Care & Cultivation Guide: Roses

Roses bring style and elegance to any garden, be it large or small. There are climbing and rambling roses to cover walls, fences, arches and arbors, roses that grow meters upwards to flower in the canopies of trees, patio roses to grow in containers, ground-cover roses spreading a carpet of low-level flowers and Floribunda and hybrid-Tea’s for the traditional rose garden. Visually stunning, shrub roses are perfect for a mixed border. Of course, in addition, some of these have rich fragrances, repeat flowering, autumn foliage colour and beautiful winter fruits or hips.

PLANTING: Roses usually prefer an open site in full sun away from competition from other plants or trees. Container-grown plants can be planted all-year-round, providing soil conditions are suitable. Ie: not waterlogged of frozen. Bare-rooted plants are available to plant from late October to March. Only plant these when the soil condition is suitable, i.e. not waterlogged or frozen. Roses should be temporarily ‘heeled-in’ if conditions are not favourable for planting.

SOIL: Roses thrive in moderately fertile, humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil. Dig thoroughly and incorporate Composted Bark or well-rotted farmyard manure into the soil. Always use fresh soil when planting new roses, as soil used previously for growing roses is unsuitable due to the build up of harmful soil organisms.

CARE: In spring, feed roses with a general fertiliser or rose fertiliser. It is a good idea to spray your roses with a winter wash in November and December to stop over-wintering pests. Spray for mildew, rust, black spot etc.. in late spring and summer with a fungicide. For aphids such as greenfly and blackfly, and many other pests, use an insecticide if required.


Hybrid Tea & Floribunda (Bush Roses). Cut back main stems to 20-25cm above ground during late winter to early spring. 

Climbing Roses. During the first 2 years, cut out only dead, diseased or damaged wood. From the 3rd year onwards, prune main shoots to within the area of the wall or fence they are growing on and reduce side shoots by two-thirds or 3 to 4 buds. This can be done from late autumn to early spring.

Rambling Roses. During the first 2 years, train stems on to support, reduce side shoots only by two-thirds or 2 to 4 buds. From 3rd year onwards reduce side shoots as before and cut out quarter to a third of flowered stems at the base. New shoots arise from the base. This can be done from late autumn to early spring. 

Shrub Roses (English Roses & Repeat Flowering Bush Roses). Cut stems back by half to a third. Remove weak, dying and ageing shoots. This can be done during late winter / early spring. 

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information given both on our lists and labels. However, some details may vary according to special or geographical circumstances. Varieties offered are subject to availability.

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