How to plant roses – gardening experts explain how to avoid falling for the same mistakes as David Beckham when planting up

The easy-to-follow guide to planting roses approved by pros

A garden with pink roses growing alongside other plants
(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

As England's national flower, it’s no surprise that roses can be found in almost every garden around the UK. And yet, many garden owners don’t know how to plant roses correctly – we’re looking at you, David Beckham.

Despite their delicate appearance, roses are quite hardy plants, able to thrive in almost any type of soil and even in a shaded location, despite preferring a daily 4-hour exposure to the sun. But there are definitely some ground rules to planting roses and how to grow roses in general.

That’s why we asked our gardening experts for an easy-to-follow guide to rose planting so that you know what to do and what not to do next time you decide to plant a rose bush, including answers to David Beckham’s rose questions and struggles that we’ve all been witness to when the footballer’s shared his recent foray into gardening on his Instagram.

Coral roses growing in the garden

(Image credit: Future PLC/Alun Callender)

How to plant roses

‘Flowering rose shrubs are a perfect way to add colour, sweet fragrance and a romantic feel to your outdoor space,’ says Jamie Shipley, gardening expert and managing director of Hedges Direct.

But to keep it looking, smelling and feeling that way, you need to know how to care for it, how to prune your roses, but first and foremost, how to plant them.

What you’ll need

Light pink rose plants in containers

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

How to prepare the ground for roses

Before it even gets to the rose planting day, it’s best to prepare the ground for your roses days in advance. And while roses can be planted in almost any type of soil, there are some kinds that the plant can’t handle - poor, sandy soil or heavy clay soil.

‘Roses can be planted in almost any soil type but they will require good drainage and for it to be rich in organic matter,’ says Petar Ivanov, gardening expert at Fantastic Gardeners. ‘Because of that, if you have poor, sandy soil or heavy clay soil in your garden, you can mix some compost or other organic matter with it to improve it. Add five to 10 centimetres of organic material and mix thoroughly into the garden bed.’

Jamie continues, ‘When it comes to planting out your roses, fork the soil over to bring any rocks or other obstructions to the surface and remove them. Also make sure to remove any weeds that could steal nutrients or interfere with your rose’s root system from the area. Mix a well rotted organic compost and a fertiliser to your soil to add nutrients and improve water retention.’

Petar Ivanov portrait
Petar Ivanov

Petar Ivanov is one of the company's top-performing experts and manages over six teams of gardeners, delivering stunning landscape results and fostering a deep connection with nature through his work.

A garden with pink roses growing alongside other plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

How deep should roses be planted?

We’ve seen David Beckham’s struggle determining how deep to dig the hole for his roses, and he was right to question it as it's a big detail you need to get right when planting a rose.

‘Because these flowers have large root systems, they'll need to be planted deep, at about 30 to 45 centimetres deep,’ Petar recommends.

Jamie elaborates further, ‘The hole you plant your roses in should be at least as deep as your spade’s head - or around 40 centimetres deep. Use a fork to remove clumps and break up the soil at the base of the hole to allow the roots of the rose to penetrate deeper into the earth.’

If you’re planting a container-grown rose plant, once the hole is ready, take the rose out of the container following this method, ‘Make sure that you wear gardening gloves while removing the rose from its container and tap the side of the pot gently to ease the rose out without disturbing the root structure in the process,’ Petar advises.

A pink rose flower growing in the garden

(Image credit: Future PLC/Alun Callender)


Where is the best place to plant roses?

Whether you’re planting one of the best roses for small gardens or a more expansive variety, most roses prefer having a little bit of sunshine for a few hours a day.

‘Roses need to receive direct sunlight to thrive, with a minimum of 4 hours per day for the best results,’ says Petar Ivanov, gardening expert at Fantastic Gardeners. ‘Despite that, roses can still grow well even when they're planted against a north wall, as long as they are in an airy and light location. Certain varieties of roses can do well in more shaded conditions, but it's always better to know the care needs of the rose variety you're buying.’

Pink roses growing in the garden

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

What is the best month to plant roses?

When you plant your rose will largely depend on whether you’ve purchased a container-grown plant or a bare-root one as Jamie Shipley, gardening expert and managing director of Hedges Direct, explains.

‘While pot-grown roses can be planted all year round, it is best to plant bare roots from late winter to early spring - preferably March. This will give your rose shrub time to establish before the growing season begins later in the spring. For both pot-grown and bare root roses just make sure the risk of any late winter frost is gone as the frozen ground can damage your newly planted rose shrub,’ he concludes.

And now you know everything you need to get rose planting!

Content Editor

Sara Hesikova has been a Content Editor at Ideal Home since June 2024, starting at the title as a News Writer in July 2023. Sara brings the Ideal Home’s readership features and news stories from the world of homes and interiors, as well as trend-led pieces, shopping round-ups and more, focusing on all things room decor, specialising in living rooms, bedrooms, hallways, home offices and dining rooms. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors, working with the likes of 91 Magazine and copywriting for luxury bed linen brand Yves Delorme among others. She feels that fashion and interiors are intrinsically connected – if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.