How to care for roses
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Plant: May - August
Prune: March - April
Roses are among the most admired flowers in gardens. If you’ve ever thought about growing roses in your garden but aren’t sure how to start or how to look after them, just follow our easy step-by-step guide and you’ll have these beautiful flowers blooming before you know it.
Tools for the job:
Step 1: Picking a spot to plant your roses
Roses grow best in a sheltered, sunny position that keeps them out of the full strength of the summer sun, but will still give them around 6 hours of light a day. Bare-root roses should be planted in late autumn, but make sure you don’t put them in the same place as any old roses you had, as there may be a risk of disease in the soil that could harm the new plants.
Step 2: How to prepare the soil
The first thing to remember is that roses grow best in well-drained soil that isn’t too heavy. When you’ve found a good spot, dig a hole that is at least twice the size of the rose plant’s root ball, and break up the soil below to make it easier for the roots to grow out. Add a little manure or compost to the soil, as well as some slow release fertiliser. If the soil is clay based you might want to add some soil conditioner too.
Step 3: Plant your roses
Make sure you plant your rose as soon as possible after you’ve bought it. Soak the roots first, then place it in the hole you dug. You’ll want to plant it deep enough that the base of the stems are just below the soil level, before filling in the soil around it and firmly patting it down. You may want to use a stake to keep the plant in position, and make sure to water the rose well when you’re done.
Step 4: How to keep your roses healthy
Be sure to keep your rose well watered during the growing season, especially if it’s been newly planted. Don’t let it dry out, and make sure you water it often during hot weather; mulch around the base of the plant will help retain moisture. It’s also a good idea to feed them during the spring – we’ve got a great range of granular slow release and liquid feeds designed specially for roses.
Step 5: Feeding your roses
Roses are hungry plants that respond well to generous feeding. Sprinkle rose fertiliser around them, then mulch immediately with rotted manure. Keep the mulch clear of the rose stems, leaving a 10cm gap between the mulch and stems.
Step 6: How to prune your roses
You’ll want to prune your rose to trim away old, dead and diseased branches to encourage new growth. Make sure you do this in springtime, around March or April, as the new bud growth is beginning. Different varieties of roses have their own specific requirements – just follow these simple rules:
Hybrid tea (roses with large flowers)
Take the flower stem back to an outward facing side shoot, cutting away around 15cm of stem.
Floribunda (roses with cluster flowers)
Pinch out the dead flowers just behind the head, then cut the remaining stems back to about 15cm from ground level.
Shrub, climbing & rambling roses
These types don’t really need as much pruning as hybrid tea and floribunda, but it’s a good idea to give them an occasional tidy up to trim away dead and diseased stems.
Step 7: Protecting your roses against pests & diseases
The best defence against pests and disease is to make sure you continue to look after your plant and keep it is as healthy as possible. However, should your rose become affected by pests or show signs of disease, there are easy steps you can take to get it back to full health in no time at all. The most common diseases to affect roses are mildew and blackspot, both of which can be effectively treated with a specialist fungicide. Greenfly are the main pest seen on roses, and these can be brought under control using a ready mixed spray insecticide.
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