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How to care for roses

Published: 18th June, 2015

Geoff_Hamilton rosesRoses are one of the most popular of our garden flowers. This popularity is not new but dates way back beyond the middle ages. With their incredible fragrance and their wide range of striking colours from early spring until autumn they can really make a statement in a garden.

Despite being among the most adaptable and resilient of plants, roses have a reputation for being difficult to care for. But this is not the case. With the right watering, sunshine, occasional feeding and a bit of pruning, roses should thrive in most gardens.

Follow our guide of simple steps for caring for your roses:

Watering roses
Regular watering is essential to ensure roses grow strong and healthy and, most importantly, produce more flowers. Deep watering to about 5-6 cm should be done at least once a week and in hot, dry periods more frequently. Set the hose at the foot of the rose and let the water soak in.

Feeding roses
Roses, especially the repeat flowering varieties, need a generous supply of nutrients regularly through the growing season. Slow release or organic fertilizers applied to the ground are the most effective; Use an all-purpose garden fertilizer, because it has balanced amounts of N (nitrogen), P (phosphorus), and K (potassium). There are also many rose specific foods on the market which are equally fine but not essential.

Mulching roses
Mulching with organic matter such as well-rotted manure will help to conserve water, keep the ground cool and feed the microorganisms and worms in the soil. Apply immediately after feeding.  Well-rotted compost or chipped bark will also work. Keep the mulch away from the  rose stems, leaving a 10cm (4in) gap between the mulch and stems

Summer pruning of roses
Though early spring is the time for the annual cut-back, summer pruning will help to maintain the height and shape of your shrubs and keep them looking balanced. Remove any dead wood, damaged stems or stems that are rubbing against each other or growing in the wrong direction to where you want them. Use a clean, sharp blade and periodically disinfect pruners between cuts, especially if you are removing diseased branches.  You may also want to remove any buds that have failed to open due to rain.

Deadheading and tidying up roses
Deadheading is the practice of removing spent blossoms.  Not only does it dramatically improve the appearance of your plant but it encourages quicker repeat flowering, by diverting nutrients and energy from seed production (rose hips) back into more leaves and flower buds.  Cut back to a strong leaf bud without removing any more leaves than needed. Whenever you see badly damaged, diseased, or dead leaves, remove them. Throw them in the dustbin rather than in the compost pile or they may spread disease.

Keeping roses free from pests and diseases
The best way to keep your plants free from pests and diseases is to choose disease resistant varieties and to grow them as well as possible. Some spraying may be beneficial especially early in the growing season. Of the pests and diseases that do affect roses, aphids seem to be the most common.
Read our blog on Getting rid of aphids on roses.

On our 40-acre site we have an extraordinary selection of roses of every kind and colour here at Henry Street Garden Centre, all at value-for-money prices. We’re the largest rose plant grower in southern England, with over 350 rose varieties and 95,000 plants.

We also stock a large range of foods and fertilizers. If you need help in finding the best plants for your garden or advice on the best products to care for them, then our garden experts will be more than happy to help you in our store.

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