Roses

Roses are one of the most popular of all garden plants. They are quite robust and durable and winter is the best season for planting them. With a little care your rose bushes will give you years of pleasure.

  • Soil: Roses like slightly acidic soils, so it’s best to do a pH test if you want your roses to thrive. An ideal pH is around the 6.5 mark. Roses prefer a rich loam soil. You can add compost, cow manure or other organic matter to improve the soil condition.
  • Position: Select a sunny spot in your garden as roses need plenty of sun - six hours a day is optimal, and try to choose a spot that gets morning sun. Your roses should also be placed in a well-drained position.
  • Buying roses: Roses can be bought either as container plants throughout the year or as bare-rooted plants in winter. The benefit of buying the container plants is that you are able to purchase the plant in bloom so you know what you are getting. The benefit of buying the bare-rooted stock is the savings in terms of cost. The decision is up to you.
  • Planting: Soak bare-rooted roses in water for an hour before planting. Did a hole that is more than large enough for the roots to fit comfortably. Make a mound of soil in the bottom of the hole and spread the roots over the sides. Half fill the hole with soil and water and let the water drain away. Fill the hole with soil, ensuring the final soil level is a few centimetres below the bud union. Water the rose well but do not fertilise at planting time.
  • Fertilising: Your roses will benefit if you apply any of the specialised rose foods or mixes. This will ensure your roses get the required nutrients and an ideal growing environment.
  • Mulching: As roses do not like competing with other plants it is important to manage weeds and grass. Using a quality mulch will help to conserve moisture and keep weeds under control.
  • Companion Plants: Roses are not very sociable plants so are best planted in beds of their own. This can look a little stark so a good tip is to plant a border or low growing hedge surrounding the bed. This serves to disguise the lower parts of the shrubs but still allows you to enjoy the beautiful blooms of this favourite garden plant.
  • Pruning: The best time to prune most roses is in winter or late winter but dead-heading and light pruning throughout the year after flowering will keep your roses blooming well. There are exceptions such as the winter flowering roses so check before you proceed. Always use sharp secateurs that have been well-cleaned. A pruning saw may be necessary to remove hard old wood. It is advisable to use gloves to protect yourself from the thorns. Remove the old, unproductive wood from the shrub. Cut these branches out at ground level or where they join the main stem. Canes that are unproductive may be pruned back to just above a healthy branch. Stems should be cut just above a healthy, outward facing stem. Cut the stem at an angle sloping away from the bud. Pruning also serves to keep the shrub at a manageable size, so you may choose to cut it back by as much as a third of its size. Ensure that you preserve the lush pink water shoots which provide new flowering canes and can be trimmed next season if necessary. Try to retain good shape and as much foliage as possible.