Roses are so pretty and smell great too. If you are thinking about adding roses to your garden theses caring for a rose bush tips can help.
This post contains affiliate links where appropriate, thanks for the support.
We live in the city of roses, so it’s only fitting that we should have roses growing in our flower garden. Roses are one of my husband’s favorite flowers and we have quite a few.
The one I love the most (the pink one pictured above) is an heirloom tea rose. It grows vigorously in our yard and has the most beautiful big blooms with so many petals and the scent it gives off is heavenly.
The only drawback to this rose is if we get rain the heads are so heavy once filled with water they droop and look sad.
When that happens I’ll remove the flower head and bring the petals in and place them in a bowl. The wonderful scent will fill the room for a day or two.
Below you’ll not only learn tips for caring for a rose bush but at the bottom of the post, you’ll find other DIY garden tutorials and guides from the Tuesdays in the Garden Bloggers. Be sure to scroll to the bottom to see what they have to offer this week too.
Caring for a Rose Bush Tips
The tips below can help you when caring for a rose bush. From planting to pruning you’ll find tips to help get your roses off to a good start and keep they growing.
The tips below are all things we do with our roses to keep them growing well and as disease free as we can in our rainy climate.
Rose Bush Planting and Care
The first question you might have is when is the best time to plant roses? We’ve found that spring is the best time for bare root or roses purchased in containers.
The majority of our roses have been purchased as bare root roses. They come in a much bigger variety than the potted roses at the garden centers.
They don’t look like much but a bag of sticks but that’s how they look. After planting they’ll start growing and look more normal. Don’t let the way they look sway you away from them.
If you are planting bare root roses the best time to plant is in the spring right after the ground has thawed and all danger of a hard frost is past. Potted roses can be planted in the spring and through the growing season.
Although we’ve planted bare root roses in the beginning of summer and kept them well watered and they did great but if you have a choice spring is the best time to plant.
If you purchase bare-root rose plants you’ll need to soak the roots for at least 12 hours before planting. Plan on planting them after they have had time to have a good soak.
Dig a nice generous hole so you can spread out the roots. Then fill with dirt. Once planted be sure to water them well but don’t water so much that the rose is standing in water.
If you purchase a potted rose be sure to dig a hole big and deep enough to insert the whole root ball into the hole.
Before you plant your rose, you’ll need to consider how much sun your rose will get in the location you are planting. Roses need 6-8 hours of sun a day to grow well. I do have a few roses that only get 5 hours and do well but if you can locate them where they’ll get lots of sun that will be best.
How Much Water Does a Rose Need
How much water does a rose bush need is a good question? Roses like lots of water to do really well. Maybe that’s why our roses look so full and lush because of all the good pacific NW rain we get all spring long.
How much you’ll need to water your roses depends on the climate you live in. You want the roses to get enough water to keep the soil around the roots moist but not wet. If the roots stay too wet the rose can struggle and if it’s too dry they will struggle too.
It’s best to start watering once every 5-6 days. Water deeply so the ground gets moistened about a foot deep. If you live in a dry climate you might need to water every 2-3 days.
Mulching can help to retain the moisture in the soil and I mulch each year with compost around my roses.
The way you water is also important. You don’t want to water from above as that can contribute to rose diseases like black spot.
It’s best to water around the base of the plant keeping the leaves dry. I use a soaker sprinkler and turn it upside down so the water doesn’t spray up but down instead. This soaks the ground around my roses and waters them deeply.
Another option is an actual soaker hose placed in the rose bed and it seeps water out slowly and doesn’t spray at all.
The main things to remember about watering roses are to water often enough to keep the ground moist but not so wet the ground is soaked. Water from below and try to keep the leaves dry to prevent disease.
And finally water deeply when watering since light sprinkling on the top will not help the rose grow well.
Rose Care and Feeding
Feeding roses can be as involved or as easy as you like. You can add organic fertilizer in the spring. I like to add a good amount of compost all around the rose bed. This seems to feed the roses well.
Also in the spring and fall, we will sprinkle Epsom salt around the base of each rose. Then work it into the soil around the base of the rose bush.
These simple steps feed our roses and keep our rose bushes growing well.
Caring for a Rose Bush, Rose Pruning
Rose bushes do need regular pruning to keep their shape and to remove any dead, dying, or diseased wood.
You’ll also want to prune them back each year to keep your rose bush a good size and the shape you want. We’ve found it’s best to trim the roses back to about waist height after the growing season as we are going into winter. Then we prune again right around President’s Day to about knee height.
When pruning be sure to use clean, sharp, pruning shears. You don’t want those cheap shears that can crush the canes as they cut, you want a nice clean cut. You’ll also want gloves to protect your skin from thorns.
When cutting cut at a 45-degree angle about 1/4 inch above a bud. A bud is a little red or brown protrusion on the cane, it’s different from the thorns.
You’ll also want to clear canes out of the middle of the plant if it is too crowded. If the plant is too crowded the leaves can stay wet and disease can set in. Thin out the plant so all the leaves get good air circulation.
It’s also good to remove any leaves to about 6 inches off the ground. This helps to protect the rose bush from black spot.
You’ll also want to deadhead the roses regularly to keep them blooming all season long. We watch our rose blooms and as they start to lose their petals we will trim those spent blooms off the plant. We count down 5 leaves and make a 45 degree cut 1/4 inch above a bud just like spring and fall pruning.
Rose Bush Care, Pest and Disease Control
If you are going to grow roses you’ll have to do some pest and disease control. But with proper care, your roses can really stay looking great but every year even with the care we give our roses we end up with black spot and aphids.
At the first sign of aphids, we attack with this homemade aphid spray. It works really well to kill those little sap suckers. We only apply it when we see aphids on the bush. We’ll spray the bush well and let it dry.
The next day I’ll check for aphids again. I may see aphids on the bush but most of the time they are dead. If any are moving I’ll spray in those areas again.
Black spot is a little harder to battle. It’s a fungus that attacks the plant. When we see black spots forming on our rose leaves, we will immediately remove those leaves and dispose of them and any contaminated leaves on the ground around the plant.
There are fungus sprays that some people use but I try to avoid them and use trimming instead. I’ve also heard that some gardeners using a tablespoon or two of baking soda mixed with a gallon of water and a few drops of dish soap. Then spray it on both sides of the leaves to kill the fungus.
I haven’t tried the baking soda solution but it seems to be a good solution to rose fungus. Neem oil is another solution to fungus on roses which we have tried in the past with mixed results.
Powdery mildew is another fungus that can plague roses. Luckily we don’t usually have to deal with that here but in humid climates, it can be a problem. The neem oil should help with powdery mildew too since it’s a fungus also.
That’s it, those are my caring for a rose bush tips. I hope you found something new to try this year to keep your roses looking great, growing well, and producing beautiful blooms.
Tuesdays In the Garden
Now let’s get to what the other Tuesdays in the Garden bloggers have to share this week. To be taken to their tips and project just click the photos below.
Pin It for Later….
Get the Companion Plants List
When you join the gardening email list, you'll not only get gardening tips sent to your inbox, you'll also get the companion plants list too.