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Love roses? January is the time to plant them

Hybrid tea roses such as Black Magic can be purchased and planted as bare-root plants.
Hybrid tea roses such as Black Magic can be purchased and planted as bare-root plants.

Black Magic hybrid tea rose

Rosa “Black Magic”

Planting areas: USDA Zones 7 to 10

Size: 4 to 7 feet tall

Bloom season: Spring through fall

Exposure: Full sun

Pruning needs: Prune when dormant (December or January).

Water needs: Water regularly.

Snaphot: January is the month to buy and plant bare-root roses, the most economical way to purchase hybrid tea roses.

Buying a dormant plant without soil around its roots allows you to see the plant’s structure and root system before you plant.

Buy a rose with three to five strong, plump canes, or, branches, with smooth bark, avoiding plants with shriveled, brown or damaged canes. The roots should be light colored and symmetrically placed around the trunk.

Look for buds that are plump and brightly colored on the sides of the canes, not swollen ones. Examine the site of the graft union; it should be firm and solid.

Plant bare-root roses as soon as possible, ideally within a day of purchase.

Pick a location that has at least six hours of sunlight and air circulation. Morning sunlight dries foliage and helps prevent powdery mildew.

Roses like well-drained soil that is neutral or slightly acidic. Place the bare-root rose in a tub of water for 12 to 24 hours prior to planting to hydrate the roots.

Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the roots of the plant. Amend native soil with a third to a half portion of organic material such as compost, add half a cup of super phosphate or bone meal to the bottom of the planting hole and mix thoroughly.

Examine the canes and trim if needed to create a cane length of about six inches long, ideally with three to five buds.

Place the plant in position over a cone-shaped mound of amended soil and spread the roots over the cone, then fill in with more amended soil so that the graft union is about an inch above the soil line.

Press firmly to remove air pockets, but don’t compact the soil.

Create a water basin around the new bare-root rose slightly larger in diameter than the root system. Fill the basin with water, making sure the soil around the roots is wet.

Add a 2-inch layer of mulch before the first blooms. After the first blooms, the roots should be developed enough for feeding with a rose plant food.

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