Rose Care Instructions

Everything you need to know about how to care for roses
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Watering Roses

How often should you water newly planted roses?

Newly planted roses need more frequent watering than established plants. As the plant roots grow out into the surrounding soil, watering frequency can be reduced.

How often should you water established roses?

Water established roses only when they need it, thoroughly allowing water to seep deep into the root system. A sign of wilting foliage in the morning signals the need for water. Thoroughly soak the root ball and surrounding soil.

How much should I water my roses?

Roses need at least one inch of water a week. Check the moisture level by hand and water as needed to keep plants moist. Water the plant and avoid wetting the leaves. Also, make sure that your roses have good air circulation.

Can you water roses too much?

Yes. Drenching roses with too much water at one time pushes nutrients away from the plant roots, leading to excessive weeding, fertilizing, and pruning. Additionally, frequent light watering can make the root system shallow and unprepared to handle the rigors of prolonged drought.

When to water roses?

Water plants early in the day to minimize water loss due to evaporation. Avoid wetting foliage, especially in the evening, to reduce disease problems.

In the hot summer months, roses need water only when they show signs of stress in the morning, which is expressed as curled or drooping leaves and branches. At this time of the year, some plants exhibit minor wilting in the afternoon that is natural as long as rigor is regained by morning.

What is the best way to water roses?

Drip irrigation systems and soaker hoses are a great way to effectively water roses while conserving water. These watering methods also promote disease free plants.

How long to soak bare root roses before planting?

One of the most important factors in the performance of a bare-root rose is proper hydration. If possible, soak your roses overnight before planting.


Do all roses need full sun?

Whether you have climbers, container roses, shrubs, or a rose bush, light requirements are the same: all roses thrive on at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day.


Do roses need special soil?

Roses thrive in rich, organic, well-drained soil.

What is the best soil for roses?

Soil mixes vary in the different regions of the country, but a good rule of thumb is 1/3 peat, 1/3 sand, and 1/3 bark. The mix should be moisture retentive but well drained.

Potted & Container Roses

How often to water roses in pots or containers?

Roses growing in patio containers usually require more frequent watering than plants in the ground. Be sure that all pots have drainage holes to prevent overwatering. Check plants often and be sure to wet the soil thoroughly until the entire root ball is saturated and water runs from the drainage holes.

Fertilizing Roses

Be sure your roses are well watered before applying fertilizer.

When should you fertilize roses?

Do not fertilize or add root stimulator at the time of planting. Fertilize roses in early spring once the chance of frost has passed and just before new growth begins. Additional light feedings can be applied throughout the growing season to encourage growth and flowering. Frequency depends on the type of fertilizer used. Always follow package directions.

Stop feeding in late summer to enable tender new growth to mature before winter.

Where should you apply fertilizer?

As a general rule, apply dry fertilizers (non-foliar-feed) on the soil between the trunk and the drip line (end of the branches). Always keep dry fertilizers away from the canes to prevent burning.

What type of fertilizer do you recommend?

We recommend fertilizing after each bloom cycle with a balanced fertilizer, such as 13-13-13.

Pruning Roses

Should I prune my roses before planting?

Always prune your roses before planting. Cut the canes to an 8 to 10” length from the bud union. Also, remove any dead or broken canes.

When to prune rose bushes?

The best time to prune roses is in late winter or early spring, around the time new growth begins. This could be as early as January or as late as May, depending on your climate.

How to prune rose bushes?

  • Remove 1/3 to 2/3 of the plant to stimulate new growth and flower production.
  • Remove canes that are damaged and one of two canes which may be rubbing one another.
  • Prune to open the center of the plant to light and air circulation.
  • Make your cuts at a 45 degree angle, about 1/4 inch above a bud facing toward the outside of the plant.
  • Use sharp pruning shears to make sure cuts are clean, not ragged.
  • Remove the entire flowering head by cutting the stem just above the first leaf with five leaflets.

How and when to prune climbing roses?

Climbing roses should not be pruned for the first two years. They need time to grow long canes for flower production. After that time, remove old canes to encourage new canes to arise from the bottom of the plant. The finest blooms on climbers appear on canes that were produced the previous year.

How and when to prune shrub roses?

Shrub and antique roses require much less pruning. Most shrub roses will naturally obtain a rounded shrub shape without pruning. Pruning these roses should be confined to shaping the plant, removing damaged branches, and judicious trimming back to encourage growth. This can be done in the spring after the first bloom is complete.

How to cut flowers for a vase or bouquet?

On all roses, cutting flowers is a form of pruning. When gathering rose blooms for a vase, always leave at least two sets of leaves on the branch from which you cut the flower to ensure plant vigor.