We are a nation of rose lovers; so much so that, in 2017, the rose was voted Britain’s favourite flower!

Containerised rose plants tend to be sold in large, deep containers because of their deep tap root, which often makes them expensive to buy. However, there’s a way of acquiring them more cheaply this time of year, and that’s to buy bare-root.

Definition ‘bare root’

A bare-root rose is simply a plant that has had the soil removed from its roots, been hard-pruned, and has little or no leaves on the stem.


They are only available to buy when rose plants are dormant, i.e. not growing. This tends to be from October until March the following year.

Big benefits

Bare root plants are cheaper to buy than container-grown ones because the supplier doesn’t have to put them in a pot. This saves money on both compost and containers. Transport costs are also reduced as the plants don’t weigh so much as containerised ones. Plus, they take up less space.

Some rose growers believe that bare-root roses establish quicker than container-grown ones. Whether or not that’s the case, they should flower at the same time as containerised rose plants would.

Roses grown in containers being sold in a garden centre

Container rose

Bare root roses laid out on grass

Bare-root rose

When and how to plant bare-root roses

When you receive your bare root parcel put it in a cool, dark place such as a garage, remove the packaging and soak the plant(s) in water. Do this for between one to two hours, keeping the roots totally submerged during that time.

The bare root plant can then be planted in the same way as pot-grown plants. Make sure that you keep the roots covered whilst the planting hole is dug.

Bare root roses planted into the ground

If the soil is frozen or waterlogged or, you’re not able to immediately plant the bare root rose, keep it in a cool, dark place with the roots covered. Spray them daily until you’re ready to plant.

If the soil conditions improve but you’re not ready to plant in the rose’s final position, you can ‘heel the rose in’.

This simply means digging a hole anywhere in the garden, burying the roots and covering it with soil where it can stay until you’re ready to plant it in its final position.

So, for cost-effective roses that you can plant this October, try bare-root roses! They will be well worth the wait once they come out of dormancy.

Find out how to care for your roses year-round:

Rose calendar to grow the best roses

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas: