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Kelways Guide to Roses

Super Fairy Rose


Where to Plant Roses

Most roses are very hardy and extraordinarily forgiving, but for the best results and the healthiest plants it is worth giving a little thought to matching the right rose to the right situation.

Choose a position that receives at least a few hours of sunshine each day. Try and make sure that roses are not planted too close to the shade and drying action of large trees, the exception being the climbers and ramblers which often thrive best when planted under a tree and being made to search for the life-giving sunlight.

Its always best to plant roses where there is some air movement around them. Still airless places can be harbours for fungal problems in the future.

Rose Care Checklist

To keep your roses in tip-top condition, following our checklist below:

  • Plant in a sunny open position, although climbers and ramblers do well under trees
  • Most soil types, but preferably not too wet in the winter
  • Add plenty of organic matter when planting.
  • Plant as soon as possible after receipt or purchase, and do not let the roots dry out. 
  • Feed with granular rose fertilizer in March, and again at the end of June.
  • Prune each year in February/March
  • Gather up old leaves in the autumn and dispose of them

Planting Roses

Good soil preparation before planting your roses will reap rewards in future years. Dig a hole at least 30cm (12in) deep and wide. Mix in some garden compost and a handful of bonemeal or general fertiliser (Vitax Q4+ is great for fertilising when planting roses). The planting distance depends on variety but in general should be around 60-75 cm between plants.

As a general rule the base of the rose stem should be about 6-8cm below soil level. Container grown plants are already potted at the correct level, so plant to the same depth. Containerised roses are the way that most plants generally sold. These are field grown roses that have been containerised to keep the roots moist until they are planted in their final position. So don’t worry if the compost falls away while you are planting

Feeding Your Roses

Feed all plants with a proprietary rose food in March, followed by a further feed at the end of June to promote the prolonging of flowering escpeically with repeat flowering types.

However avoid excessive feeding escpecialy nitrogen as this can produce too much soft growth and make the plants susceptibel to pests and diseases.

In the spring apply a generous mulch to help seal the moisture in the soils and also reduce weed germination.

Pest and Disease Control for Roses

Systhane is asystemic fungus fighter for use on ornamental plants, roses and fruit treesTraditionally roses were regularly sprayed with a whole armoury of chemical nasties to keep the foliage clean.

The more modern apporach is that if the plants are growing vigorously in a position that suits them, then they are more likely to stay healthy and ward of pests and diseases. Also, most modern cultivars have good natural resistance to fungal problems.

However, if you must spray, Systhane is the best chemical for treating rust and blackspot.

At the end of autumn, rake up all the fallen rose leaves and dispose of them rather than composting them.

Rose Pruning

As a general rule, the best time to prune is in February, when the new growth buds should just be starting to swell. Using sharp secateurs, work your way around each plant removing all dead wood, followed by diseased, weak, or very old stems.

Shrub and bush roses should be pruned back to around a half to two-thirds to promote a good bushy habit.

Climber roses should have the previous year's flowered stems removed, and the new stems tied into their support.

Rambler roses should need little or no pruning other than the removal of dead or diseased wood. Occasionally a rambler will need a severe prune back. This is fine and safe to do, although flowering will inevitably be reduced in the ensuing season.