Looking After Roses

Looking After Roses

Our long term rose aftercare guide is perfect for looking after roses in your garden and keeping them looking healthy and beautiful!

How to look after roses

Your rose puts tremendous efforts into growing strongly and flowering in large numbers throughout summer and autumn which requires a lot of nutrients from the soil, feeding your roses on a regular basis keeps them strong and healthy and gives them much greater immunity to diseases and health problems.

Roses in garden borders should be fed twice a year in March and July after the first flush of flowering with 1-2 handfuls of a specific rose feed such as Empathy After Plant Rose Feed sprinkled all around the base of the plant. For roses being grown in containers give an extra third feed in late May.

To spray or not to spray your roses?

This depends on you and how good you want your roses to look and perform, the main thing is to make sure your roses are kept well fed and this will help greatly in keeping disease problems at bay or to a minimum level. Regular spraying of the foliage in summer months before you see problems will definitely lead to improved performance and much cleaner and healthier growth.

This in turn will lead to larger blooms and greater numbers of flowers and there are a number of safe, natural bee friendly products that we can supply you with to help keep diseases and pests away or treat attacks. We would strongly recommend alternating 3 products Uncle Tom’s Rose Tonic as a foliar feed and Blackspot and Mildew Spray, Sulphur Rose for Blackspot and Mildew Control & SB Plant Invigorator as a general all round Foliar Feed, Rose Disease and Pest control spray.

All of these products are safe to bees and pollinating insects & non resistant to roses so can be sprayed on the plants as many times as needed. 

We would recommend spraying from April to October for the best control with 1 application every 1 to 2 weeks, only spray when overcast or early morning or late evening if hot and sunny, never spray your roses in hot direct sunshine from mid morning to late afternoon as this will scorch your leaves and flowers..

Treating Greenfly, Aphids & Pests

Unfortunately greenfly love roses and at some point in the season you will get one or several infestations, because we grow our roses very close together we have to spray every 1 to 2 weeks during active growth to control and resistance to products is a problem even on a commercial scale.

It is impossible to guarantee all plants are free of the pests as eggs are so small they cannot be seen with the naked eye, it takes less than 2 days for an aphid egg to become an egg laying adult and the female eggs are already pregnant before they hatch so it’s no wonder population numbers of greenfly and aphids can suddenly explode all over your roses! Severe infestations can actually weaken flowering stems so much that the flower buds simply wither away and don’t open.

Control can be left to nature with birds and other insects like parasitic wasps feeding off them or the onset of cooler weather or wet and windy conditions which greenfly don’t like.

Alternatively you could spray pests and aphids directly early morning or late evening with a bee friendly product like SB Plant Invigorator and alternate with other friendly pesticide products available in garden centres or if you prefer a more natural control you can simply rub them off wearing a rubber glove between your finger and thumb or blast them off using a water jet gun attached to a hosepipe.

Deadhead your roses after flowering

once the petals of the flowers start to turn brown after fully opening and flowering they need removing, ideally before the petals fall to the ground to trigger your rose in to re-flowering again.

Leaving the flower heads on would mean instead the rose will put all its efforts into producing  rose hips with seeds inside for the rest of the summer and autumn and you will not get any further flushes of flowers in that year. With a sharp pair of Secateurs prune off the dead flowers to just above a leaf, cutting 2 or 3 leaves below the flower stalk where the stem growth is strong enough to support a new large bloom or truss of flowers

Applying an annual mulch

Apply well rotted garden compost or garden manure to a depth of 3-4” all around the base of the rose will help with disease prevention, improved health, weed control and give added moisture retention to the soil around your roses. On no account be tempted to use bark or wood chippings under garden roses as these harbour and breed disease spores which will attack your roses.

Train Climbing and Repeat Rambler roses

using trellis, wires, hooks or nails train and tie in  the main new growing stems with soft string or rubber coated wire ties through spring and summer. Encouraging the main branches or stems to grow sideways rather than straight up will help keep the flowers and foliage lower down in later years.

Watering established roses regularly

Avoiding the foliage during prolonged periods of hot dry weather is not essential but your roses will definitely benefit from this and reward you with more blooms, longer lasting flowers and improved health.

Remove Suckers & Wild Growth

Most roses are produced by grafting a bud from the mother plant onto a rose rootstock to give the rose more vigour and health producing a much stronger plant than a rose grown from a cutting. It’s quite common for the original rootstock of the bush roses or stems of the Standard roses to produce a completely different growth stem and flowers coming from below or above the grafted bud in later years.

This wild growth will look different, being a lime green leaf colour with a matt finish, which can overtake the growth of the correct grafted rose and eventually kill off the grafted part of the rose if not controlled.

When seen growing from the plant, trace it back to the base on the stem and cut off flush with the stem leaving nothing – this will stop the wild growth from re-shooting, if you experience wild growth coming from below ground, let it grow for a few weeks to become quite a strong stem and then, wearing a strong pair of gloves pull it out of the ground steadily until it snaps cleanly away from the root system.

Do not prune ground suckers as they will re-shoot again from the cutting point.

Products Mentioned