A barefoot rose is not actually something that means you go barefoot in your rose garden. It is a descriptor that indicates that the roots of the rose are exposed. The rose is, essentially, barefoot. Such rose are also sometimes called bare root roses (but barefoot is a much more fun term).
Most people who choose to plant barefoot roses are those who are looking for that one rose, the rose that is just right. Sometimes a local nursery just will not have what you are looking for. This is where gardening catalogs and the Internet come in.
Most of these businesses that send your rose products through the mail will not send the rose in a container filled with dirt. Most of the time it will be a barefoot rose, roots exposed. Such plants, though they can turn out to be very successful and very beautiful, do require some special attention at the outset.
Barefoot rose gardening can be a very rewarding experience, as it allows you to personally choose the plants that you think better reflect your personality and the feel of your landscape. The following steps can help you ensure that your barefoot roses survive and thrive.
First of all, when the rose arrives, you should immediately look it over. Open the shipping container as soon as it arrives. Be on the look out for broken canes and roots. Trim off damaged sections of the rose with sterilized and sharp pruning shears.
This can help prevent diseases like rot and crown galls. Next, you should soak the roots over night in water. Soaking the roots will help them rehydrate. If you would like, you can also add a diluted rooting activator solution to the water. If you do add rooting activator or add other mild supplements be sure to save the water to use when you plant the rose.
Proper preparation of the planting hole is important for your barefoot rose. Measure your root system and make the hole one and a half times as deep and as wide as the length of the root system. You should create a small mound of soil at the center of the hole. This mound is meant as a support to the root crown.
A new rose bed or soil with a low nutrient value may require that you add a small amount of bone meal or of phosphate rock to the bottom of the hole. Powdered seakelp, though not necessary, sprinkled on the sides and bottom of the planting hole, can also provide the rose with more nutrients.
When you plant your rose, make sure that you do so according to your hardiness zone. It is possible to find this information on the Internet, at a local nursery, or from a local master gardener or horticulture professional. The depth at which you plant your rose is determined by the hardiness zone. For zones requiring more shallow holes, simply fill in the bottom and make your mound higher.
Place the root crown at the top of the mound and arrange the roots down and over the top of the mound. Try to get the roots as equally distributed around the mound as possible. Rose roots grow according to their placement at planting. You want them to be spread and to create a good system.
Roots should never wrap around the rose. They should always be spread out. Hold the rose while you fill in the hole with soil. Carefully water the soil around the roots as you do so to ensure that air pockets around the roots are removed. Do not let the rose sink as you do this, as this will change its depth.
After, and only after, the rose has been watered in should you apply root stimulator. If you used the activator in your soaking solution for the rose, this is the time to use that water. Applying activator before the rose is watered in can result in root burn.
After finishing with the watering, build up soil around the rose plants exposed canes (make sure the top two bud eyes are still exposed, though). When the first new leaves appear and the bud eyes begin swelling, take the soil away from the canes and create a watering well around the rose’s base.