How to care for roses
Including pruning and deadheading and feeding roses
Roses are a staple of cottage gardens and formal gardens alike and their sweet-smelling blooms are loved by gardeners everywhere.
Roses don’t require too much care and attention but with the right pruning, deadheading and feeding your roses will stay strong and healthy and reward you with flowers and fragrance for years to come.
B&Q have roses in stores from February to October. The most popular types include compact patio varieties, bush roses, climbing roses and standard rises.
The main pruning period for all roses is spring, depending on location in the UK – usually early in March in the south, and around the end of March in the north.
If you prune too early in the season, there’s a risk that the first flush of growth prompted by pruning may be burnt by frost – so don’t be too eager.
Pruning a shrub rose
Wear thick garden gloves and remove all dead or diseased growth and any stems that are rubbing against one another or pointing towards the centre of the bush. Also cut out all stems that are thinner than a pencil.
Do not put diseased material in the compost bin as spores can initiate disease elsewhere.
Cut cleanly at an angle to allow water to run off the cut, and prune above an outward-facing bud wherever possible.
The pruned bush should be balanced in shape and even in height, with an open centre and the stems pointing outwards.
In addition to the main spring pruning, light pruning in late autumn is beneficial for some roses. Climbers that produce long whippy shoots should have them reduced. Standards, shrub roses and hybrid teas can be lightly pruned again too.
Large rose bushes and climbers may rock around in winter winds and rains. Standards are also prone to this and may snap in two. Rocking loosens the roots and allows water and frost to penetrate around the stem, damaging the roots. Reducing the size of the plant minimises the risk of this happening.
Pests and diseases
All roses are prone to pests and diseases, so take special care to treat any problems as soon as you spot them.
To keep pests at bay, you might also want to spray the plant with a rose pesticide. Not only will this kill aphids (greenfly and blackfly) but it will also fight any existing infections of blackspot (shown), powdery mildew and rust – all common problems that can harm roses.
Planting other plants near your roses (companion planting) helps attract beneficial insects like hoverflies and ladybirds that prey on aphids. Another chemical free option is to pinch off aphids with your fingers. Do this regularly before they takeover the rose. Good airflow is also important for healthier roses. Give your roses some space, as this will allow airflow between the plants. The space will also help you to smell and enjoy the roses as well as deadhead them when they need it.
Stop deadheading your roses 3 to 4 weeks before the first hard frost so as not to encourage new growth at a time when new shoots may be damaged by the cold.
In the case of floribundas and other roses that produce a ‘head’ of flowers, you can snip off individual spent blooms and then remove the whole head once it has finished flowering.
Feeding and watering roses
Roses are hungry plants that will reward you magnificent displays with the right feeding.
Apply a good handful of manure to each plant in March and again in September. Alternatively use a rose feed but check the dosage and application instructions.
Roses in pots and containers will need feeding with a general-purpose fertiliser or rose feed every couple of weeks from April through to August.
In dry weather, make sure you water your roses at least twice a week (more often in pots) to keep them hydrated.
When using pesticides, do not exceed the recommended application rate and wash hands after use.
Always keep pesticides out of reach from children.