Knowing how and when to transplant roses makes all the difference if you want to keep these shrubs blooming beautifully. Roses are sensitive when it comes to moving them about, but changing locations is part of caring for them.

In fact, moving roses can often be healthy. They sometimes need more light, or a bigger space to grow. Or it can also be as simple as a need for better drainage, or to liven up another section of the garden.

roses of various colors

As enthralling as the rose is, sometimes an owner has to give it up for practical reasons. Thorns notwithstanding, roses are quite delicate so care must be taken if they have to be moved.

At the very least, knowing how and when to transplant them is crucial to ensuring the flowers will not be in any danger of wilting and will continue to survive. It would be very helpful to learn some basic tips when transplanting roses to enjoy its beauty for a long time.

Pro Tip:

You CAN transplant roses during the growing season.

When to Transplant Your Roses

Being aware of the rose’s growth cycle means less stress on the plant if it has to be relocated. The winter months are best for transplanting when they are dormant, or there is minimal metabolic activity happening due to low temperatures.

Not only is it a better time to move a rose bush, but also more comfortable for the gardener because of the cooler weather. However, it may not be a good time for the owner to do this, so any time is a good time provided special care is taken as this is being done.

A good rule of thumb is after annual pruning, if possible. At this time, the plant is smaller and moving it is easier. On the part of the roses, it is less prone to transplant shock, especially to its roots which primarily sustains life.

But don’t worry if the cold months aren’t a good time for you, replanting can also be done during the growing season. The key is careful preparation to minimize the stress on roses. Some are even able to successfully do this during the hot summer months.

It Needs Water

Transplant shock, or any situation stressful to roses can be survived provided the plant has enough water. Roses will survive any shocking incident as long as there is enough water.

There is a major difference before and after replanting and that’s in the roots. A well settled rose bush will have more roots.

Transplanting always results in leaving or destroying some of these roots. While soil is an important factor when transplanting, it is not a substitute for loss of roots, the main source of the plant’s nourishment.

A rose plant will have less capacity to take in water quickly after transplanting, simply because it has less roots to do the job. To protect the rose plant from too much stress, it would help to water it a lot a day prior to transplanting.

That means getting as much water into plant as is possible, so it has plenty or reserve in the cells once it has to be moved. With its cells having ample supply in the interim after transplanting, there is less demand on the roots.

Don’t over-water the plant, though. And always hyper-water the day before, so you don’t deal with mud when transplanting. With enough water, the rose bush should be able to withstand the relocation.

Imagine if you transplant a wilting rose. Chances are great it won’t survive. So if it isn’t sprightly-looking, give it another day and feed it with water.

4 Important Transplanting Tips

Water is essential during transplants, but there are other things to consider that are also crucial to surviving. A bigger root ball is one. The more root and top structure you get for transplanting, the better.

If the plant is heavy, like they get to be in certain areas, then use a wheelbarrow or have someone assist you. If you can’t take a really big root and top structure, go for the bigger roots than top.

1) Prune Just Enough

pruning a rose plant

Don’t give in to pruning a rose plant severely prior to transplanting during the growing season. It’s not necessarily true that a smaller root ball will be unable to support a bigger top structure. Hold off whacking a heavy top.

Remember, part of the plant’s nourishment is the sugars from the leaves, and growing them to make the top structure was an investment for its future food supply.

It is important to allow the plant to decide how much it can take, and giving it the necessary support to survive. So get as much top structure as you’re able to manage, then just observe if the plant tips are wilting or not.

If they are, then water it immediately. Prune those that didn’t survive. Eventually, the top structure will be balanced against the new root ball. So pruning is also necessary for survival.

2) Minimize Exposure

Ideally, digging out the rose’s new home in advance of actual transplanting is best. This way you won’t expose the root ball to hot, dry air any longer than is necessary, particularly during summer.

The objective is to preserve as much water in the plant as possible. If possible, the rose plant should go from old location to new home immediately.

Otherwise, keep the root ball in a cool, shady place while making sure the roots are not exposed to the hot sun. Cover it with a burlap bag if it will be out of the ground for several minutes.

3) Fertilize…Not

It’s better to hold off on fertilizers until new growth starts. This way, the soil won’t be competing with the roots in sucking water because fertilizers are concentrated. And go easy on fertilizers once you start.

4) Water, Water and More Water

As a rule, roses need a lot of water anytime more so during the growing season. After transplantation, they’ll need more than the usual amount.

Any sign of wilting means it needs more water. Once there is new growth, then the plant is starting to settle in.

But even if it’s out of the high-risk phase, it still needs more water, especially if it has a big top structure that a smaller root ball will have difficulty supporting. After next season’s pruning things will look prettier.

Recap: Transplanting During Growth Season

When transplanting roses during growth season, remember preparation means hydrating the plant the day before, preparing the hole in advance when possible, and arranging for help during the replanting itself.

On the day itself, get as big a root ball and top structure as possible for transplanting. Remove some of the top growth if it’s too big to handle, and don’t expose the plant to hot, dry air for a long time.

To help the transplanted rose recover, water as much as you can, don’t fertilize yet unless a soil test requires it and even then, be careful applying them. Prune withered or dead leaves to allow new growth.

For the rest of the season, keep watering the plant. They need it to become settled and grow strong. You can later begin to fertilize once new growth starts.

Same Location No Problem

If that area in your garden has hosted a rose bush, it’s likely a good place to replant there or add to the existing plants. A nutrient-filled sandy loam soil, with lots of organic material is good for roses. Prepared in advance, it will showcase beautiful flowers continuously.

Still, it’s important to know the needs of the new rose which will replace an old one, or the addition. Primarily, that’s space and sun. Different varieties have different needs. Some roses burn more easily, while others are happy with longer exposure to sunlight.

If the original plant was quite hungry, make sure the area has enough nourishment to host the replacement or an additional plant. Always check the soil after removing the first plant, to see if it needs to be nourished with organic material.

There are available soil tests that are big help to preparing the area for replanting. Keep in mind the tip about the use of fertilizers.

First, the transplanted rose will have a smaller root ball, so go easy on the use of fertilizers, in case it really is necessary based on the soil test results. Smaller root balls will be more sensitive to fertilizer-induced osmosis and you might be harming more than helping the rose plant.

an absolutely beautiful white rose

Transplanting roses isn’t really complicated especially if love flowers and puttering outdoors. With proper care in transplanting, you can enjoy more roses in your garden.