Caring for Band Roses

I've gotten a lot of comments on social media and emails from customers asking how to take care of the roses once they receive them. For many, this may be the first time you are receiving roses planted in quart-sized nursery pots, often referred to as "band" roses.

I have created a video that can be found here:

Planting / Caring for Band Roses

I'm also going to add some information here. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to 

Our Roses

Our roses come in quart-sized nursery pots. These roses are typically referred to as "band" roses. All of our roses are "own root," meaning they are propagated via taking cuttings or by air layering off a mature plant and grow their own roots. None of our roses are "grafted," (which is when the "rose you want" is attached to the root system of a different rose). There are pros / cons to either own root and/or grafted roses. I'm not going to get into that here; there is information readily available in various Facebook groups and websites that describe the differences. I recommend reaching out to your local American Rose Society (ARS) Consulting Rosarians for suggestions on what does well in your area.

Planting in a Larger Pot

When you receive your rose(s) from us, I recommend "up-potting" them first. I personally prefer to go for 1-gallon nursery pots, but 1-, 2-, or 3-gallon nursery pots are all fine depending on what you have on-hand. I think that when they're in a smaller pot, the heat from the sun on the black nursery pot warms up the soil and encourages the roots to grow faster. As a personal anecdote, it seems like roses I've moved from a 3" pot to a quart-sized pot grew faster than roses I've moved from a 3" pot to a 1-gallon pot.

I like to keep the roses in this larger pot until they grow roughly double in size. This seems to usually be about 1 - 2 months; some roses grow faster than others.

(Our roses come planted in ProMix Organic potting mix).


All of our roses are fertilized with products approved for organic gardening. While they are in their quart-sized pots, we typically fertilize them with 1/4 TB of "Rose Tone" fertilizer once a month and supplement with "Neptune's Harvest" fish fertilizer every other week.

Once moved into a larger pot, we use between 1/2 - 1 TB (depending on the size of the larger pot) of "Rose Tone" fertilizer once a month and continue to supplement with "Neptune's Harvest". We recommend not using anything too strong on these young plants.

Once they're planted in-ground, we fertilize them as we normally would for the rest of our roses, making sure to stop fertilizing about 6 weeks before the anticipated first frost in fall/winter, so they'll have time to harden off for the winter.


You should water roses slowly while in the pots. I prefer to do a little bit of water in each pot very slowly, going rose to rose, and then going back over them all again. If you do too much water too quickly, it tends to just run out of the bottom of the pot. You don't want the roses to be in soggy soil - this leads to the roots rotting and potentially all sorts of fungal issues, fungus gnats, etc. While in pots I typically wait until the top layer gets slightly dry (but not dry the entire way through) to water. If the potting mix gets completely dry, it tends to become hydrophobic, making it more difficult to absorb water. If it gets to that stage, I recommend filling a bowl with water and sitting the pot inside of the bowl to absorb water from the bottom.

Once the rose is planted in the ground, I recommend frequent but again, slow, watering for the first 2 - 3 weeks while the rose is getting established. As the roses get more established, they can be watered less frequently. Ideally, you'll want about 1" of water per week (whether from irrigation or rain). 

Planting in-Ground

Once the roses have roughly doubled in size in their larger pots, I then plant them in the ground. Roses prefer 5 - 6 hours of sun daily. When planting, I dig a hole 18" x 18" x 18" minimum. I then take compost, the potting mix the rose was growing in when it was in the pot, and the existing soil from the hole I've dug and mix that all together. Given the size of the roots, you will probably need to backfill the hole slightly - the main intention was to loosen the soil and add organic material where the roots will grow. Because there is no graft, you don't have to worry about whether it's planted above or below the surface. I like to fill the hole with water at this point. It serves 2 purposes: 1. To see how quickly water drains out of the hole - (if it sits there and does drain, you have a problem!), and 2. To wet the area where the rose is about to be planted.

Plant the rose at roughly the same level it was in the pot, but keep in mind while planting that the soil will most likely settle a bit, so I typically mound it up around the base of the rose a little bit. While planting, you want to make sure to eliminate any potential air pockets around the roots - you want them to be completely touching soil. We also recommend adding a layer of mulch to help retain moisture and keep weeds down.


We try very hard to be "no spray" as much as possible. Occasionally, we have an issue arise where we do spray the roses. When this happens, again, we use only products approved for organic gardening. Typically something like Bonide Copper Fungicide. Again, keep in mind that these roses in their first season are more delicate than their 3-gallon nursery pot older rose siblings.

Winter Protection

Depending on your zone, you may want to do some winter protection for your roses. This is often as simple as adding a fresh layer of mulch. Some may want to add a layer of burlap wrapped around the rose. Some fashion cones out of newspapers and fill them with leaves to insulate around the roses. Again, this is something that I suggest reaching out to your local Consulting Rosarians for advice for your specific area.


We recommend not pruning your roses from us for the first year or two until they are well-established (except to remove dead canes). You can deadhead your repeat bloomers to encourage repeating flushes.