The Basics of Growing Roses
Simple rose care advice and information to help you grow roses.
For advice on planting roses choose from the advice below
When to plant roses
Aside from times of extreme weather, 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. Often people ask, ‘When is the best time to plant?’, but as long as you avoid the conditions mentioned, there really is no one best time to plant.
Where to plant roses
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. To see a list of roses suitable for shaded areas click here.
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.
Roses are extremely versatile and hardy plants that can be planted in a variety of positions and locations in the garden (for ideas and inspiration click here). When selecting a planting location, we recommend you consider the following points to ensure the rose thrives:
how much water
As a guide, we recommend watering the following amount per rose each time you water:
- Shrub roses – 1 gallon
- Climbing roses – 2 gallons
- Rambling roses – 2 gallons
- Standard tree roses – 2 gallons
- Roses in pots – 1 gallon
When to water roses
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.
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.
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.
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. The first, at the beginning of the growing season. The second, 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.
How to Feed
Simply sprinkle Rose Food around the base of each rose (see packaging for full instructions).
For advice on pruning roses choose from the advice below
We recommend mulching as it helps to retain moisture and to supress 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 the best 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
When to spray?
When you see them.
What you need?
Sb Plant Invigorator is naturally effective against most pests.
How to spray to control pests
Greenfly and caterpillars can be removed by hand in the earliest stages. If spraying, see packaging for instructions.
Greenfly (aphids) and caterpillars are the most common pests.
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.
Spraying roses to control disease
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?
A fungicide spray such as BioAdvanced Disease Control will be effective against black spot, powdery mildew and rust. Fungicide sprays can purchased at your local garden centre.
How to spray to control disease
See packaging for instructions.
There are two good reasons to deadhead: 1. 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. 2. Shaping – it is an opportunity to shape your shrub.
When to deadhead?
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 deadhead
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.