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How to Care for Roses

If you’re interested in how to care for roses, our comprehensive guide can help you each step of the way. Whether you’re growing from bare root or caring for a mature plant, you’ll learn how to keep your roses looking ravishing throughout the year.


Growing roses from bare root

how to care for roses: gloves, trowel and twine

When you receive your bare root rose, it’s very important to re-hydrate the roots before planting. This is because they’ve been in transit without any soil or moisture. Soak them for around 2 hours before you plan to plant them, but no more than 12. Dig a hole 40cm wide and 40cm deep, planting them in firmly. Also consider their position in the garden (and the same goes for repotting and transplanting!). Because they will need at least 6 hours of sunlight per day to thrive.


Planting roses

how to care for roses: a hand pruning rose bush

Choose a rose plant with at least 3 healthy, well-balanced stems. Submerge the container and the rose roots into a bucket of slightly tepid water. It is important to ensure that the root ball and the surrounding compost is thoroughly wet before planting. Decide where you want to plant the rose and dig a hole larger than the size of the root ball. It needs to be deep enough to plant the rose up to the base of the crown of stems and you need to allow enough room to add some compost too.


Loosen the soil at the base of the hole and around the sides with a fork to allow the roots easier access. Fill the base of the hole with Westland Rose Planting & Potting Mix. Remove the rose plant from the container and place the root ball of the rose into the hole, so that the crown is level with the top of the planting hole. Turn the rose around until its best side faces in the direction it is most likely to be viewed from. Fill in around the roots with Westland Rose Planting & Potting Mix, mixing this in with the surrounding soil. Pack the soil and compost mix around the root ball firmly, but do not compact too much. When the hole is refilled completely, firm the soil around the plant with the sole of your boots and water well.


Pruning roses

how to care for roses: a hand pruning rose bush

For most roses, it is best to prune roses during late winter usually between mid to late February. If it has been a particularly cold or long winter, wait until March or when the first signs of spring start to appear. Pruning in Winter means there are only bare stems and little or no foliage. This makes it easier to shape the rose and to spot any areas that may be diseased.


Climbing and rambling roses should be pruned during late autumn or early winter after the flowers have faded. Shrub roses that flower once during the growing season should only be pruned in late summer after the flowering is finished. Shrub roses that flower throughout the season should be pruned in late winter.


How to Prune Roses

What you’ll need…


  • Remove any debris away from the base of the plant (e.g. dead leaves, grass, moss and anything that might harbour insects and disease).
  • Make all your cuts are no more than 5mm (1/4 in) above a leaf bud that faces outwards from the plant.
  • Make sure that you create clean cuts on a slanted 45 degree angle. This allows water to drain away. Try not to let water collect in any ragged cuts as this will help to prevent any breeding fungal disease.
  • Try not to make any ragged cuts, as this will let insects and disease into the plant and, again, open it up to infection.
  • Take off any stems that are broken, dead, and diseased or generally look old and woody. You only want to be left with green, healthy stems.
  • Remove any thin branches that are thinner than a pencil.
  • Open up the plant by removing any branches that cross through the centre or rub together.
  • When cut, the inside of the stem should be white, not brown. If it’s brown, cut back the further until you see that the plant tissue is white.
  • Pull off any suckers that are below the graft.
  • Remove any leaves that are remaining as this will allow the plant time to adjust



how to care for roses: rose plant food

In Spring, feed pruned roses with Westland Rose High Performance Plant Food. It is also a good idea to mulch the soil with garden compost or manure to give the plant its needed boost of nutrients at the start of the growing season. Throughout the season use Westland Rose 2 in 1 Feed & Protect to protect from pests and keep your blooms looking beautiful.



Dead flowers can be cut back at any time during the summer months. During the flowering season, deadheading roses will encourage more blooms. Additionally, it will help to maintain the attractiveness of the plant for the rest of the season.



After the first frost, stems will need to be trimmed to prevent them from snapping during the strong windy weather that autumn may bring. Ensure that rose bushes are not top heavy to protect them from being uprooted in strong winds. Crossing branches that could be damaged by rubbing together should also be trimmed back. Be very careful and don’t be too harsh as pruning can stimulate growth, and new growth may be damaged by freezing weather. Remember to wait until late Winter to annually prune the rose harshly once the first signs of spring are upon us.

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