Rose wisdom: top tips for great roses

Rose wisdom: top tips for great roses

Although other plants and garden styles come in and go out of fashion, there’s nothing like a beautiful rose. Plus, you can find a shape, colour and size to suit any garden.

Roses are associated with wonderful scents, ladylike delicacy and sensuous petals, and yet they can be a great, hard-working flower in your garden year in, year out. They might not look that interesting once their summertime blooms have died away, but, with a bit of care through winter and early spring, you should be sorted for beautiful blooms by next summer too.

Quick tips for great roses


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  • There’s a rose for every garden. Roses come in so many varieties – not only in many different shapes and colours, but in differing sizes. Before choosing a rose for your garden have a look at an online plant catalogue (like or to get a feel for how big the different varieties might grow. Even for a small garden (or patio area with a few pots) there will be a rose bush that suits your space.
  • Where to plant your roses. Roses like moist but well-drained soil, an open sunny spot, and fertile ground. Avoid planting new roses in the spot where an old rose bush recently stood. If that is the best place for your new plant, make sure you turn over the area well and add lots of new soil.
  • New bare-root rose plants should be planted out of season (the earliest part of the year). But if planting container-grown roses, you can do this at any time. If you use clay pots rather than plastic, the roots will enjoy a cooler time of it when the weather is very hot.
  • For better blooms, feed your roses in late winter/early spring. Also, add some mulch around the plant. Then in spring/summer you should feed them roses every three weeks or so.
  • Pruning and tidying. In early winter you can tidy up your rose bushes, but you don’t need to prune back too heavily. Prune the bushes in spring, before they start to show new young shoots. This is a good time to remove the old dead heads and to clear away old wood. If you want smaller blooms and you don’t want your bush to grow too high and stalky, you can cut them back to about six to eight inches from the ground in late winter/early spring.
  • Roses can fall prey to blackspot or mildew. Keep your roses well fed and watered, and if blackspot is likely to become a problem, remember to use a spray treatment in early spring.

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