Growing and Caring for Roses

Roses are perhaps one of our favourite garden flowers. Their colourful scented blooms epitomise the English garden. Making sure you choose the right planting position and create the correct conditions for healthy growth will ensure that you have plenty of flowers throughout the summer. Here is a short guide on how to plant and care for roses in your garden.

Planting roses

Roses are probably best planted bare rooted in early spring but can also be successfully planted in the green. You just need to follow a few general guidelines. Roses require a position in good light, preferably in full sun, but away from strong winds, as they are susceptible to what is known as wind-rock where strong winter winds can loosen their roots and make them more susceptible to damage. Avoid planting a rose in the same position as a previous rose. This is because roses are heavy feeders and soil planted with roses for long periods of time can be said to have become rose-sick and need rejuvenating. Roses put down deep roots, so make sure the soil you are planting in has a good depth. They also prefer soils that are neutral or very slightly acid. Make sure you dig in plenty of organic matter before planting. This will not only provide essential nutrients, but also ensure good drainage and moisture retention.

Bare-rooted roses should be planted between late autumn and early spring when the plant is dormant. Container roses and container grown roses can be planted any time. If you are planting bare-rooted roses, soak the roots in a bucket of water overnight as the roots may have begun to dry out. Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the roots at the right depth and infill with a mixture of compost and rose fertiliser.

Caring for roses

Roses should be fed twice a year with a rose and shrub plant food sprinkled around the base of the plant and lightly dug in. As they have deep roots, roses do not require much watering once they are established. However, those grown in containers will need regular watering especially during long dry spells. Mulching is also important and should be done at least once a year. This will help maintain good soil conditions for the rose, retain moisture and keep down weeds. Roses also need to be pruned once a year to keep them flowering well. Pruning can take place in late autumn/early winter or in early spring. Remove any dead wood and then generally cut back each stem just above a bud by about half its length. Pruning is especially important for roses grown in garden planters as this will keep them looking tidy and within bounds. Dead-heading during the summer months will also prolong the flowering season and encourage repeat flowering on many varieties.