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Rose Care & Hints


'PJ's Rose' growing in a garden setting

All roses respond to good feeding, pruning, spraying and watering. Roses are gutsy enough to be left to their own devices with just seasonal care, or can be pampered and manicured for that perfect exhibition bloom.


How to Plant your Rose

- Dig a large enough hole so the roots are not squashed and go straight down. Place a handful of good rose fertilizer and/or slow release fertilizer, compost and mix into the soil at the base of the hole so the roots do not burn.

- Place plant in so the crown or bud union sits on the ground (this is where the new shoots come from so don't bury, also don't sit it a way above the ground otherwise it will blow around in the wind). Fill hole and firm with soil.

- Give it a good water in, and don't forget to give it several good waters again the following week (with a 10 litre bucket or so) to help the new plant settle in. If planting a Potted rose, try not to disturb the roots in the potting mix.

- If planting a Bareroot rose, we have trimmed the roots ready for planting for you. This facilitates not only ease of planting but also promotion of growth. As a guide rose roots should be 10-15cm (4-6 inches long) for planting.

- Remember always plant with the crown or bud union at or on ground level. (European books suggest the bud union below ground level, however New Zealand roses and conditions are different).

Important: After September Potted roses may be quite established in the pot and you will need to carefully remove the hardpot or planterbag and place the whole root ball, without disturbance, into the hole you have prepared. It may also have been well pruned and will not require any further pruning.


Organic Tips

If roses are kept healthy (by way of plenty of feeding from early Spring till late Summer) they are less likely to get run down and pick up diseases and pests.

Good air circulation between plants helps too and liquid fertilisers such as maxicrop, nitrosol and fish fertilisers support the plant as well. Copper can be sprayed from winter on, and can be mixed with liquid fertilisers. There are organic sprays you can make up too. Two handfuls of lime at the base of the plant will keep the soil balanced in Winter.

A healthy soil grows healthy plants. Good mulching will conserve water and soak hoses are better than water systems that spray water everywhere. Always clean up leaves and prunings.


Companion Planting

To assist Roses against bugs there are many companion plants that can be utilised: Pansy, Pyrethrum, Chamomile, Garlic, Alyssum, Catmint, Freesia, Dwarf Bearded Iris, Violet (to name a few)


Herbs and the classic Box hedge make a great combination with roses


Your newly planted rose will need feeding to give it a good kick start in its new home. Incorporating animal manure or pellets, rose fertilizers or nytrophoska blue into the hole at planting is a great way to do this. A side dressing or two up to 3 times during the growing season, and seasonally is also good to continue to assist with further growth and flowering. Use a liquid fertilizer in any or all sprays that you apply, if you wish.


The Pruning Essentials

Roses will live without pruning but as they are deciduous they respond well to a good prune in winter. Doing this will give you lovely new shoots to replace the old ones, keeping the plant young with more flowers per season and shapely bushy plants.

Roses are very forgiving if you get it a bit wrong, so don't worry! Firstly it is handy to have a good set of tools to make pruning easier (leather gloves, secateurs, loppers, pruning saw for example).



Just remember a few specific rules:

Keep the bush looking young by always removing old or spent dead wood. Keep crowns clear of debris, bark, soil or scaly growth. Prune at least 1/3 off or up to 50% back in winter (June/July) as your main annual prune. In summer just dead head (remove spent flowers) and tidy up the bush.




Please Note: Newly purchased plants in winter can be pruned again to about 12 - 15cm long before you plant them in the garden, to really get them going and establish well.



A new rose requires plenty of water even if the ground looks moist on top (as the rose roots are well below ground level). Cath advises 10 litres (1 bucket full, or equivalent) per rose at planting, and every day for the first week, then two to three times a week for the next two to three weeks (winter or summer) regardless whether it has rained or not. By watering properly it ensures your rose will kick into gear, being the best they can be. Periodic watering for established roses (once every 2-3 weeks) over summer gives you the ultimate out of your roses. Avoid overhead watering.

Patios with Pots

Roses will last for years in pots, with good patio and tub potting mixes which are now available. These have long life slow release fertilizers and moisture crystals, making potting a breeze. Saucers under pots also help save on watering. As well as bush roses, mini standard and weeping roses look fantastic in pots.


A mini-standard in terracota pot are perfect for the patio, deck or apartment balcony

Cut Flower / Vase Life

It is best to pick rose blooms in the early morning or late evening (when sap flow is lower). Place blooms in a bucket up to their necks in water to give them a good drink before arranging. You may cut the stems again as you arrange. Some people swear by a capful of Janola in the water, or plunging the blooms in hot water then cold before arranging.



During the season as the rose flowers become spent, removing the head with about 3 - 4 inches of stem encourages more and new fresh growth which keeps your roses looking great as well as giving you that extra crop of flowers. The keen gardener dead-heads rigorously, but an occasional stroll around the roses can be invigorating to both the rose and the not so keen gardener until end of Feburary. Allow the plant to set it's hips in Autumn.



There is a wide range of products available for spraying roses for fungi and insects, including Sheild, Copper Oxichloride, Lime Sulphur, Winter and Summer Oils. .

If you want to know more, here is more detailed guide to what's best to do seasonally - Winter: You may spray with Lime Sulphur and or Copper at pruning (do not mix these sprays together), then 3 or 4 days later apply the oil (again do not mix with copper). Spring: Is the crucial time to prevent seasonal fungi which are climate related such as Downey Mildew. Bravo is best for this and should be applied by itself. In Mid - late spring Super Sulphur may be applied, then Copper etc at 2-3 week intervals at the correct rate for the time of year. You can also apply most liquid fertilizers with most sprays (but not Bravo) Late Spring: You may use Confidor to help control pests. Use Sheild once or twice alternately with other sprays. Summer: There are sprays especially for mites that are friendly to the predator mites, and Sheild works well over summer.

When spraying in the garden, take care NOT to use any Round Up near your roses. It is best to thoroughly clean out spray equipment between sprays to ensure no mixing of spray residues, or even better to have separate sprayers which are clearly named.


If you have any questions or would like to know more, don't hesitate to get in touch. See our details on the Contact us page.

Margaret Merril bush roses in Cath and Bob's garden