Discover essential tips and step-by-step guides for growing beautiful roses, perfect for beginners. Learn everything about roses care from choosing the right varieties, planting, and troubleshooting common issues to enjoy a stunning rose garden.

Have you always wanted to grow roses but were afraid to try? Or maybe you don’t have the best track record with growing roses and want to learn how to overcome the obstacles?

They are the perfect cottage garden flower and not as difficult to grow as many believe. When I first started gardening, I wanted to grow roses but was a little intimidated by the amount of care required to grow them successfully.

I’d always heard how difficult and fussy they were so I didn’t take too many chances growing different types of roses. Once I learned that some roses are easier to care for than others, I started with the easier shrub roses and slowly progressed to other rose types.

Fast forward several years and I am thrilled with how my roses are doing. In fact, I Iove them so much that I recently planted 40 more bare root roses! (I’ll share more about them at the end of this post.)

In my opinion, there’s a rose type for everyone. It’s important to know how much work you want to do and choose varieties that are more resistant to pests and diseases so it’s more manageable to grow them. You can even find roses that don’t require deadheading.

Follow this guide, and you’ll be well on your way to successfully growing roses in no time. Here is what you need to know to grow and care for beautiful roses.

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Close-up of two blooming pink roses surrounded by fresh green foliage. The roses have delicate petals with varying shades of pink, and some unopened buds are also visible among the leaves. The background is a lush, vibrant green of rose leaves. Oso Easy double pink roses by proven winners

About Garden Roses

Roses are one of the most popular and iconic flowers in the world. With their beautiful blooms and sweet fragrance, they are a symbol of love, romance, and beauty.

Growing roses can be a rewarding and satisfying experience, but it does require some effort and care.

With the many different types of roses you can grow, they range in size from miniatures that are about 8 inches tall to climbers that can reach as high as 15 feet or more. Hybrid tea roses generally grow about 4 to 6 feet tall, while floribundas grow from 3 to 4 feet tall.

Read the plant tags to make sure the rose you choose will thrive in your landscape. To get the most out of your roses, they do best when planted in full sun in moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil that is rich in organic matter.

In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about roses, including their care, types, easy-to-grow varieties, planting techniques, and propagation.

close up of globemaster alliums and knock out roses on the happy gardening tour

The Complete Guide to Roses Care

In order to understand how to grow roses, it’s important to understand the several types of roses that may require different types of care.

Types of Roses

Roses come in a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes. There are over 150 species of roses, but the most common types are:

  • Floribundas and Polyanthas – Many blooms per stem, shrub rose
  • Grandifloras – Cross between hybrid tea and floribunda with masses of large flowers.
  • Hybrid Tea – Most popular, long stem with single flower
  • Shrub Rose – Catch all class of hardy, easy-care plants that are bushy and don’t fit another category of rose bushes.
  • Miniature Roses – Small size, excellent for containers.
  • Climbing roses – Grows very large and needs a strong structure to climb for support like an arbor, trellis, or fence.
climbing Roses with pink flowers growing up an obelisk in a flower garden -The Complete Guide to Roses Care
Pink Climbing Roses: The Complete Guide to Roses Care

Easy-to-Grow Roses

Some varieties of roses are easier to grow than others. Here are a few easy-to-grow roses that are perfect for beginners:

  • Knock Out Roses: These roses are disease-resistant, bloom all season long, and require minimal care.
  • Drift Roses: These are low-growing, compact roses that produce clusters of blooms all season long.
  • Easy Elegance Roses: These are hardy, disease-resistant roses that are easy to care for and produce clusters of blooms throughout the season.
  • David Austin Roses: These roses are known for their old-fashioned, fragrant blooms and are easy to care for.
  • Oso Easy: These roses are disease-resistant, non-stop bloomers, don’t need deadheading and require minimal care.
Bright pink knockout roses in backyard garden with raised beds and garden shed - double flowering pink knockout roses - The Complete Guide to Roses Care
This knockout rose border was my first attempt at growing roses. They’ve stood the test of time, are stunningly beautiful and the easiest rose to work with.

Benefits of Growing Roses

There are many good reasons to grow roses, including:

  • The flowers are gorgeous! Roses are known for their beauty and are often considered one of the most beautiful flowers in the world. They come in a wide range of colors and sizes, making them perfect for any garden or landscape.
  • The blooms are fragrant. Many varieties of roses are prized for their sweet fragrance, which can fill the air and create a pleasant atmosphere in your garden.
  • Roses have deep symbolic meanings. Roses have a long history of symbolism and are often associated with love, romance, and beauty. Growing roses in your garden can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your home.
  • Roses have health benefits. Growing roses not only improves your mental health, but they also contain natural antioxidants and have been used for centuries for their medicinal properties. Some studies suggest that rose petals may help improve digestion, reduce inflammation, and improve skin health.
  • Roses can be low maintenance, depending on the variety. While some varieties of roses require more maintenance than others, many types are relatively easy to care for and can thrive in a variety of conditions.

Choosing the Perfect Roses For Your Flower Garden

Be judicious about the types of roses you choose so it suits your landscape, your skill level, and is healthy before bringing it home.

  • Select a plant based on the size that will fit the garden space. And if it’s a climber, make sure it has a strong enough support.
  • Choose plants that are adapted to your hardiness zone and climate.
  • Look for plants that are resistant to pests and diseases. The more resistant they are, the easier they will be to care for them.
  • While at the nursery inspect plants carefully for any pest or disease problems. Make sure you check the undersides of leaves too!
close up of white dawn climbing rose with pink knockout rosesThe Complete Guide to Roses Care
‘White Dawn’ Climbing Rose

How to Plant Roses

Planting roses is easy, but it requires a little planning and preparation. Here are some tips to follow when adding them to your garden.

  • Select healthy plants. Make sure there is no yellow or diseased foliage and check the undersides of leaves for pests. If packaged or bare-root plants are dry, immerse them in water for a few hours before planting.
  • Plant in fertile, well-drained soil where roses will receive at least 6 hours of sun.
  • Follow plant tag directions for proper spacing. Air circulation is important to keeping roses healthy.
  • Dig a planting hole as deep and twice as wide as the container.
  • Fill the hole with a mix of native soil, good-quality garden soil, compost, and perlite.

How to Plant Bare-Root Roses

  • Soak the entire rose bush in water for 8-24 hours.
  • Dig hole 18-30 inches wide and deep to accommodate the root ball. And create a soil cone for the bare root to sit on.
  • Fill the hole with native soil, good quality garden soil, compost, and perlite.
  • Spread roots over soil cone. Plant the bud union 2” above the soil line, then backfill with remaining soil.
  • Apply mulch.
  • Water every day for one week. How much you water will depend on your climate and weather.

How to Transplant Existing Roses

Depending on your climate, the best time to transplant healthy roses is during dormancy. When transplanting, cut the rose canopy to one-third to one-half back and move as much of the root ball as possible. This will help ensure there is as little disruption to the root system as possible during transplanting.

close up of lady of shallot david austin rose -The Complete Guide to Roses Care
‘Lady of Shallot’ Rose by David Austin

Roses Care Basics

Roses require regular care to stay healthy and produce beautiful blooms. In general, here’s what you need to do to grow gorgeous roses.

When working with roses, it’s a really good idea to get yourself some good rose garden gloves to protect your hands and arms from the thorns as well as a sharp set of pruners.

pink roses on green wood picket fence

Watering Roses in Your Flower Garden

Roses need good drainage to be happy and healthy. The root system likes to be moist but not saturated. How often to water roses is determined by soil dryness. So water roses when the top 1 to 2 inches of soil is dry.

  • Water slowly to 2-3 feet depth.
  • Keep in mind that watering depends on soil characteristics, weather, and microclimate. If you are not sure, speak to other local gardeners about their experience or contact your local cooperative extension for guidance.
close up of david austin rose 'ebb tide'The Complete Guide to Roses Care
‘Ebb Tide’ by David Austin

Mulching and Weeding Roses

After yearly pruning, add a 4-inch layer of mulch around roses to add organic material, help regulate soil temperature, and suppress weeds. Keep mulch away from the plant stem and place it roughly 6 inches away from the base of the plant to form a basin.

Speaking of weeding, I use a few different tools around roses so I can avoid the thorns as much as possible while I’m working.

Hands down this is my favorite hand weeding tool. You can use to get underneath roots, loosen soil, and it cuts down on the weeding time because you work much faster. But I also love this long, stand-up weeding tool to really get around roses from afar.

close up of climbing white rose
‘White Dawn’ Climbing Rose

Fertilizing Roses

Simply put, roses need to be fed for healthy foliage and blooms. As such, they need frequent fertilizer applications.

Roses are heavy feeders and, once established, need more fertilization to perform best. When using fertilizers, it’s always important to follow the manufacturer. They know their product. And keep in mind that more fertilizer is not better.

I like to use THIS ORGANIC FERTILIZER because the blooms were more prolific and it’s organic. Have you tried it before? Let me know what you like to use in the comments below.

close up of david austin rose 'tranquility' The Complete Guide to Roses Care
‘Tranquility’ David Austin Rose

How to Prune Roses

It’s important to prune roses because it stimulates new growth and encourages more flowers. In general, pruning rose bushes are done both in dormancy and during the growing season. You’ll need a sharp set of pruners when working with roses like these.

Dormancy Pruning Roses

Pruning roses while in dormancy stimulates new growth in spring.

  • Depending on your climate, prune in late winter/early spring before or when buds start to swell.
  • Cut off dead wood, cold and unproductive canes, as well as crossing branches that rub against others. This will help prevent pest and disease problems.
  • In general, leave about 5-12 canes that are 18-24 inches tall.
  • When pruning, remove roughly one-third to no more than one-half the length of the previous season’s growth.
  • Cut off suckers below the graft union to keep the growth energy in the main plant.
  • When pruning, keep the center of the shrub open (kind of like a basket). This encourages light and air circulation while the plant grows.

Pruning Roses Throughout the Growing Season

In addition to pruning when roses are dormant, it’s equally important to prune them during the season to remove spent flowers and keep the plant healthy.

  • Prune dead and diseased wood, weak and crossing canes to help prevent pest and disease problems.
  • Make cuts to canes above a bud on a slant away from the bud.
  • Deadhead spent flowers to the newest 5-leaflet leaf.

Pruning Floribunda Roses

Floribunda (hybrid tea x polyantha) produce flowers in clusters on vigorous, bushy plants that are wonderful for hedges or informal borders.

To prune:

  • Leave as many strong new canes as plant has produced.
  • Cut back the previous season’s growth only by one-fourth and can be pruned to hedge effect.
close up of david austin rose 'Charolotte'-The Complete Guide to Roses Care
‘Charlotte’ by David Austin Roses

How to Grow Roses: Pest and Disease Problems to Watch Out For

There are a variety of pest and disease problems that affect roses. To have success with roses, it’s important to control and identify pest and disease problems.

This requires good sanitation practices as well as a regular spray program using materials as directed by the manufacturer. And whatever you do, don’t start treating roses with any pesticide before you know what’s wrong with it. There are different pesticides for different types of problems so knowledge is power where roses are concerned.

One of my go-to rose sprays to combat pest and disease problems includes THIS. In most cases, you can use insecticidal soap or neem oil to help control infestations depending on the issue.

Speak with your local cooperative extension or garden nursery to help you identify the issue before blindly treating roses with pesticides. Always read the package label directions and follow their instructions carefully.

When applying a pesticide, go with organic and use when pollinators like butterflies are less active. In general, these are common problems with roses.

  • Aphids
  • Japanese Beetles
  • Cane borers
  • Thrips
  • Spider Mites
  • Leaf cutter bees
  • Deer
  • Black Spot
  • Powdery mildew
  • Crown gall
  • Rose mosaic virus
  • Salinity
  • Nutrient deficiencies

Protecting Garden Roses from Deer Damage

If deer are a problem in your area, you’ll need to protect garden roses from damage. There are a few things you can do to keep deer from eating your plants.

On my roses, I have used this deer repellent with great success. But now, I’m all about this deer repellent that is systemic instead of topical. This means the plant takes it in as opposed to it just smelling bad.

I am by no means a rose expert but have learned that walking the gardens and inspecting plants every day helps prevent massive pest and disease problems.

Catch problems early and plants will reward you with happy healthy blooms all season long. To learn more ways of protecting your garden roses from deer damage, read this post.

Close up of double flowering pink knockout roses in the backyard garden by garden shed and raised garden beds -The Complete Guide to Roses Care
Knockout Roses

How to Propagate Roses by Cutting in 7 Easy Steps

Propagating roses by taking cuttings is a simple and cost-effective way to create new plants. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Choose a healthy stem: Select a healthy stem from the rose plant that is about 6-8 inches long and has at least 3-4 leaf nodes.
  2. Cut the stem: Using a sharp, clean pair of scissors or pruners, make a clean cut at a 45-degree angle just below a leaf node. Remove all but the top two sets of leaves.
  3. Prepare the stem: Dip the cut end of the stem into rooting hormone powder to encourage rooting. Shake off any excess powder.
  4. Plant the stem: Fill a small pot with a well-draining potting mix. Make a hole in the center of the pot and insert the stem, making sure the bottom two sets of leaves are above the soil level. Firmly press the soil around the stem to hold it in place.
  5. Water the cutting: Water the cutting thoroughly and place it in a warm, bright location away from direct sunlight. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.
  6. Wait for roots to develop: In 4-6 weeks, the cutting should have developed roots. You can check by gently tugging on the stem. If it resists, roots have formed.
  7. Transplant: Once the roots have formed, you can transplant the new rose plant into a larger pot or directly into the garden.

It’s also important to use a clean pair of scissors or pruners to prevent the spread of disease. You can clean them by mixing bleach with water in a 1:10 ratio.

When using rooting hormone, don’t dip the cutting directly in the container or you risk contaminating it. Instead, add a little rooting hormone to a small cup or container, and then dip your rose cutting in the hormone.

A blooming bush in a garden features vibrant flowers with white petals, bright pink centers, and golden-yellow stamens. The green leaves contrast with the colorful blossoms. In the background, red and pink flowers are visible among lush green foliage. Learning how to grow roses couldn't be easier with Ringo Roses from proven winners

The Best Time to Propagate Roses

The best time to propagate roses depends on the method you choose.

  • Semi-Hardwood Cuttings: These cuttings are taken from mature new growth in mid to late summer (July and August). This method is particularly effective for home gardeners because the cuttings root easily and grow well during this time​.
  • Hardwood Cuttings: Taken from the previous year’s growth, these cuttings are usually gathered in late winter during the dormant season. This timing allows the cuttings to establish roots before the growing season starts in spring​.
  • Layering: This method works best in early spring or late summer. By bending and burying a flexible stem, you allow roots to form before severing the new plant from the parent. This method takes advantage of the plant’s natural growth cycles​.
  • Division: This is suitable for naturally suckering roses and should be done in early spring while the plants are still dormant. This ensures that the new plants can establish themselves as the growing season begins​.

These methods provide flexibility depending on the type of rose and your gardening schedule, helping you achieve successful propagation.

close up of davide austin rose 'charlotte' The Complete Guide to Roses Care
‘Charlotte’ David Austin Rose

When is the Best Time to Propagate Roses?

The best time of year to propagate roses by cuttings is in late spring or early summer when the rose plant is actively growing.

During this time, the stems are green and flexible, which makes it easier for them to root. It’s also important to take cuttings from healthy, disease-free plants and to use a clean pair of scissors or pruners to prevent the spread of disease.

Keep in mind that the success rate of propagation by cuttings can vary depending on the variety of rose and growing conditions, so it’s always a good idea to take several cuttings to increase your chances of success.

A lush garden view with vibrant purple and white flowers climbing a green wooden trellis on a sunny day. The background features green foliage and a soft blur of more garden elements. Growing roses on an arbor in zone 6b.

Final Thoughts on Growing Roses and Their Care

When we moved to our new home, I held off planting a lot in the beds until I had a chance to see what was already here and how it looked throughout each season.

We’ve got some roses here already, but I wanted to add a lot more to the pool and potager gardens. The pool garden has several roses that seem to really love the location, so why not add a few more?

And the potager garden has gotten a huge makeover this month where we built brand new raised garden beds, removed the existing boxwoods, fixed the arbor, and added 18 roses. It’s going to be gorgeous!

Here’s a list of what I planted this year from my favorite grower, Proven Winners.

  • ‘At Last’
  • ‘Ringo Double Pink’
  • ‘Oso Easy Double Pink’
  • ‘Ringo Landscape Rose’

While each variety is incredibly beautiful, they are easy-care, fragrant, and some don’t require deadheading. I can’t wait to see how they bloom!

What are your rose varieties in the garden? Have you tried growing them yet? I would love to know more in the comments below.

For more information about how to grow roses see:

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear! And feel free to share this post with anyone you think would find it helpful too.

Thank you for visiting the blog today!

Enjoy your day! xo

Stacy Ling bricksnblooms logo
at last rose from proven winners and color choice shrubs
‘At Last’ Roses
close up of light pink and fuschia roses
close up of bright pink roses in my new garden - don't know the variety
close up of roses and peonies in the garden with obelisk -David Austin roses up close on an obelisk in the garden -The Complete Guide to Roses Care
‘Lady of Shallot’ David Austin Rose with my blooming peonies.
Allium globemaster and double flowering pink knockout roses in suburban cottage garden - The complete guide to roses care
Knockout Roses in the cottage garden.
close up of knockout roses at the garden nursery -The Complete Guide to Roses
Knockout Roses at the local nursery.
Close up of David Austin Rose
Garden obelisk in the cottage garden with climbing roses and pink knockout roses
Climbers need good support like this obelisk from H Potter.
backyard garden with garden shed, raised corrugated metal garden beds and pink knockout roses -The Complete Guide to Roses Care
My Knockout Roses are the first roses I worked with. I planted them at the base of my deck to form a small hedge and they look amazing to this day!
close up of flowers in Colorful Cottage Garden that include double flowering knockout pink roses, dahlias and yellow pansies
backyard garden with corrugated metal raised garden beds, garden shed with sign and pink knockout roses - The Complete Guide to Roses Care
close up of roses at the garden nursery -The Complete Guide to Roses Care
close up of cottage garden roses that are in shades of pink against a green fence
Rose Care for Beginners
The Complete Guide to Roses Care
close up of lady in red climbing rose -The Complete Guide to Roses Care
‘Lady in Red’ Climbing Rose

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20 Comments

    1. Thank you Ann! They are doing so well this year! I hope you try roses – the knockouts are a great starter rose. Very easy to work with. xo

    2. Your roses are gorgeous. I forgot about Knockout Roses

      We just finished planting tons of coreopsis. We had them in our old house and loved them so much

  1. This is a great post! Very informative and detailed…thank you. I love roses but don’t care for them as well as I should. You just gave me a nudge:)

    1. I’m so glad you enjoy the post Maria! Roses are not to be feared – there are some fuss-free varieties out there. xo

  2. Pingback: Dirt Road Adventures - Guest Cottage Adventures - The Ponds Farmhouse
  3. Stacy – Thank you for the tutorial. I just want to tell you how kind you are to teach us what we want to do but don’t know how.
    For most of my plants I use Espoma for plants. Stinks but the odor goes away pretty fast.
    Blessings to you
    Diana

  4. This is great! I have knock out roses that I’ve done nothing with but keep coming back. They don’t look great so I thought I may pull them all out. But now I’m going to try your tips and maybe they’ll flourish! Thank you!

  5. I just love your posts. Your flowers are beyond gorgeous!! I have about 12-15 knockout roses. I started using your suggested organic rosé fertilizer and they are doing well. They are growing to about 3-4’ but the stems are thin and starting to bend over. What would you suggest to use to hold them up? I am using those green metal sticks with the circular top but they are too short now and not strong enough. Any suggestions on something stronger and pretty in the garden? Thank you so much. I live in SC, the low country, hot and very humid and at times lots of downpours. I’m not sure so much rain is good for the roses. They look very sad right now even though it is still 80 degrees. Thank you for your suggestions.

    1. Are they newly planted? The younger they are the thinner the new growth might be and if you’ve had a lot of rain they may lean over because the stems are not strong enough yet. Knockouts don’t usually need to be staked. I’d leave them be since its the end of the season and cut them back hard in spring. If you want to trim them up now, you can do that too. Since we are heading into winter, don’t feed them anymore until spring.