Have you always wanted to grow roses but were afraid to try? They are the perfect cottage garden flower and not as difficult to grow as many believe. Follow these roses care tips and learn how to grow gorgeous, healthy flowers.
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, 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.
Know how much work you want to do and choose varieties that are more resistant to pests and diseases. 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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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.
The Complete Guide to Roses Care
In order to understand how to grow and care for roses, it’s important to understand there are 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.
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 and require minimal care.
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.
- Pest control:
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.
How to Select Roses from the Garden Nursery
Be judicious about the types of roses you choose.
- 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!
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.
How to Properly Water Roses
Roses need good drainage to be happy and healthy. The root system likes to be moist but not saturated.
Water roses when the top 1 to 2 inches of soil is dry.
Note: don’t just do a light watering of the surface. Make sure it’s a deep watering that ensures deep soil penetration.
- 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.
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.
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.
How to Prune Roses
It’s important to prune roses because it stimulates new growth and encourages more flowers.
In general, pruning roses are done both in dormancy and during the growing season.
You’ll need a sharp set of pruners when working with roses like these.
Pruning Tip: Clean your pruners well between plants to minimize the spread of pest and disease problems. I like to use a 1:10 ratio of bleach to water.
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 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.
Floribunda (hybrid tea x polyantha) produce flowers in clusters on vigorous, bushy plants that are wonderful for hedges or informal borders.
- 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.
Pest and Disease Problems
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 a 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.
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.
- Japanese Beetles
- Cane borers
- Spider Mites
- Leaf cutter bees
- Black Spot
- Powdery mildew
- Crown gall
- Rose mosaic virus
- Nutrient deficiencies
If deer are a problem in your area, you’ll need to protect 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.
Propagating 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Prepare the stem: Dip the cut end of the stem into rooting hormone powder to encourage rooting. Shake off any excess powder.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
5 Reasons You Should Grow Roses in Your Garden This Year
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. With proper care, roses can provide years of beauty and enjoyment with minimal effort.
My New Roses
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!
More About Growing Roses
What are your rose varieties in the garden? Have you tried growing them yet? I would love to know more in the comments below.
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Looking for More Flower Garden Ideas?
If you love flowers and want to grow more in your garden, here are some posts that will get you on your way.
From tucking in flowering plants that are deer-resistant or ones that attract more butterflies and hummingbirds, to shade-loving flowers like the lenten rose, these posts will get you on your way to growing a garden that will bring joy for years to come.
Here are more cut flower and cottage garden growing tips, tricks, and design inspiration.
- 5 Quick Ways to Grow a Cottage Garden
- Easy-Care Cottage Garden Ideas
- How to Grow Zinnias and Enjoy the Flowers
- How to Grow Snapdragons and Enjoy the Flowers
- Flower Garden Ideas for the Front Porch
- Why and How to Divide Perennials
- Perennials vs Annuals
- Flowers that Bloom in Midsummer
- How My Cottage Garden Grew in 2021
- Cut Flower Gardening for Beginners
- The Basics of Hydrangea Care
- Everblooming Cottage Garden Design Ideas
- The Secret to Growing an Everblooming Cottage Garden
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