Roses aren’t difficult to care for, but you need to get the basics right to ensure happy and healthy plants…
By following these guidelines you’ll keep your roses blooming year after year.
Only the best spot will do
Creating a happy environment for your roses is the first step to ensuring that the plant continues to bloom. This means choosing only the best spot to plant them. We’re talking lots of sunshine (aim for at least six hours a day) and soil that drains well.
Top tip: Test your soil drainage by digging a 50cm deep hole and filling it with water. If, after two hours, the water hasn’t completely drained choose a different site, or alternatively try container planting.
When you’re planting your rose bush, fill the hole with half garden soil and half compost (your local nursery will be able to advise on the best type for roses).
Feed your roses
If rose bushes have plenty of foliage but no new buds, check your plant food. High nitrogen levels could result in no blooms, so opt for a more balanced version. Adding phosphorus to the soil will also promote flowering, and bananas are perfect for the job. Just chop up two or three peels and dig into the soil near the rose bush, avoiding the stem.
Banana peels can also be blended with water and poured around the rose bush to encourage buds. Once again, avoid the mixture touching the stem of the plant.
Prune when needed
Pruning roses encourages new growth and should be done between the months of July and August. What’s more, pruning also increases the size of the blooms! All stems and branches on standard roses should be cut to about 50cm from the crown. Remove all dead wood and leaves, allowing sunlight to reach the centre of the plant.
You also need to dead-head your roses to keep them blooming. Once the blooms have died, cut them off the plant. This will let the plant put its energy into new growth and new buds instead of forming rosehips.
Keep pests at bay
Pests love munching on rose buds and could ultimately kill the plant. Aphids and spider mites can easily be controlled by spraying the plants with an organic insecticidal soap – check out Faithful to Nature for a variety of options that won’t harm the environment.
Tell-tale signs of disease include curly leaves, powdery residue and black or brown spots on leaves. There are of course disease resistant rose varieties, which are easy to care for and don’t attract pests.
Don’t get too close
Roses need ample air circulation to bloom, which is why pruning often is so important. Don’t plant roses to close to each other, or other plants for that matter. Keep a space of at least 15cm between them, allowing air to flow between them.