When you receive your roses, place them in a bucket of water completely covering the root system. Fertilome Root Stimulator may be added to the water to enhance root stimulation. Soak them for 2-24 hours in a cool area. If roses cannot be planted immediately, heel them in the ground by covering with six to eight inches of moist soil then plant as soon as possible.
Prior to planting, inspect the rose on the shank (or trunk) and locate the grafted bud. Plant in ground, or pot (1-2 gallon size) with the bud-eye (grafted on the shank or trunk) slightly above ground level (soil covering the root system only). Do not fertilize at time of planting. Use a good soil mix containing equal parts of top soil, humus, and perlite.
As soon as the canes of the rootstock produce leaves, cut off the whole top of the plant just above the bud-eye which is grafted on the shank (or trunk). This is critical in getting your roses off to a good start! Seal the cut with orange shellac, Elmer's glue, or whatever type of sealer you prefer, being careful not to get it on the bud-eye. In seven to fourteen days after you cut off the top you should see the bud-eye start growing out, and from this point your first flower will bloom in about 5-7 weeks depending on weather conditions.
1. A bare-root maiden plant
2. The bud-eye
3. Where to cut
5. After cut
6. After four weeks
Rabbits love to eat new rose growth. Chicken or poultry wire placed around the bush is the only sure way I've found to protect them. As your first maiden cane develops, be sure to keep it out of strong winds. A bamboo stake inserted vertically, aligned with the cane, and lightly secured with a piece of cloth or old panty hose will protect from wind damage.
As your plant develops, you should start a regular spray program. Always water your bushes before you spray your roses. Fertilizer can be applied when your maiden cane has a few sets of leaves. Do not let your plants dry out. Keep the soil moist. When your first flower is finished blooming, cut the stem off just above the first five-leaflet set beneath the bloom. New shoots (basal canes) will start to develop near the base of the plant, creating the bud-union and future canes.