I received a ‘Blue Girl’ tea rose bush for Valentine’s Day. It said to plant immediately. But with the bad weather I did not and it is growing like a weed in the packaging! I feel like I should wait til all freezes are over to plant. What do you think? Maybe plant it in a 5-gallon bucket and then transplant it when it is warmer?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Holly: The grower’s planting instructions attached to plant material do not always take into consideration the time of year or what zone you are gardening in, so you are smart to ask! Does your rose currently have foliage or blooms? If the answer is yes, and I assume it is since you said “it is growing like a weed,” it is better to wait until at least the end of March-early April to plant it in the ground. If you plant it now, the new growth would likely be damaged by the cold temperatures. It would be too much of a shock to the plant and could result in lack of flowers or even worse, so for now keep your Valentine’s gift in a sunny, cool space. Keep the soil evenly moist and avoid fertilizing. If you received this rose as a bare root plant, meaning it does not have any foliage, you can go ahead and plant it. Otherwise wait a few weeks, and when it is time to plant your hybrid tea rose pick a space in the garden that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight. Dig your hole twice as wide and just as deep as the container it is currently growing in. This will give the roots enough space to spread out and continue growing. Back fill with the soil that you dug out and amend the soil with compost. Add a thin layer of mulch no more than 2 inches thick around the base of the plant, and be careful not to pile it up around the canes. This will help the soil stay moist and keep the weeds down. ‘Blue Girl’ hybrid tea rose is a smaller rose, only reaching 2-3 feet tall and 3-4 wide at maturity. I have never seen one in bloom but they are supposed to produce a lavender-blue flower. Sounds delightful!