Roses are the epitome of a well-kept and well-adorned garden and with so many types, there’s one to suit a range of situations. With so many roses on the market though, it can be bamboozling what to go for. Rest assured - here’s a helpful summary so you can make the best decision for the type you want.
When they arrive
When your bare root roses arrive they will have 3 – 4 short stems and exposed roots. Roses are in their dormant phase between autumn and spring and are best planted during this time. Because they’re in their dormant phase, they don’t need much in the way of nutrients or water and are perfectly happy out of soil for a good few days.
As long as the ground is not waterlogged or frozen, bare root roses can be planted straight away (or within the next few days). If the ground is frozen when they arrive, or planting straight away isn’t convenient, the roots can be stored in a bucket of water or damp compost for up to a week. It’s a good idea to give them a soak in a bucket of cold water for a couple of hours prior to planting, doing this re-hydrates the plant and help to bring it out of dormancy once planted.
Planting bare root and potted roses
Dig a hole that’s large enough to fit the entire root mass without any roots being broken, bent or emerging from the surface. (In the case of potted roses, dig a hole that is twice as large as the root-ball but almost equally as deep.) It basically needs to be deep enough to entirely cover the roots or the root-ball all the way up to the grafting point on the stem. (The grafting point is the join where the stem of the ornamental variety is grafted on the root stock and is at the bottom of the stem).
When positioned in the hole, the grafting point should be just above the level of the soil surface.
Use a granular fertiliser to give the planting hole a boost before planting.
Position the Rose plant into the planting hole (making sure it’s straight and upright) and fill back in with the dug-out soil.
Firm down the soil around the base of the rose gently with your hands. Give the rose a good soak with water straight away after planting.
How to care for roses
After the initial watering, Roses tend not to need anything more until the weather starts to warm up in the spring. It’s a good idea to water new Roses regularly throughout their first summer season while they establish strong root systems, especially if the soil starts to dry out.
Roses benefit from occasional feeding. This can include a foliar feed, such as BioGro Black Gold, which is a natural, concentrated seaweed fertiliser that is applied when watering. Alternatively, scatter a granular fertiliser, such as Westland Rose Food with Horse Manure, around the stem and water-in.
Roses will best appreciate a sunny position so your plants produce many blooms. Be sure to keep roses well-watered and well-fed especially in those sunny spots where soils are prone to dry out quickly. Avoid planting roses where roses have been in the past – this is because the soil may harbour pests and diseases particularly harmful to roses. Adding roses to containers may alleviate the problem.
Remove the dead-heads of roses as and when needed to keep the plant looking neat and fresh. As autumn approaches and flowers are no longer being produced, leave the dead-heads in tact – many varieties produce attractive hips that provide vibrant colour throughout the winter.
How to prune
At the end of summer it’s wise to prune stems back by about a third. Reducing the length of stems keeps the plant tidy, less congested and less likely to suffer from wind-rock in the winter which loosens the roots and causes the stem to become less stable.
If you want your plant to produce lovely flowers year after year, make sure it’s well watered and well fed. Make sure it’s healthy too by pruning out dead, damaged or diseased stems as they arise. Do this at the end of the season and next year you’ll be rewarded with even more blooms.