A Simple Guide to Rose Care
Who's it for?
These notes are designed for the new or novice rose grower and will answer the most frequently asked questions. Stick to this and you will find that rose growing is quite simple and your roses will thrive and give you many years of enjoyment. Please do not hesitate to contact us for any further advice.
CHOOSING THE SITE
Whilst choosing the right site, make sure your rose is kept outdoors at all times. Although some roses will grow in partial shade, picking a sunny spot is generally best. Never plant under trees, as this will lead to root dryness and toxic drip from the leaf canopy. If possible pick a spot with a bit of shelter from cold winds. Although roses like to be in damp soil, they do not like sitting in water, so try to pick a spot with reasonable drainage.
PLANTING POTTED ROSES
Whether to plant the graft union above or below ground is a much debated issue. We recommend planting so that the graft is below ground, as we believe it reduces the likelihood of disease and makes the rose more secure by preventing wind-rock, thereby reducing the need for canes. The roots may not move out of the compost ball in ordinary garden soil, so add some Root Grow™ to the planting hole. Most container roses are bought and planted in the spring or summer months, though can be planted at any time throughout the year, so make sure you fill your hole with water before planting and allow it to drain away, to keep the ground moist. After planting, water again, to get moisture to the root system. If you are going to plant your rose into a pot* rather than planting out in the garden, we recommend the container be at least 18” in depth. Containerised roses will need far more food and water than they would in the open ground, so a bucket of water every other day is recommended during the summer months.
*We only recommend the use of Patio, Floribunda and Ground Cover roses for pots.
Newly planted roses will need far more water than an established garden rose. Water well and often. If a containerised rose dries out, the water will not be taken to the roots but will flow around the outside of the plant. If this happens, place the container in water and let the rose soak up the water. This will ensure the water reaches the centre of the rose.
Feeding roses is a very simple process and there are many ways you can get food to your rose. In our experience, folia feeding has proven to be the most effective way of feeding roses. The folia feeds we recommend are Uncle Tom’s Rose Tonic™ and Plant Magic™. These are concentrated liquids that are diluted and sprayed directly onto the leave of the rose, resulting in stronger leaves and greater disease resistance. The other form of rose feed is granule feeding. The granule feed we recommend is After Plant Rose Food™. The granules are sprinkled and mixed into the soil around the base of a rose in order for the nutrients to be taken down to the roots through watering over a longer period of time. We recommend that you begin feeding your roses at the beginning of the season, when they start growing again, then again every two to three weeks to ensure continued flowering well into the autumn months.
Never feed roses in late summer or in autumn, as this promotes new softer growth which will only be killed by the first frosts.
A good layer of mulch ensures that the soil is kept moist in a hot spell, weeds are kept to a minimum, and diseases such as black spot and rust are suppressed. Many materials can be used for mulching depending on what is available to you. Well-rotted farmyard or horse manure are excellent, but do make sure that it is at least three to four years old, as fresh manure can burn the roots of plants. Before applying your chosen mulch, make sure the ground is clear of diseased and old leaves and that you have fed and watered your roses. Spread a layer of mulch around the roses to a depth of 2-3”. Mulching is traditionally done in the spring, but we have found that once a month throughout the growing season is also very beneficial.
Pruning is a subject that causes rose enthusiasts the biggest problems. Much has been written about pruning over the years, but recent trials by The National Rose Society have made the subject absolute child’s play. The purists will probably stick to the old tried and tested methods, but the new or novice rose grower will now find pruning their roses a lot easier. All roses are very resilient and will survive however you prune them and will still flower despite your best efforts! However with just a little loving care and attention they will flower and thrive as if they were looked after by an expert.
Bush and Shrub Roses: Bush roses should be pruned down in the spring to half their height, remove all dead wood, and that’s the job finished, what could be easier?
English Shrub Roses: Due to the large blooms on these roses, it is beneficial to not prune them too hard for the first couple of years, let the stems mature and strengthen, so that they are able to support the flowers.
Climbing Roses: Climbers differ from ramblers as they flower on this year’s new growth. They should be pruned in the spring down to the height you require, plus remove any dead wood. This will promote new growth for this year’s flowers. After three or four years, start removing the old stems (one per year) towards the bottom of the rose, this promotes new growth lower down, so you get flowers all along the plant and not just at the top.
Rambling Roses: Ramblers differ from climbers as they flower on the previous year’s growth, so if the rose is pruned in the spring you will remove all the new stems and end up with no flowers. The correct time to prune ramblers is just after flowering, as they will then start to produce new wood for the next year’s blooms.
Once your roses have finished flowering, the spent blooms should be removed. If left on the bush they will waste energy by forming hips. If you dead head regularly the bush will continue to grow flowering shoots ensuring a good show of blooms well into late summer, and sometimes through the autumn, depending on the variety. Recent trials have found it beneficial to leave as many leaves on the plant as possible. Remove the old blooms off to the first leaf, this method promotes the rose to bloom again faster and will also produce more flowers. Some older varieties of rose, and the rugosa roses, produce large and often attractive hips, so if this is the case for your rose, you may wish to leave the finished blooms on the bush.
Roses are very greedy feeders, which is why until recently, it was advised that you did not plant new roses in soil where old roses had been, due to a condition called Soil Sickness that arises when an old rose has taken all the nutrients and minerals out of the ground. To counter this, it was necessary to dig up the old soil and replace it with good quality compost mixed in with well-rotted farmyard manure. However, thanks to the recent introduction of Rootgrow™ into the rose world, it is now possible to plant new roses where old roses have been.
Unfortunately, like all living things, roses suffer from pests and disease. With a little attention however, most problems can be avoided. Aphids (Greenfly) are the most common, but need not be a big problem. Spray with a contact insecticide which will kill any aphids it touches, but as always, prevention is better than cure. Roses should be sprayed on a regular basis with a systemic spray which will enter the plant and protect it from the aphids and many other pests. There are many proprietary brands of spray on the market so the choice is yours. Black Spot, Mildew and Rust seem to be the most common diseases, but once again, prevention is always better than cure. You can start spraying your roses with a systemic spray early in the season once the new young leaves have appeared. Spraying should be continued on a regular basis throughout the season, almost certainly avoiding many of the common rose problems. Use one brand twice and then change to another brand twice, alternating through the season. This system seems to work well and keeps our roses nice and clean. If you have had a bad case of black spot, remove all the infected leaves and spray once a week for a few weeks with Rose Clear™, this will soon eradicate the problem. Cleanliness in the rose garden is all important. However, folia feeding your rose, which strengthens the leaves and rose itself against diseases and is much better for bees and other helpful garden insects. SEE OUR “FEEDING” SECTION FOR FURTHER INFORMATION.
WHY ROSES FAIL TO SURVIVE
Lack of Water: 90% of rose problems can be avoided if the rose is well watered. Roses need watering regularly throughout the growing season, regardless of rainfall. We recommend a bucket of water every other day, especially for newly planted roses.
Wind Rock: Especially in exposed areas. Due to loose planting.
Loose Planting: Tug the stem gently in spring after planting. If the plant moves easily, tread carefully around the bush.
Severe Drought: Especially in poor soils. Causes yellowing of leaves.
Waterlogged Soil: Too much water around the roots. Due to poor drainage.
Severe Prolonged Frost: Causes crinkled leaves with brown marks, protect the rose in open areas.
Use Of Fresh Manure: Burns the roots.
Hard Pruning: Too hard pruning repetitively every year on bush roses, especially in sandy soil.
Underground Pests:Chafer Grubs and Ants.
Planting Under Trees: Causes root dryness, dense shade and toxic drip from the leaf canopy.
Fatal Diseases: Rust, Canker and Honey Fungus.
Give your roses the best start in life with Rootgrow™ and within 4 weeks your roses will grow a mycorrhizal fungi root system which will support your rose for its entire lifetime. It it 100% natural and is especially effective when planting roses in an area they have been grown before. The granules attach to the roots of the rose, spreading out and giving the rose a wider feeding area to collect nutrients and water.