If you are a beginner learning how to grow roses and planning your first rose garden, experts agree that you should start with no more than a dozen plants. Select a site that gets full sun for at least half of the day.
Light shade for a few hours at noon or early afternoon is acceptable and is often beneficial under the scorching summer sun. The location of your rose garden should be protected from damaging winds, but should have free air circulation. This helps against disease and insects and also reduces damage to flowers. In addition, the site should be located away from competing plants with vigorous root systems.
If possible, plant roses during winter months so that the roots can become established before top growth begins. Plants in most commercial rose growing areas are not harvested until November or December. In most parts of Texas, gardeners can plant these dormant bushes as soon as they are available. In West Texas, plant in mid to late February.
Because roses require a well-drained area, gardeners in many locations prepare raised beds, anywhere from 3 to 12 inches above the natural surface. The addition of tile drains or gravel under the bed also will insure proper drainage.
Allow a width of 4 feet for a single row and 6 feet for a double row. Or, have two rows together, and allow a 5 foot walkway to the next row of roses.
Roses thrive in a slightly acid soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. If the soil is alkaline, add agricultural sulfur. Two pounds per 100 square feet is usually sufficient. Roses also will benefit from the addition of ground pine bark, peat, rotted manure or compost.
Before planting roses, soak the roots in water for an hour or longer to help offset any drying that may have occurred. Trim the roots to 12 inches and remove all damaged roots. Cut the canes back 8 inches from where they originate. Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the root system. Place a mound of soil under the base of each bush so the roots will slant downward. Cover the roots and pack by watering. Never tamp them down as this will damage the fragile roots. Roses should be planted so the bud union is just above the soil.