Before you get out in the yard and start your rose planting, stop for a second and think for a minute. There's more to planting your new rose bushes than just digging a hole and deciding when to fertilize. The first thing you have to think about is where you should plant your roses.
Location matters. There are a few things which will determine whether a location is a good one for roses.
Sunlight is the first thing to consider. Most roses need at least six hours of direct sun daily. Shade tolerant roses require four to six hours of sunlight in order to do well.
Look at your soil to see if the place you want to plant roses has the right type. Roses need a lot of nutrients and prefer rich, well drained soil which doesn't have too much clay or sand. Test this by squeezing a handful to make a clump of earth.
If your clump doesn't crumble and stays together, you have too much clay. Roses prefer soil which can stay together easily, but crumble just as easily. Test your soil's acidity too. Roses thrive in soil which is neither too acidic or too basic (make sure you don't have too much chalk or limestone in the soil).
You'll want to make sure that where you plant your roses is not so close to trees or larger plants which may take too many nutrients from the soil and out-compete your roses.
If you turn up a lot of roots when you dig a hole, you'll probably want to plant somewhere else. These roots mean your roses have to compete for water and nutrients. Some roses, especially climbers can do OK in these conditions, but in general roses do best around only other roses.
After you find the best place to plant your rose plant, now you can finally pick up that shovel. Dig your hole slightly wider than the diameter of the pot (or the plant's root system if it's not a potted plant).
The depth of your hole depends on your climate. If you live somewhere with colder weather, you'll want to dig your hole a little deeper. Ask other people who grow roses how deep they usually dig. When you're finished digging, loosen up the soil at the bottom of your hole.
At this point, you might want to provide your roses with a little extra nutrition by adding a little compost and a sprinkling of bone meal to the bottom before planting your rose bushes. Bone meal slowly breaks down and gives phosphorous to your plant's roots. Once you get the rose plant in the hole, spread the roots slightly.
Finally, refill the hole, letting the soil settle evenly around the roots. Give your plant a little water before you top of your hole with the last few inches of dirt. Lightly firm the soil around the new rose plant and give it a little extra water. Proper rose planting is the first step in growing healthy, beautiful roses.