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Maybe you're roses were growing to close together, or maybe you're moving and want to take a rose you grew and nurtured with you. Whatever the reason, roses can be transplanted and come back as good as before they were moved. It just requires extra care and lots of watering.

There are different trains of thought on when to transplant roses; it also matters where you live. The general rule is to transplant a rose when it's dormant. The weather will be cool and moist, and the shrub will suffer less shock in late winter or early spring. Having it pruned back for spring will help in transplanting. In the south and southwest roses can be transplanted in fall ,winter, and spring.. In northern zone, late March through early April, or in the early fall. Be extra careful with climbing roses. Because of their size they are harder to transplant, but it can be done with a light pruning before and lots of watering. Depending upon your climate, you have to transplant rose bushes when they're not dormant. Use common sense with this. If you live in the south or southwest and have hot summers, do not transplant in hot weather. Wait until fall or you have a cooler spell. These rules apply for northern climates also. Follow the directions below and you can successfully transplant any rose.

Successful Transplanting of Roses:
(This method has been used in my garden for many years from spring through early fall in Transplanting roses in a northern zone.)
  1. Prepare the new rose bed ahead of time. Make sure the hole is deep and wide. Have good loose soil and compost ready to cover. To help the rose set roots in 3-weeks, add bone meal to the bottom of the hole. For small shrubs, add 1/2 cup. For large shrubs or climbers, add 1-1/2 cups. This will promote new root production and get your rose off to a good start. Hold off on more fertilizer until the rose has starting growing new leaves again. Wait about 3-weeks, then fertilize lightly the rest of summer.

  2. The day before you transplant water the shrub heavily. You want your rose bush to have absorbed a lot of water in the canes to lessen the shock and keep it from wilting. Watering the day before is really important in order for the rose to survive. It's the roots that absorb water and lots of water at this stage is beneficial.

  3. When you're ready to transplant, cut in a large circle with your spade around the shrub. Make the root ball as big as possible, then gently dig deeply and lift out the rose. Try to dig up and save (intact) as many roots as you can; this will lessen any shock. If it's cool in the spring, roses can go in pots until you can plant. If it's summer, I would recommend planting in the prepared rose bed right away.

  4. Gently place the rose slightly higher than before to settle in the hole. Try not to disturbed the roots as much as possible. Cover with good soil and compost; gently tamp down, and water again very thoroughly. Wilting is the rose's worst enemy now, if it starts to wilt water some more. If it still wilts, you will have to prune back the wilted leaves and flowers. Some people at this stage prune back the rose bush by a 1/3 or more, so the rose sets roots and not flowers. I have transplanted both ways. If you water before and afterwards, a rose bush should be fine without heavy pruning. Water every day for 3-weeks to get the rose off to a good start and continue to water all summer for successfully transplanted roses.