If you are thinking of planting roses, or adding to the ones you already have, December is the best time to do so because the nurseries in our area receive large shipments of bare root plants. Bare root means that the plants are not potted, but rather are sold without pot or soil, and thus need to be planted right away.
Why choose bare root?
Container-grown roses usually have good looks on their side; you’ll find them in springtime at all kinds of garden centers, and they’re usually nicely leafed out and may even have flowers on them. Beautiful as those flowers are – and as nice as it is to have a live visual of what they look and smell like – the blooms are actually a bad thing because the bush’s energy naturally goes toward sustaining the flowers instead of focusing on root development.
The advantages of bare root roses:
Bare root roses can focus their energies on good root development instead of working to support extensive leaf growth during the stressful time of planting.
Bare root roses are very convenient since there is no soil to contend with. They can be planted earlier in the growing season since there are no leaves to get nipped by frost.
Because the top of the bush is naked, so to speak, the roots can concentrate on settling in to their new home and not on providing water to the leaves or flowers. As long as you plant your bare-root roses at the right time, they’re likely to take off faster and better than their containerized counterparts.
Bare root roses can be purchased at many local nurseries, or you can order them online and they will arrive on your doorstep, ready for planting. Check out the huge selection at Regan Nursery in Freemont Regan Nursery. Here is a link to a how-to sheet on selecting and planting bare root roses, courtesy of U.C. Davis Master Gardeners how-to plant bare root roses.