Water well and water often, to keep your rose in top condition!
Why do I need to water my rose? #
Roses need water to survive and thrive, just like you and I. Roses are thirsty plants, and cannot get all the water they need from the rainfall, especially in hotter and drier months. Watering your roses well and often is important to its growth and survival, as well as keeping them looking beautiful. Whether it is a potted, planted or bare root rose, it is important to keep your roses well watered. When they are in their optimum condition, it also means they have more resistance to pests and diseases.
How do I water my rose? #
The key point to remember is that you are watering the soil and roots, not the leaves and shoots! Whether you are using a hose or a watering can, its always best to avoid getting too much water on the growth of the plant by aiming underneath the canopy. Water can cause scorching, especially in the height of summer, can damage blooms, and can also wash away any feed or pest control you may have put on.
Watering potted roses #
Importantly, make sure your pot is free to drain. Roses do not like drinking stagnant water, and don’t like to be kept soggy! We pot our roses with a gap of approx an inch from the top of the pot to the start of the soil, and this helps with optimum watering. Soak your soil with water and fill that inch gap until it starts to overflow, leaving behind a reservoir. Then leave to drain, and let the rose soak up all it needs. In particularly hot and dry weather, we recommend repeating this once the water has drained through.
Watering planted roses #
Remember to direct your watering at the root base, rather than sprinkling over the whole plant. It is easier and more accurate to do this the closer you are, so you may find a hose extension helpful here. Keep your aim on the root base ideally until the water is pooling around, and leave to soak. As above, we’d recommend repeating these steps in particularly hot and dry weather. By giving the rose a good soaking, rather than more frequent but lighter waters, you also encourage deeper root growth, which in turn means the rose is more able to find water naturally in the soil.
How often should I water my rose? #
From about May, roses need regular watering, and the schedule increases as the weather gets warmer too. Newly planted roses will also need far more water than an established garden rose. See our handy chart below for a basic watering schedule – but bear in mind this will always vary depend on temperature, rainfall and soil condition too!
|Newly Planted Roses (3 months or less)
|Established Roses (4 months or more)
|Every other day
|Twice a week
|Every other week
|July/ August/ September
|Every other day
|Once a week
|Extreme drought or heat
|Twice a day
|Twice a week
|October – April
|Once a week, unless frosty
Can you overwater a rose? #
You can, although in soils or pots with good drainage it is unlikely. A rose with too much water will have leaves that turn yellow and start to droop. If your rose is in a pot, it’s worth checking that the drainage is adequate – your rose shouldn’t be stood in water. For garden planted roses your soil may be waterlogged, and it is worth addressing this for the health of all your garden plants – adding grit and small stones can assist with drainage.
At its worst, an overwatered rose will start to have root rot, which can then lead to the death of the plant. If this is the case you will need to dig up your rose to remove the affected roots, and change the soil.
How do I know if my rose is too dry? #
If your rose has not got enough water, it may show these tell-tale signs:
- Leaves curling up
- Leaf colour is dull and not glossy
- Leaf edges are brown and/or crispy
- Growth and/or blooms are starting to droop
- Generally looking unwell and sad
This is particularly necessary to be aware of if it has been exceptionally hot, and if other plants in your garden are dry. To help your rose regain its vigour, take a little look at the advice below. Also bear in mind you may need to increase your watering schedule to avoid it happening again.
My garden rose is too dry – help! #
Not to fear – simply make sure to give your rose plenty of water, and hopefully it will bounce back to life. Roses are fairly hardy plants, and with the right care they can go back to flourishing as if nothing has happened. Follow the advice above on watering your planted rose, ensuring to water the root base and letting the water soak in. This will need to be repeated a few times – it is worth bearing in mind that dry soil is not great at absorbing water so always check the soil has become moist again after soaking.
I let my potted rose dry out – help! #
If your containerised rose dries out, the water will not be taken to the roots and instead will flow off the soil and around the outside of the plant. If this happens, place the container in water and let the rose soak up from the bottom. This will ensure the water reaches the centre of the roots and will moisten the soil again. Once the soil is damp, it will no longer reject water and you can water as usual. Remember to remove the pot from standing in any water so that it can free flow after this.
For more handy how to guides, and other rose care information, see here.