Rose care – the basics

Growing healthy roses is essentially quite simple and doesn’t need any specialist knowledge or experience. To help we have outlined the basics below. Get the basics right and you will be best placed to have years of enjoyment out of your roses. Please do not hesitate to contact us for any further advice about rose care. See our how to plant a rose for planting information.

It’s fine to take some time to chose the right spot for your rose, after all you want to get it right. Whilst you decide please keep your rose or roses outside, where they will do best.

Rose watering


Newly planted roses will need far more water than an established garden rose. Water well and often. If a containerised rose dries out, the water will not be taken to the roots but will flow around the outside of the plant. If this happens, place the container in water and let the rose soak up the water. This will ensure the water reaches the centre of the rose to optimise rose care.

rose planting


Feeding roses is a very simple process and there are many ways you can get food to your rose. In our experience, folia feeding has proven to be the most effective way of feeding roses. Folia feeds are concentrated liquids that are diluted and sprayed directly onto the leave of the rose, resulting in stronger leaves and greater disease resistance. The other form of rose feed is granule feeding. The granules are sprinkled and mixed into the soil around the base of a rose in order for the nutrients to be taken down to the roots through watering over a longer period of time. We recommend that you begin feeding your roses at the beginning of the season, when they start growing again, then again every two to three weeks to ensure continued flowering well into the autumn months. 

Rose pruning

Pruning & Dead heading

Pruning roses helps keep them healthy and ensures that they produce plenty of blooms year on year. It’s easy to get rather overwhelmed by the prospect of pruning – after all there is a lot of information on the subject – so below is some general guidance on what to do.

Don’t be put off by worrying if you think you have done something wrong. Roses are very tough plants and will bounce back from even the harshest prunes.

Bush and Shrub Roses: Bush roses should be pruned down in the spring to half their height, remove all dead wood, and that’s the job finished, what could be easier?

English Shrub Roses: Due to the large blooms on these roses, it is beneficial to not prune them too hard for the first couple of years, let the stems mature and strengthen, so that they are able to support the flowers.

Climbing Roses: Climbers differ from ramblers as they flower on this year’s new growth. They should be pruned in the spring down to the height you require, plus remove any dead wood. This will promote new growth for this year’s flowers. After three or four years, start removing the old stems (one per year) towards the bottom of the rose, this promotes new growth lower down, so you get flowers all along the plant and not just at the top.

Rambling Roses: Ramblers differ from climbers as they flower on the previous year’s growth, so if the rose is pruned in the spring you will remove all the new stems and end up with no flowers. The correct time to prune ramblers is just after flowering, as they will then start to produce new wood for the next year’s blooms.

Once your roses have finished flowering, the spent blooms should be removed. If left on the bush they will waste energy by forming hips. If you dead head regularly the bush will continue to grow flowering shoots ensuring a good show of blooms well into late summer, and sometimes through the autumn, depending on the variety. Recent trials have found it beneficial to leave as many leaves on the plant as possible.

Remove the old blooms off to the first leaf, this method promotes the rose to bloom again faster and will also produce more flowers. Some older varieties of rose, and the rugosa roses, produce large and often attractive hips, so if this is the case for your rose, you may wish to leave the finished blooms on the bush.

Rose Care Help

With over 30 years experience in growing roses we know that the most common reason why roses are not doing well is lack of water. Roses need watering regularly throughout the growing season, regardless of rainfall. We recommend daily watering for newly planted roses so that the look their best. If the leaves on a rose have dried out and gone crispy or brown, all is not lost. Keep the rose well watering and in a few weeks new buds will grow.