hole, then mix it with the soil in the bottom of the hole.

Add a small amount of rose food to the bottom of the hole. Less is more when applying rose food; follow the directions on the back of the bag. Overfeeding may actually cause more harm than good.

David Austin sells Mycorrhizal Fungi. Sprinkling this over the roots at the time of planting encourages root growth, resulting in a healthier rose.

Step 4: Place Rose in Hole

Remove the bare-root rose from the bucket of water. Set the rose in the hole and spread the roots out evenly. The bottom of the stem, which looks like a knot or a bump just above the root system, should be about 2 inches below the top of the hole.

Step 5: Back Fill Hole

Using soil that was dug out of the hole, backfill around the roots of the rose. Using your foot, lightly firm the soil back around the rose.

Step 6: Water

Water the rose well. Newly planted roses will need more water, especially during hot weather. From May through October, water newly planted roses at least twice a week. During hot weather, roses may need watered every other day. If the rose begins to look wilted, this is a sure sign that it needs watering.

Gently water close to the base of the rose, avoiding getting water on the flowers or foliage. Climbing roses will need about two gallons at each time of watering.

Step 7: Mulch

Mulching around the base of the rose provides a protective layer. Mulch helps keep the soil moist, keeps sun and wind from drying the roots, and minimizes weeds while also making the area look more neat and tidy. Apply a three-inch layer around the base of the rose.

Mulch Bare Root Roses

Should You Soak Bare Root Roses Before Planting?

Before planting bare-root roses, soak them in water to re-hydrate the rose. Placing the roots in a bucket of water for at least two hours will get the rose re-hydrated and ready for planting. Soaking for two to six hours is ideal, and roses do not need to be soaked overnight.

How Long Does it Take for a Bare Root Roses to Leaf out After Planting?

After planting, it will take around four to six weeks before a bare root rose begins to leaf out. Often the first green leaf is followed by many others, and before long, the first rosebud will appear. Bare root roses will bloom in the first year they are planted, and each year they bloom more and more. Growing climbing roses requires patience as it can take three to five years for roses to reach full maturity.

Climbing Roses on Barn

Something is enchanting about growing climbing roses and watching as they cover arbors, trellis, or fences. The imagery for our space above is that white Claire Austin roses will grow along the fence and eventually up an arbor around the doorway entry of our barn. Eventually, covering the entrance with long, sweet-smelling trails of roses. 

Thank you so much for stopping in to visit here at Rocky Hedge Farm. If you love flower gardening be sure to check out more of my favorite posts:

Thank you for sharing!

5 thoughts on “How to Plant Roses: Bare Root Climbing Shrub”

  1. I love David Austin roses and looked at their catalog trying to decide what I wanted and then life happened and suddenly it was too late to order! So now that I have finally narrowed down the field of prospective roses, I will get them ordered next spring for sure! It was nice to hear from you and look forward to a tour of your gardens soon.

    • Thank you so much! I planted two last year and just loved them! They are a bit costly but I know that they are high quality and well worth the investment!

  2. I have two David Austin roses, red and peach colors. I need to get a white one, thanks for this tutorial on roses, they do smell so good.

  3. Love your barn photos! Everything looks so pretty in your yard. You and your family have really cleaned up your land.


Leave a Comment