How to grow and care for your roses

Roses are some of the most popular and beautiful flowering shrubs grown, but starting a rose garden may seem daunting to new gardeners. However, growing roses for beginners doesn’t have to be a stressful endeavor. In fact, with proper planting and care, nearly anyone can become a successful rose gardener.

Plantland has put together a basic care guide for these garden favourites! Roses are robust and easy to grow and with a little extra care the rewards are boundless…

Best position and time to plant roses

For the best show of flowers and the healthiest plants, rose bushes should receive six to eight hours of sunlight daily. They should also be planted in well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. In especially hot climates, roses do best when they are protected from the hot afternoon sun. In cold climates, planting a rose bush next to a south- or west-facing fence or wall can help minimise winter freeze damage.

Roses are best planted in the spring (after the last frost) or in fall (at least six weeks before your average first frost). Planting early enough in fall gives the roots enough time to get established before the plants go dormant over the winter.


Soil should be kept evenly moist throughout the growing season. The amount and frequency of watering will depend on your soil type and climate. Roses do best with the equivalent of 2-3cm of rainfall per week during the growing season. Unless it rains sufficiently, the following watering programme should be followed.

Late spring and summer: Water deeply 3 times per week (15 litres per week)

Early spring and autumn: Water twice per week (10 litres per week)

Winter: Water once a week (5 litres per week)

Roses growing in sandy soils will need more watering than those in heavier clay soils. Hot, dry, and windy conditions will also parch roses quickly. Keep foliage dry and try to water early in the morning.


To perform their best, roses need a continuous source of nutrients throughout the growing season. Healthy roses not only bloom better, but they are also better able to withstand insect and disease problems.

Early to mid-spring: Begin fertilising when new leaves emerge. Use a high-nitrogen fertiliser for the first application to jump-start leaf development, along with a rose and flower fertiliser to encourage new cane development and lusher growth. Add a slow-release fertiliser when shoots are 4 to 5 inches long.

Throughout the season: Continue to feed every 2 to 4 weeks during the growing season depending on the type of fertiliser used.

Late summer to early fall: Apply a slow-release fertiliser with low nitrogen content such as bone meal to promote root growth and next year’s blooms. Stop fertilising 6 to 8 weeks before your average first frost date to prevent new growth from being damaged by frost.

Pruning & deadheading

It’s almost impossible to kill a rose bush by over-pruning. But, if you follow a few simple rules, the results will look more professional and result in a healthier plant. A good pair of secateurs and gloves can make the job even easier.

Rose bushes must be pruned towards the end of July to stimulate new growth and prolific flowering. In colder areas wait until August to prune. A light pruning can be carried out in January to encourage another flush of flowers.

Keep deadheading your rose bushes throughout the year to encourage flowering.

Disease control

Insects and fungi can be a problem at certain times of the year but it can be controlled by following a preventative programme of Efekto Rosecare Plus or Protek Rose Guard.

January – April: Spray fortnightly against black spot, chafer and other beetles and bollworm with either a ‘cocktail’ of fungicide and insecticide or a product that contains both. Check for red spider mite.

May and June: Spray fortnightly with a fungicide against black spot, if needed.  This is mostly relevant to winter rainfall areas.

July and August: Spray bare stems after pruning with fungicide and insecticide to kill insect eggs and fungus spores.

September – December: Spray fortnightly against black spot, powdery mildew, chafer and other beetles and bollworm with either a ‘cocktail’ of fungicide and insecticide or a product that contains both.  Check for red spider.

Have a look at the roses Plantland has available in-store and online: Here