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February 2, 2024

Orange Charles Austin Rose

While planting David Austin roses is very much the same as most other roses, there are a few things to be aware of to get the best results from your selection. We take you through all the points you need to consider when planting Austins and step-by-step instructions on how to do it successfully. This will greatly enhance the growth and health of the plant and allow for maximum blooming.

Here are the main points we will cover:

Light Requirements 

As previously mentioned, most roses need plenty of sun. The minimum, for most roses, is 6 to 8 hours of full sun per day. Given the vast number of hybrids that have been bred over many years, numerous Austin roses can handle partial shade. This is of great benefit in many gardens where you want to place beautiful roses but lack full sun.  Some hybrids can thrive with just a few hours of sun.

Other Weather Conditions

Again, the many hybrids are advantageous. Most roses do not appreciate wind yet many of the Austin varieties are up to this challenge. If you have a windy spot that you wish to add roses to, select the correct option for this environment.

Humidity is not a major issue but can lead to an increased risk of disease and possibly pests. Inspect the plants regularly and take the appropriate action if necessary.

When to Plant David Austin Roses

The best time to plant these roses is late fall/autumn to the middle of spring. This will allow the plants time to settle in and establish solid roots before their vigorous growth takes place. Most Austin or English roses will flower in their first season and they will go on to produce more with each season, provided they are cared for.

When planting in the ground, take care not to plant when the soil is waterlogged or frozen.

How to Plant David Austin Roses

Here are the steps to take when planting:

  • Select a spot that has the correct amount of sun for your rose and no aggressive roots that might impair growth
  • Dig a hole that is at least 16 x 16 inches (40 x 40 cm) in width and more than deep enough to accommodate the root system of the rose. Loosen the surrounding soil and remove large stones, debris, and weeds
  • Add organic compost to the base of the hole
  • Mix some manure with the soil to be used to fill the hole
  • Place the rose in the hole and backfill with the prepared soil. Firm the soil gently as you proceed making sure the rose remains centred and erect
  • Water generously without disturbing to soil

Planting Bare Root David Austin Roses

This is one area where these roses differ from the average rose you might purchase. In most cases, Austin Roses are sold as bare-root roses. This is to say, they have no soil around them. If you are purchasing from a reputable source, you can be assured that are fresh and will succeed if planted and receive basic planting and care practices.

Another advantage of this method of receiving roses is that it is more eco-friendly as there are no plastics involved. Even the packaging is recyclable.

The only steps that differ from the above when planting bare root roses is to rehydrate the rose in water for roughly 2 hours before planting. This is done by simply immersing the roots in water. The other point is to sprinkle Mycorrhizal Fungi on the roots.

Planting David Austin Rose in Pots

While Austins work perfectly well in the ground they are an excellent option for pots or containers. Many even do well up against a hot wall and some can happily climb or ramble from a pot.

Here are the steps to planting in pots:

  • Decide where you intend to position the pot – base this on the type (shrub, climber, etc.), sun requirements and aesthetics
  • Select the right pot - You want a pot that is at minimum 18 by 18 inches (45 by 45cm) or 16 gallons (60L)
  • Confirm it has adequate drainage holes
  • Place small rocks, chunks of polystyrene, or coarse gravel at the base to ensure good drainage
  • Start to fill the pot with quality potting soil or potting compost
  • Gently compress the soil as you add to reduce air pockets
  • Fill the pot to halfway
  • Confirm the rose will fit the selected pot – place it in the center and confirm there is enough space for the roots and the required height (you want the union of the rose to be roughly 2 inches below the rim.
  • Keeping the rose centered and upright, continue to fill the pot, firming in the same manner as you go
  • Once you are happy, gently water the pot generously 

Following these basic steps will ensure your rose is happy and has the best opportunity to thrive and produce beautiful blooms.

Repotting David Austin Rose Roses

This is a process that will need to be done every 2 to 3 years and is quite simple. Select a larger pot if your rose has grown significantly. Remove the plant gently and trim off any damaged roots.

Follow the potting instructions above but replenish the soil as it may have lost many nutrients over the years. Be sure to water well immediately after and for a few weeks after repotting. Take care not to damage the roots during the process.

If you see roots growing for the base of the pot, it is looking limp for no reason, or the soil is drying out faster, it is time to repot.

Planting Distance and Positioning

The first step is to consider the space and your goals. Then you need to look at the growth habits of the varieties you are considering. There are many different English or David Austin Roses available. Most grow to roughly 4 feet in height with a spread of 4 feet. Some, however, grow taller or have a rambling nature.

Consider this when positioning them and spacing them out. Also, factor in other surrounding plants. The key is for each one to not be crowded by other rose bushes or other plants. Keep the sun and shadows that larger plants might create in mind.

If you are creating a hedge or borders, look at roughly 3 to 4 feet apart. For bedding, 6 to 10 feet will work, again, depending on the rose growth habit.

Apart from sun and root growth availability, roses need good air circulation. Overcrowding will hinder this end and encourage disease and pests.


As you can see, planting these roses is a simple yet important process. If you follow the advice above you get your rose off the best start and give it the potential to astound you with multiple blooms for many years.

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