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How to Grow Roses

This article will help you to not only choose a rose but also how to grow roses and look after them throughout its life.

Choosing a rose

As there are so many varieties of rose, the choice can therefore be somewhat overwhelming. To help you choose it is worth considering the following:

  1. Size
  2. Flower style
  3. Planting position

1. Size

You should ensure you buy a plant that fits your space or container. As roses range from compact types ideal for patios to huge rose bushes.

Bare-root Roses

Usually available to purchase from November to March. These roses are dug up from the ground, and their soil removed. The roots are then wrapped to prevent drying out. It is worth planting this style as soon as you get it.

bareroot rose

Contanerised Roses

These are also bare-root, but they are already potted into compost to prevent drying out. Also available in garden centres November to March.

Container-grown Roses

These are available all year round,  and can be planted at any time. You may find these are a little more expensive than other varieties.


potted rose and compost

2. Flower Style

This is completely down to your own personal taste. Decide whether you want large blooms of an old-fashioned nature, or whether something more delicate might suit such as a tea rose

Do you have a preferred scent? Some roses have a beautiful fruity scent, whereas other have a tea like scent and even musk.

Think about what colour might work well in your garden also, amongst other plants.

3. Planting Position

It is worth taking an assessment of the conditions in your garden. Whether it is frost-prone, soil type, shade and sun. Then choose a rose that will thrive in exactly those conditions.


How to Grow Roses

When to plant

This will depend on the type of rose you have purchased:

Bare-root roses: plant out as soon as you receive them. Plant in late autumn or from late winter to early spring when the plant is not actively growing

Contanerised roses: plant all year round but as soon as you can after purchase

Container-grown roses: plant all year round and as soon as possible after purchase

Top Tip: Avoid planting roses when the ground is waterlogged or frozen or during and drought conditions


Where to plant

Plant your rose in a generally sunny spot that receives about 4 hours of sunlight per day. Try to avoid very windy and exposes areas. Also allow enough space around the rose, about 60cm so it doesn’t have to compete for water and light

How to plant

Choose a position with free-draining soil. Soil that does not dry out completely particularly in the hotter months.

Standard roses like the above should not be planted too deeply.

  1. Plant roses in a well-prepared hole with added compost to improve the soil structure as well as water retention
  2. Back-fill with soil and firm in well
  3. Water thoroughly
  4. Permanently stake the rose as soon as planted to avoid wind-rock and add stability to the top of the rose
  5. Check the stakes and ties every year to avoid damage

Planting bare-root roses

Plant this type in their dormant season any time between November and the end of March. This will help them establish quickly because the soil is still quite warm from the summer months.

Put your rose roots in water as you are preparing to help keep nice and moist.  Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the roots. Cover the roots in an mycorrhizal fungi to help stimulate the root growth. Then place the plant in and back-fill gently with soil. Add a horse manure compost to the top and water well.


Planting roses in pots

Grow compact roses in large pots. We recommend using a loam based compost such as Westland Rose Planting & Potting Mix. Water regularly and feed with a liquid fertiliser such as Westland Rose High Performance Liquid Plant Food or granules.

Westland Rose High Performance Plant Food

In autumn, simply remove a few inches of compost from the top of the pot and replace with some fresh compost, and mulch with manure – which the rose mix contains.

Pruning roses

rose pruning

Pruning is essential to the overall health health and vitality of roses. Winter is the best time to cut back most varieties, except rambling roses, which you should prune in summer.

The basics of pruning roses are largely the same. Cut back hard to promote the strongest growth, or light pruning will result in less new rose buds.

Ensure you cut to an outward facing bud to prevent compact growth, and remove any sense that could compete for growth.

We highly recommend using a pair of good bypass secateurs on the live stems and a pair of thorn proof gloves.


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