How to for your Roses

Published: Monday 10 August 2020

Here are our top tips.


Plant bare-rooted roses in winter. Soak the roots in lukewarm water for 12-24 hours. Dig a hole about 30cm wide and 25cm deep. Create a small mound at the bottom of the hole with soil, then spread the roots over it. Water and cover with remaining soil. Plant potted roses in spring.



Roses are always hungry and if you feed them well they’ll produce glorious flowers. Give them rose food as soon as the buds appear and water well. Then give them a handful of food every four to six months during the flowering season.

Pink roses


When they are young, roses need to be kept well watered, but as they mature you can cut back watering to twice a week. In summer, give them a good soaking. Make sure you water just the soil, not the plant. Any lingering moisture on the leaves can cause fungal problems.



Use sugar cane, pea straw or lucerne that breaks down and nourishes the soil and helps it to retain moisture. Spread to a depth of about 5cm in late winter or spring and again in summer. Don’t let the mulch sit against the stems or you’ll get collar rot.

Yellow Roses

How do I get rid of pests on my roses

Modern rose breeds are very disease resistant but nothing’s perfect, so watch out for these issues.

  • Sap-sucking aphids gather around the buds. Remove by hand or spray with a mixture of 2 tablespoons of soap flakes in a litre of water.
  • Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that occurs in humid conditions. Ensure good air flow through the plant and treat with a fungicide, or spray lime sulphur on the plant and ground after pruning.
  • Black spot is another fungal disease that affects leaves in warm, humid conditions. Treat with a fungicide.
Pink David Austin rose

How to prune roses

  • Prune in winter when your plant is dormant and be prepared to be brutal. Your bush will reward you with beautiful blooms in summer.
  • Cut dead stems back to their base and damaged or diseased stems back to healthy tissue, where the centre is white.
  • Cut stems that look like they’ll grow into the centre of the bush – it’s important air flow through the plant is maintained.
  • Remove suckers that emerge below the graft scar. Always cut at a 45 degree angle with the cut facing downwards and outwards just above a bud or leaf node.
Roses in a pot

How to care for roses in pots

You don’t need a bed – live the high life in balconies and courtyards!

Container size

Miniature roses are best for growing in containers that are at least 35cm deep. If you want a climber, the container should be at least 45cm deep. Go for much deeper and wider containers for other roses.

Best aspect

Roses need at least 6 hours of sun a day. But container roses need extra conditions. Put the bush in sunshine but the container in shade, so the growing medium doesn’t get too dry.

Growing medium

If transferring from a nursery pot (best planted from autumn to spring) or planting as a bare root (best planted in early winter), fill container with a loam-based, acid-right mix specifically formulated for roses.

Daily care

Watering is important, but so is drainage. Put a layer of gravel at the base of pots and place pots on feet.

Food needs

Potted plants absorb food more quickly than bedded plants. Top up each spring with rose food, and every second year replace the top 5-10cm of mix with compost or repot with fresh mix.

You might also like:

How to grow roses

How to prune roses the right way

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