General gardening topics

How to plant a standard rose tree

Last updated on March 31st, 2022

Our site is reader supported, this means we may earn a small commission from Amazon and other affiliates when you buy through links on our site.

Standard rose trees produce some of the most beautiful floral displays, no matter where you plant them. That being said, it is essential you start the process off on the right foot in order to set your roses up for success. 

Soil and Site Preparation

Roses love sunlight, so make sure the site you choose is one that gets ample sun throughout the day. 

Soil Type

Once you have an area in mind, you need to know the soil you have in your garden so you can make any amendments that are necessary. Roses love fertile well-drained soil, so if you happen to have this type of soil, you are in luck. If not, and you have sandy or chalky soil, you can still make adjustments so that it is suitable for standard rose trees. Loam-based soil or sandy conditions are not a deal-breaker, but chalky soil is.

The best compost for planting in containers

If you are planting standard roses in containers we recommend using a heavy and stable pot that is unlikely to be blown over. We recommend using soil-based compost (such as John Innes potting compost) mixed with a little grit to improve the drainage or using ready-made compost for shrubs and roses.

Westland John Innes Compost
  • Rich in nutrients for hungry plants to encourage and support growth
  • Stable loam based blend to ensure good strong plant rooting
  • Contains 4 months of plant feed for sustained growth
  • Works best with Roses, Hedging, Fruit Trees and Container Plants

PH Levels

You may also need to invest in a soil pH test kit so you can test the soil. These kits are inexpensive and relatively easy to find. Roses like neutral to acidic soil, happy with an average level of pH 6.5. You can make changes to your soil naturally or with chemicals, and that will change the level of acidity. However, note that any changes to acidity are temporary and your soil will revert to its normal pH level eventually, so be prepared to make changes to the pH level a regular part of your garden maintenance or plant the roses in containers

Suplong Soil pH Meter 3 in 1 Plant Soil Testing Kit With pH, Light & Soil Moisture Meter For Garden Care, Farm, Lawn, Indoor & Outdoor (No Battery Needed)
  • 🌻🌻Kindly NOTE: This soil tester can not be applied to test pH value of any other liquid( pure water and other liquids such as vinegar, juice). If the soil is too dry the soil pointer will not move, and water it before testing.
  • 🌸🌸3 IN 1 FUNCTION: Test soil moisture, pH value and sunlight level of plant with our soil meter, Make it easy for you to know the condition of the plant.
  • 🌻🌻 CONVENIENT OPERATION: The pH moisture meter don't need batteries, just insert the sensor probe into the soil about 2-4 inches, Switch to moisture/pH/light position according to demand, then wait for a few minutes till the pointer stops swinging to get a stable reading on the scale dial.
  • 🌸🌸 INDOOR & OUTDOOR DESIGN: Ideal tool to test the soil conditions ( Moisture/Light/PH) of fruits, flowers, vegetables, shrubs, etc. Lightweight and Portable design, convenient for indoor and outdoor use.
  • 🌻🌻 SCIENTIFICALLY ACCURATE: Premium Double-needle Detection Technology strongly enhances the speed and accuracy of detecting and analyzing soil moisture and pH acidity, Easy & accurately to read moisture, pH and light levels, promote plant growth in a healthy way.

It is recommended that you check the soil well before planting, so you have time to adjust as needed. Once the soil is ready, you can get to planting. 

Planting standard roses

Standard rose tree care

Bare root roses and potted roses

Most standard rose trees come in the form of a bare root tree if you purchase them between November and March. This means the plant roots are not in a pot, and rather, sold with no soil around the roots. This is especially true if you order online. Be advised that when you order your roses, they should be planted quickly upon receipt. You can wait up to one week if the weather is particularly bad, and as long as the roots are kept moist, it shouldn’t damage the roses. However, the bare root plants must not dry out. If they do, you will need to re-hydrate them before planting. Submerge them in a bucket of water for 2 hours before planting.

If you order more than one type of rose, chances are they will arrive mixed in a single bundle, so you will need to exercise caution when separating the plants. 

If you order or buy roses between April and October then they should be potted roses, sometimes the soil will fall away from the roots but this can just be added to the hole when planting.

Planting standard roses in the ground

When you are ready to plant, make sure the hole is wide enough to allow the roots some room to grow and deep enough that the graft point is a few centimetres below the soil level. This will go a long way toward preventing suckers from cropping up uninvited. 

growing standard roses

Add Mycorrhizal Fungi to the soil when planting

Add some root-boosting Mycorrhizal Fungi to the area if possible. This will promote increased water and nutrient intake, suppress soil-based diseases, and improve performance. Always follow the instructions on the label because adding too much can actually burn the new plant. 

Plantworks Ltd RG360 Empathy RHS Endorsed Rootgrow Mycorrhizal Fungi ,White,360g
  • Treated plants will grow a huge secondry root system
  • Improved uptake of nutrients and water
  • One treatment lasts the lifetime of the plant
  • Helps overcome replant problems
  • Treated plants establish better and have improved natural vigour

Holding the rose with one hand, place it at the appropriate depth and backfill the area until the plant can stand on its own. Then let it go and start to firm in the soil around it, adding more until the hole is full. Firming down the soil around the plant will remove air pockets at the root level. 

Staking standard roses

Standard rose trees should be staked and tethered with at least two ties. One should be near the crown and the other, about halfway down the stem. These ties should have spacers to prevent them from rubbing. Doing so will protect them against high winds. Take extra care not to damage the roots when inserting the stake into the ground, sometimes it can be easier to add the stake before you backfill the hole with soil.

Planting standard roses in containers

growing standard roses in pots

Choosing the right compost

If you are planting your standard rose in a container, ensure the pot is filled with loam-based compost (such as John Innes potting compost) or a compost that is sold for shrubs and roses and, if possible, some well-rotted manure. 

Levington John Innes No.3 25 litres- Mature Plant Compost
  • perfect for the final potting of plants into pots or outdoor containers.
  • provides a long-term home with good drainage and stability.

The size (of the pot) should be around 30-40cm wide and tall, depending on the variety and the size of the standard rose. There should be 6cm between the top of the container and the soil level, to accommodate watering. 

Planting the rose

Dig a hole that is deeper and wider than the roots. For standard rose trees, you don’t need to tease the roots out, instead, you can leave them in their ball form. Once you have the plant in the hole, backfill it and firm the soil around the plant, the same as you would in the ground.


Add fertiliser immediately after planting, and again during the summer growing season, following the instructions on the fertiliser you have. 

Toprose Rose and Shrub Feed, 4kg - Rose Fertiliser for Healthy Growth and Vibrant Colours - Improves Root Development - Guards Against Nutrient Deficiency - Rose Nutrition - Garden Care
  • ROSE NUTRITION: Bring your roses to life with Toprose's perfectly balanced nutrients for vibrant and intensely deep-coloured roses
  • SUPPORTING AND ENCOURAGING: Increases root development and encourages efficient nutrient absorption for bigger, brighter, and healthier shrubs and bushes
  • WITH IRON AND MAGNESIUM: Contains Iron and Magnesium to guard against nutrient deficiency and prevent premature leaf drop and discolouring
  • EASY TO USE: Easy application by simply scattering the granules onto the soil surface and then watering them in
  • CAN BE USED FOR TRANSPLANTING: Ideal for use when transplanting new rose bushes and shrubs to help them survive the process


Whether in the ground or a container, be sure to water well after planting and keep a close eye on watering. Never allow the soil to dry out, you will probably need to water every few days in summer, sometimes daily but only now and again in winter.


Learn how to prune standard roses in this guide by clicking here


If you are growing your standard rose in a container, be advised that the roses will outgrow their pot within 2-3 years, at which point you will need to re-pot them in a new, larger container with fresh compost. During the years in between, you should remove the top 6cm or so of compost and replace it with fresh compost annually. 

Last update on 2024-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at

Write A Comment