Roses to light up the shade and your Valentine’s smile

By Lynette L. Walther | Feb 09, 2018
Photo by: Lynette L. Walther A favorite of many, roses are usually considered best planted in full sun. However, there is a large selection of English roses from David Austin that are well suited to a bit of shade. This one is named Heritage.

While roses are one of the first things we think of when it comes to Valentine’s Day (unless it is chocolate), ordinarily we don’t think of roses when it comes to filling out a location with partial sun, but the folks at David Austin Roses tell us to think again.

“Planting roses in shady positions is a great way of bringing color and interest to forgotten areas of the garden. Although, in general, roses will not thrive in a position where there is too much shade, the varieties listed below will do surprisingly well with only four or five hours of good sun each day,” according to David Austin Roses.

“The main consideration when planting roses in shady positions is to avoid areas where there are overhanging branches and dry places where there would be too much competition from the roots of trees and other shrubs. Most of David Austin’s repeat-flowering English roses perform well in partial shade, as well as other repeat-flowering shrub roses, such as the hybrid musks, rugosas and ground covers,” according to the company. “Many once-flowering varieties are suitable for growing in partial shade, particularly the gallicas, damasks and albas. The climbing and rambling roses listed below are all suitable for an open, north-facing wall or other shady position. Again, they only require four or so hours of good sun each day.”

Now is the time to order and get the best selection and best deals on barefoot roses for spring planting. Here’s a link to the David Austin Roses website for more information.

When it comes time to plant, follow these 10 simple steps for planting bareroot roses:

• Rehydrate rose

Place bare-root shrub rose(s) in a bucket of water overnight prior to planting. This will ensure that the roots are well hydrated before planting.

• Prepare the soil

Using a fork, dig the soil over thoroughly and remove any weeds or stones. This will ensure that the new roots can venture freely in their new environment.

• Dig the hole

Dig a hole that is wide enough and deep enough to hold the rose’s roots when spread out. This should be approximately two feet wide and two feet deep.

• Break soil at the hole's base

Using a fork, break up the soil at the base of the hole. This will allow the roots to go deeper into the soil.

• Add well-rotted manure

Mix a small spadeful of well-rotted farmyard manure with the soil in the bottom of the hole. This will add vital nutrients to the soil, helping the rose to establish more effectively. If you can’t source manure from a local farmer, your nearest garden center will offer something similar.

• Apply mycorrhizal fungi

Remove your rose from the bucket of water and sprinkle the recommended amount of mycorrhizal fungi over the roots. Do this over the planting hole, as any excess fungi will drop into the bottom of the hole.

• Position rose in the hole

Position the rose in the center of the hole and spread the roots out. Place a bamboo cane horizontally across the top of the hole to judge if the planting depth is correct. The graft union, which is the swollen area between the roots and the stems, should be just below the bamboo cane, or two to three inches below ground level, in cold winter areas.

• Backfill soil

Fill in and around the roots of the rose using the soil that was originally dug to make the hole.

• Firm-in

Lightly firm the soil around the rose with your foot to ensure that the rose is secure and that there are no air pockets in the soil.

• Water

Water the rose well after planting.

Hydrate bare-root rose bushes overnight in a bucket of water before planting. (Photo by: Lynette L. Walther)
When planting a bareroot rose, position the plant like this, spreading roots to fill planting hole. (Source: David Austin Roses)
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