Guide to Planting and caring for your roses.
Here at C & K Jones, we really do love roses… in the true meaning of the verb:
A rose plant takes 18 months to produce. We plough our fields with care, prepare the ground, plant rootstock, water, feed, bud rose varieties, water some more, tend, prune, lift, trim, carefully label and pack your rose so that it arrives with you in great condition, ready for planting in your pot or garden.
We have developed this guide to help you care for your rose plant(s) so that they may give you as much pleasure as growing them does for us.
Where to plant:
Consider where to plant before you buy. Avoid complete shade. Some roses will tolerate partial shade, but they prefer at least 4 hours of sunlight each day. The more sun your rose gets, the better. Ensure it has enough space so that the roots are not competing with other plants. Roses are versatile, they will grow in most soil types and positions.
When to plant:
Roses can be planted all year round although we would suggest avoiding times of drought, waterlogged, or frozen soil conditions.
If you can get a spade in the ground then plant your roses. It is much safer for them to be planted than not. Frost should not harm them. Protect containerised plants if freezing conditions persist for more than 1 or 2 days without a break. Ideally, bring them into a shed, garage or greenhouse.
Planting your roses:
Preparation: Dig over & condition soil, incorporating organic material such as manure or compost. Remove weeds if any are present.
On arrival. Check all roses ordered have arrived undamaged and roots are still damp. Plant immediately if possible. If not, roses can be left in the sealed package in a cool place for 3 - 4 days, or you can heel them in. (Heeling in: Dig a hole big enough for all the roots, cover loosely with soil up to and including 1”or 2” (3-5cm) of the stem. Plant properly when possible.)
Planting Bare Root Roses
Wet the roots before planting. Don’t let roots dry out as you plant. Ensure the planting hole is big enough to accommodate the root system. The ideal planting depth is to have the crown either level or just an inch below the soil surface. Break up soil at the base of the hole with a fork. Incorporate a spadeful of compost (especially in heavy soil) and well rotted manure if available. Adding Rootgrow mycorrhizal fungi at this point when planting helps rose plants form their secondary root system quickly.
Spread out the roots and cover with fine soil ensuring that there are no air pockets. Firm as the hole is filled. Finally, secure the plant by lightly firming with your foot.
Planting container roses in a bed / border:
Water the pot generously. Do not disturb the root ball if possible. Ensure the planting hole is big enough, (add Rootgrow at this point if using it). Gently squeeze the pot and remove rootball by tipping the pot upside down while supporting the soil surface while supporting the crown of the plant. Lower root ball so the crown is level with or just below the soil surface. Refill with friable soil and / or compost.
Ensure pot is big enough, the deeper, the better. Some roses don’t do well in a pot. (See descriptions on web site or ask if unsure). Roots can be trimmed before planting in John Innes No3 or similar.
Watering new roses: Essential
Water copiously to ensure establishment. Give half a bucketful every other day for the first 2/3 weeks. Keep a regular watering routine especially in drought conditions. Watering is especially important in the first year whilst the plant is establishing its root system.
Feeding: Highly Recommended
Apply proprietary fertiliser in accordance with instructions on the box. Foliar feed around every 6 weeks during the growing season with Uncle Toms Rose Tonic, Miracle-Gro or similar.
Dead-Heading: Important for Flower-yield
Removing finished flowers throughout the growing season encourages more to grow.
Pruning: Important for encouraging growth, maintaining shape and structure
Pruning (removal of damaged, dead, dying, weak or diseased stems) is essential for roses to thrive.
Prune to create an attractive shape and encourage new growth. Prune harder if you want to keep the plant smaller and less hard for taller growth, but prune to suit the rose’s expected size.
Pruning New Roses:
Bush Varieties: At end of February/early March, prune back to an outward facing eye 4” to 6” (10-15 cm) above ground. Reduce by 2/3 thinner, weaker side-shoots.
Climbers, Ground cover and Shrub roses
Prune to an outward facing eye where possible 10” to 12”(25 -30cm) approx from the crown. Reduce weak shoots by 2/3.
Pruning established roses:
Bush varieties (including mini’s): after flowering has finished during November or December reduce height of the bush by 1/3 to help prevent wind rock.
At the end of February / early March cut down to 4” to 6” (10 to 15cm). Leave floribundas and perpetual flowering shrubs a little longer, somewhere between 8”-12” (20-30cm).
Once – flowering varieties: trim lightly only where necessary, usually during the summer immediately after flowering. Remove all dead growth.
Climbers: Cut back approx. 1/3 of the stronger new growth. Reduce any spindly wood to 4” (10cm) from the main stem. Every 4 or 5 years consider reducing one older shoot to 18 inches (45cm) to encourage new growth from the base of the plant.
Ramblers: Prune where necessary after flowering (in summer only). Consider reducing one older shoot to 18” every 5-6 years to create new growth from the base.
Groundcover roses: Trim where necessary, taking out one older shoot every third or fourth year.
Standard roses: Ensure a good stake and tie are used for securing the plant. Remove suckers on the stem. Prune upright varieties to approximately 6” to 10”(15 to 25cm). Weepers; trim where necessary. Reduce older shoots to 12” (30cm), but only 1 or 2 per year.
Pests and diseases
Always prevent rather than cure. Ensure the variety is suitable for the location and aspect in which it is placed. Damp conditions can lead to problems. Over or under watering weakens plants. Tidy gardening prevents disease. Clear away leaf litter whether diseased or not. If using sprays, begin in early March using a proprietary fungicide & insecticide. Spray every 3-4 weeks for good protection. Do not use only one chemical. Alternate between say, Rose clear 3 and Uncle Toms Rose tonic. Don’t mix chemicals unless it says on the box that you can. A winter spray during November will help prevent problems.