How to Grow the Perfect Rose in your Garden

Beautiful bouquet of roses in glass vase
A fresh bouquet of roses from our garden

Love them or hate them its hard to ignore the beauty of a rose.

From the traditional red to the purity of the white rose, growing roses can be a rewarding experience. Rose plants can also make a beautiful feature for a flower garden or even a modern garden

It seems as though people are scared off by the notion that they’re hard to grow. But it’s really not that hard to grow roses.

I currently have 15 of them in my own garden, its wonderful have fresh roses throughout our home. Even our cat loves them!

Black cat smelling a bouquet of roses
Our cat stopping to smell the roses

Over time, I have learnt that the best advice for selecting your roses comes from your local specialist rose nursery. They know which varieties are suited to your local area and climate. Also, have a walk around the neighbourhood and see what variety will grow best in your garden.

Another good resource is the American Rose Society Encyclopedia of Roses : The Definitive A-Z Guide by Charles Quest-Ritson. I’m always on the look out for good rose books, so let me know in the comments if you know of any others.

When selecting roses

Obviously you need to choose a healthy rose plant but a good nursery will have healthy plants ready to go. They should look strong, healthy, disease free and have vibrant colors.

A good beginner rose variety would be the Iceberg standard rose.

Rosa Iceberg 1.jpg

Photo of the Rosa Iceberg By Stan Shebs, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

When to plant roses

Roses can be planted almost anytime of the year. Be sensible and choose a time when it’s  not too cold, hot, wet or dry. 

Where to plant roses

Roses grow best in full sun and can grow in almost any soil. You don’t want your rose plant to be fighting for moisture with surrounding plants or trees. Keep rose plants around 1m apart to avoid crowding them in your garden.

It’s also important to remember that the plant can be top heavy, you don’t want them in an area that’s prone to high winds, as the rocking can loosen the soil and potentially damage or kill the plant.

Here’s a quick guide to plant your roses.

Before we start!

A rose with thorns is something you’re really going to want to protect yourself from,they really can inflict some pain on soft skin. I would suggest a good pair of thorn proof gloves to prevent this, the one that cover just the wrists will do but ones that cover all the way to the elbow are better.

You will need a spade, a fork, some manure and a watering can.

Preparation of soil:

Use your fork to turn the soil, you can turn in some manure or compost at this stage.

Digging the hole:

Using the spade, dig a hole around 60cm deep and 50cm wide, this should be plenty of room for the root system to grow.

At the base of the hole, again use the for to break up the base of the hole, so that the roots are free to grow deeper.

Add the manure:

Add some good quality manure to the bottom of the hole, this will ensure that your rose will have enough nutrients to promote strong and healthy growth.

There are so many good products on the market and again, speaking to your local specialist rose nursery is a good way to get advice on his.

Personally I use compost from my own bin, and have found that it provides the right amount of nutrients for my roses.

Remove the plant from the pot:

Remove the rose from its pot, make sure your free up the roots gently if it has become root bound. Place the rose in the hole and make it level to what it was in the pot and now you can backfill the hole. Lightly compress the soil with your foot around the rose to get rid of any air pockets.

Watering:

Watering should be done at the base and not over the foliage, to avoid disease. A newly planted rose will likely need water every other day. Typically a standard rose will need around 10 litres each time you water, but once you stat monitoring you will get a feel for how much they require.

Mulching

If you’re not already mulching your garden, then you should be, mulch helps keep the moisture in the soil and keep the weeds out.

Now is as good a time as any for mulching around the rose plant. I am currently using an aged pine bark nugget. I wouldn’t say it’s the best mulch for roses, but it is used in a lot of orchids. Lucerne mulch is a great choice whereas I would stay away from something like shredded newspaper. 

Fertilising 

Roses benefit from fertilising during the growing period. Most growers will fertilise their roses at the beginning of the growing period and then after the first bloom has completed.

Rose pest control

Having aphids on roses is a common complaint from growers, if there are only a few then they can be removed by hand. For larger amounts of aphids, these can be treated with many pest oils or insecticides. I have used Yates pyrethrum insecticide in the past and it has always done the trick.

How to prune roses

Pruning roses is summer is all about dead heading, this clears the way for new growth. You can do this by cutting cutting the stem down to the nearest group of 5 leaves.

When pruning roses for winter, the trick is not too over think it. Cut away the growth so you can see what you’re cutting and remove around two thirds of the branches. This gives the opportunity to remove any dead branches or branches crowding inwards. The aim is to open up the top of the plant to allow sun light and air flow.

So there you go, growing your very own rose garden is not as hard as you may have first thought! 

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