Best Tips For Growing Roses

Best Tips For Growing Roses

'Wild Edric'  -  heavenly scent and useful hedging rose

Follow our hints and tips for spectacular roses


  • Choose a sunny site with at least 4 hours sunshine a day.
  • Prepare the hole well; make it large enough to accommodate the roots when they are spread out.
  • Add a bucketful of well-rotted farmyard manure and a handful of blood, fish and bone or a balanced fertiliser, such as Growmore.
  • If you are planting roses where they have grown previously add some Rootgrow, a mycorrhizal fungi application which forms a symbiotic relationship with the rose and prevents the ‘rose sick’ syndrome, where the new rose just does not thrive when planted where roses have been growing. If you use Rootgrow don’t use the fertiliser as phosphorus in the fertiliser prevents the fungus from working.
  • Bare root roses come without any compost, but with the roots wrapped to keep them damp. They are usually cheaper than containerised roses. Plant them between November and March if soil conditions are favourable; if not keep the roots damp.
  • Containerised roses can be planted at any time of the year.
  • Plant with the graft point (the thick knobbly bit) just below soil level.
  • Plant containerised roses to the same depth as they are in the pot.

Rose 'Lady of Shalott'

'Lady of Shalott'

Planting in containers

  • Choose a container at least 4 x’s the size of the pot you buy the rose in.
  • Use a free-draining loam based, not peat, compost such as John Innes No 3.
  • Feed as you would if grown in the ground.
  • Be vigilant with watering as they dry out really quickly in warm weather; it may even need watering twice a day if it is hot.
  • Don’t plant ramblers in pots as they are too vigorous.

Rose 'Open Arms'

'Open Arms'


  • Keep them well watered, they don’t thrive in dry soil.
  • Feed well with a rose fertiliser after pruning in March then every 2 months until the end of July.
  • Mulch after feeding with a 5cm (2”) layer of well-rotted organic matter keeping it away from the stem.
  • Water thoroughly, not little and often.
  • Water at the base; watering the leaves helps spread black spot.

Rose 'The Lady Gardener'

'The Lady Gardener'


  • Prune shrub roses back by half to a third in early spring; late February to March.
  • Take out any diseased and weak stems.
  • Keep the centre fairly open to enable good airflow; this helps fight against disease.
  • When planting bare root roses prune to about 15cm (6”) high; this concentrates energy into forming a good root system.

Rose 'The Pilgrim'

'The Pilgrim'


  • Black spot is more prevalent in damp weather and is spread from the top of the plant to the lower leaves by water droplets, so always water at the base and not over the plant.
  • Spray with a fungicide at the beginning of the season to try and prevent black spot.
  • Plant varieties which are more black spot resistant.
  • Watch our video and read the blog showing you what to do if you do get black spot.
  • Aphids usually cluster at the growing tips and around the buds so just rub off between finger and thumb.
  • Feed the birds to encourage them into your garden and they will eat the aphids.
  • Spray with a systemic insecticide to deter aphids.
  • Powdery mildew occurs when the rose is dry and stressed so make sure it has plenty of organic matter, is fed and watered well. Maintain a good airflow around the plant by cutting out weak and diseased stems.
  • Blindness (not producing buds) can be the result of planting in the shade, frost damage or not enough food and water. Cut out the blind shoots, feed, water and mulch and you should get flowers late in summer. Some varieties such as ‘Peace’, a hybrid tea, and 'New Dawn’, a climber, are prone to blindness.
  • Pull off suckers (don’t cut them) where they are attached to the main stem at the bottom. You can recognise them by the fact that they are soft and sappy, almost thorn-less, quick growing, the stems are green rather than having that reddish tinge and the leaves are light green.  

Scarlet floribunda rose


  • Choose the appropriate rose for your particular situation.
  • Climbers are smaller than ramblers, have larger flowers and can often repeat flower later on in the season if well fed. They are suitable for planting against a wall, over an arch or pergola or up an obelisk.
  • Ramblers can eventually cover a large support, have large clusters of small dainty flowers and only flower once. They are suitable for growing up trees or along a long expanse of fence.
  • A lot of the David Austin shrub roses will make small climbers, up to 180cm (6’).
  • Climbers and ramblers produce more flowers if the branches are horizontal, so they are best grown on wires spaced about 60cm (2’) apart. Attach strong vertical stems to higher wires and cut out the weak in early autumn. If you just let them go you will end up with a tall plant with a lot of bare stems at the base and a few flowers way up at the top.
  • Although roses love the sun there are a few varieties which will tolerate a north facing aspect and produce some flowers, just not as many as if they were in a sunny position. ‘Madame Alfred Carriere’ (climber; white tinged with pink); ‘The Generous Gardener’ (climber; pink); ‘The Pilgrim’ (climber; yellow); ‘Crown Princess Margareta’ (climber; peachy orange); ‘Graham Thomas’ (climber; gold); ‘Climbing Iceberg’ (climber; white); ‘Danse de Feu’ (climber; small scarlet clusters); ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’ (rambler; double blush pink).

For more information on roses just get in touch with our Outdoor Plant team here in store.

Profile Image Angela Slater

Angela Slater

Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas.