Rose Care

Routine care of roses

Roses are often thought of as being high maintenance plants, but pruning can be simplified by adopting several quick techniques, and pests and diseases kept at bay by selecting disease resistant varieties and by prompt action as soon as signs of a pest or disease attack are noticed.

Hybrid teas and floribundas need proper pruning only once a year, the time depending on your garden’s exposure. If you have a sheltered garden, prune just before growth starts in late Feb or early March. If your garden is exposed to strong winter winds, shorten long stems in early winter to prevent the roses being damaged by rocking. Then prune properly in late March.

You can use the same technique to prune both hybrid tea and floribunda roses. Established shrub roses need to be pruned only once a year, and in the first year or two, a few of the longest shoots may be shortened by a third to encourage new bushy growth. Miniature and patio roses are best pruned in late spring, once the frosty season is over, using secateurs or scissors to snip off any dead or frost damaged shoots. Of all types of roses, though, ground-cover ones are the easiest to maintain because they only need pruning if straggly.

Buying roses
You can buy roses as either bare-root plants between October and March or as container plants all year round.

Bare root plants
These are grown in the soil and lifted in the autumn to be sold by March, when they start growing. They need to be planted out immediately, temporarily or in their permanent position so that their bare roots do not dry out.

Container roses
Usually grown in the soil, lifted and potted into containers. Their main advantage is that you can see the rose growing and flowering when you buy it.

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