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New Mexico State University

Issue: November 20

You can move roses and other plants late in the dormant season, or pot them now to plant later

Q. I need to move some climbing roses (Lady Banks) and honeysuckle bushes. All have been in the ground 2 years. When is the best time to move them? Can I move them to pots and plant them later in the year? Anything special I need to know? Thanks!

Mary Peschka

Las Cruces

A. The best time to move these plants is late in their dormant season. If you were to move them directly to their new location, January would be a good time for you. In other parts of the state February or March would be good times. The key is that they are dormant, but soon before growth resumes. You expressed an interest in moving them first to pots before planting in the new site. That is possible now in Southern New Mexico. Many temperate zone plants produce significant root growth in the fall as the tops are going dormant and afterwards. So, moving them to pots now will allow them to produce new roots. In colder parts of the state, gardeners can also move plants to pots, but with less benefit of additional root growth. An important consideration is that the soil in pots (above grade) will become colder than the soil in the ground. Roots do not develop as much hardiness as the shoots. This means you should keep the pots in a protected location where the soil in the pot will not become too cold. However, do not put it where the sun will shine directly on the pots generating too much heat in the soil. Burying the pots in the ground (up to their rims) or surrounding them with straw bales will help moderate the temperatures in the pots and protect against root damage. In January (Southern New Mexico), February (Middle Rio Grande region and Eastern New Mexico), and March (Northern New Mexico and high elevations) you can move the plants from the pots to their new growing locations. Prepare the planting site well (large area with amendments), water well after planting, and mulch the plants. New growth should develop within a couple of months.

For more gardening information, visit the NMSU Extension publications World Wide Web site at or

Send your gardening questions to:

Yard and Garden, ATTN: Dr. Curtis Smith
NMSU Cooperative Extension Service
9301 Indian School Road, NE, Suite 112
Albuquerque, NM 87112

Curtis W. Smith, Ph.D., is an Extension Horticulture Specialist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service. New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator.