Q: Have we left it too late to plant roses? My dad says no, but our neighbour says yes and to leave it until spring.
A: If you’re planting container-grown roses, you can plant at just about any time of year – as long as the ground isn’t too wet or frozen. If you’re planting bare-rooted roses, do it now (you should just about have time).
Prune any broken or damaged roots and clip off weak growth. Dig a decent-sized hole – big enough to accommodate the roots with a bit of room to spare – and incorporate plenty of well-rotted manure or compost. Put the rose in the hole, spreading out its roots and ensuring that the graft (the knobbly bit where the rootstock meets the rose stem) is slightly above the soil level.
Fill in the hole, pushing soil between the roots so there are no air spaces. Then use your feet to firm the soil. Water well.
Over the next few months it will pay to check that the roses haven’t been loosened by winter winds. If they have, firm them back in.
If you are planting new roses where old roses once grew, dig out the soil and replace it with fresh soil or compost with no history of growing roses because old rose beds are likely to harbour a disease known as rose sickness, which can affect the growth of newly-planted roses.