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The Basics of Growing Roses

WHEN TO PLANT ROSES

Bare root roses should be planted when the daytime temperatures are between 40-60F. Aside from times of extreme weather, potted roses can be planted at any time during the year. The extreme weather conditions that we advise against planting in are when the ground is frozen, water-logged or during a drought. 

WHERE TO PLANT ROSES

Roses are extremely versatile and hardy plants that can be planted in a variety of positions and locations in the garden. When selecting a planting location, we recommend you consider the following points to ensure the rose thrives:

1. Ensure plenty of sunlight

Roses thrive on direct sunlight. For best results, a minimum of four hours of direct sunlight is recommended.

However, even when planted against a north wall (meaning no direct sunlight) roses can still perform well.

2. Avoid intense competition from other plants

The closer you plant your rose to other plants, the more competition there is for moisture and sunlight.

For best results, plant your rose 3 feet away from other plants and 2 feet from other roses.

Avoid planting a rose under an overhanging tree branch.

3. Avoid very exposed, windy sites

Strong winds can cause the base of the rose to loosen in the soil. This will result in your rose rocking in the wind which will lead to it growing at an angle, which in extreme cases will kill it.

To prevent this, ensure you follow our planting instructions.

If you find this problem with a rose you already have, make sure you firm the soil around it. In some cases a stake may be necessary.

PLANTING ROSES

For advice on planting choose from the links below:

How to plant a bare root shrub rose

How to plant a bare root climbing rose

WATERING ROSES

Watering is arguably the most important aspect of growing any plant. The right amount of watering will promote a healthy shrub that will flower over a long period.

How much water?

As a guide, we recommend watering the following amount per rose each time you water:

Shrub roses –   1-3 gallons

Climbing roses – 3-6 gallons

Rambling roses – 3-6 gallons

Standard roses – 3-6 gallons

Roses in pots – 1-3 gallons

When to water?

The need for watering varies greatly throughout the year and is directly related to the amount of rain that has fallen. We suggest the following:

Fall - Winter

Water as needed if the ground is completely dry until the rose goes dormant.

Spring

Watch out for particularly prolonged dry spells.

Newly planted roses – water every two or three days.

Established roses – water once or twice a week as needed to keep the soil moist around your roses.

Summer

Established roses – water as needed to keep the soil moist around your roses. As your rose starts blooming, take note if your flowers are wilting. This will happen in extreme heat but is a reliable sign that your roses need more water.

Newly planted roses – water every other day.

What you need

The best way to water is with a watering can, so that you can see how much water you are using. If you have a lot of roses, then a hose with a rose attachment is more practical.

How to water

It is best to water as close to base of the rose as you can. If the water is starting to flow away from the base, stop for a moment to allow the water to soak in, then continue. Don’t water over the flowers or foliage. Watering foliage can encourage disease problems, particularly if it remains on the leaves overnight. We recommend a softer spray rather than a fierce deluge from a jet spray or pressure hose. If using a hose, try to get a fitting that has a rose setting. If you haven’t got a special fitting, make sure the pressure is not too high on your hose.

Roses or situations that require extra attention:

Newly planted roses.

Climbing Roses planted against walls due to the dry nature of the soil in that location.

Roses planted in sandy soil.

Roses planted in a pot or container.

FEEDING ROSES

All roses appreciate being fed, particularly our repeat-flowering English Roses. If you wish to get the most out of your roses we always recommend feeding.

When to feed

For the best results, we recommend two annual feeds:

At the beginning of the growing season.

After the first bloom cycle has finished, promoting stronger repeat flowering.

What you need

For the best results, we recommend using our own specially formulated David Austin Rose Food. (not available in all states)

How to feed

Simply sprinkle Rose Food around the base of each rose (see packaging for full instructions).

PRUNING ROSES

For advice on pruning choose from the links below:

How to prune a shrub rose

How to prune a climbing rose

MULCHING ROSES

We recommend mulching as it helps to retain moisture and to suppress weeds.

When to mulch

You can do this at any time of year. For the best results, mulch in early spring.

What you need

For best the results, we recommend small bark chippings.

How to mulch

Firstly, remove all of the weeds in your rose border.

Secondly, apply about an inch thick layer of bark around the base of the rose and any bare soil next to your rose. The more you apply the better the moisture retention and weed suppressant.

If you are mulching when the soil is dry, water well either before or after mulching.

PESTS & DISEASES

Spraying roses to control pests

Aphids and caterpillars are the most common pests.

When to Spray

When you see them.

What you need

We recommend pesticides by Bayer or Ortho against most pests.

How to spray to control Pests

Aphids and caterpillars can be removed by hand in the earliest stages.

If spraying, see packaging for instructions.

Spraying roses to control disease

The main fungal challenges for roses are rust, black spot and powdery mildew. David Austin English Roses as a group are relatively resistant to disease. However, in some situations they too may require spraying.

When to spray

We recommend you spray at the first sign of disease. It is best to act quickly to prevent disease spreading.

What you need

Banner Maxx is effective against black spot, powdery mildew and rust.

How to spray

See packaging for instructions.

DEAD-HEADING ROSES

Why Dead Head

There are two good reasons to dead head:

To encourage repeat-flowering – this stops your rose producing seeds in the hips, which are formed after flowering, so that it has more energy for repeat-flowering.

Shaping – it is an opportunity to shape your shrub.

When to dead head

This should be done as soon after each flowering as possible up to late Fall. After that it is unlikely that you will get much more growth or flowering, as your plant will be getting ready for winter.

How to Dead Head

Each flowering stem can be cut back as far as three sets of leaves. The amount you cut back controls, to some extent, the shape and size of your plant.

If you are unsure, cut back to the point where the flowers stop being produced on the stem.