How To: Caring For Your Rose Bushes

Growing roses may seem intimidating and confusing for novice and expert gardeners alike. But, fear not! We're here to put those rumors to rest and help you along the way to grow more beautiful, healthy roses.


  • Before planting, dig the hole as deep as the pot the rose bush is in

  • When planting, make sure the root ball is even with the soil surface

  • Tug loose on the roots so they do not remain tightly wound in the root ball

  • Soil

    • Use fertile, well-drained soil (like Bumper Crop) as they do not like to sit in water

    • Remove any compact, no nutrient value parts of the soil & replace it with organic material 

    • Break up clay – water does not penetrate through clay and can cause root rot

    • Use peat moss or sand with the soil as this helps make room for oxygen to get to the plants roots


  • Would love 8 hours of sun, do OK in 6 hours
  • Consider shrub roses if your yard has less than 5 hours of sun light– monitor fungi (heat from sun dries foliage to help defeat fungi)


  • Roses use a lot of water but do not want to sit in it

  • They require 1 inch of
    water ONCE per week

  • Be sure to keep foliage dry when watering

    • Water in early morning to allow foliage to dry. 5AM-8AM (should dry by 8-10AM)

    • Avoid late evening watering – foliage remains wet for 12-15 hours (fungus field day).

    • Plants get wet at night (dew or rain); but not EVERY night – frequent watering eliminates dry periods that allow plant to fight fungus.

    • Mid-day watering hurts your water bill, not the plant (water lost to evaporation)


  • Roses are heavy feeders
  • Profusion of blooms requires abundant nutrients
  • Use balanced garden fertilizer so plant gets both macro AND micro nutrients
  • Water soluble: every week to 10 days. Heavy rain after feeding could reduce fertilizer
  • Granular: 3-4 week intervals (like Bio-tone and Rose-tone)
  • Time-released: 1x per month. Capsules do not get smaller; they get hollow

HINT: Water plant first – then add fertilizer – nutrients follow wet soil down to root zone – not pushed past roots by too much water.


Removing spent flowers to encourage the rose to keep blooming!

  • If flowers are allowed to go to seed, the plant will expend energy to produce seed and energy will be diverted away from flower production 

  • If seeds are produced, the plant will decide its job is done for the summer – energy will go to roots (good for next year’s flowers; not good for this year)

  • Waiting too long to deadhead will get you highs and lows of flowering.

  • Be consistent and the plant should not go in and out of color 


  • Removing large portion or entire stem (cane)
  • If not pruned, shrubs will get woody and inefficient in sending nutrients to the top – renewal pruning benefits the plant
  • Unpruned plants may get taller but will sacrifice leaves and flowers on lower portion
  • Improve air flow by removing canes growing through the center of plants – remove outside if growing too close to neighboring plants 
  • Spring is the preferred time to prune
  • Small red foliage appears to signal plant moving stored nutrients to upper regions
  • Remove all but 12-18 inches
  • Removing too much green growth will reduce plants ability to photosynthesize (Needs green foliage to bring in sunlight)
  • Take individual stem down then wait for plant to recover – continue process over extended period
  • If the pruning must be done in the Fall, wait until the plant is dormant (most leaves gone)
  • If pruned earlier, plants response to cut is to try to grow – new, unhardened growth will take severe damage from frost.
  • Don’t prune as deeply in Spring. Winter damage will take another 2, 4, or 6 inches depending on severity of winter – will need to be removed in Spring.

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