How to Grow Roses

The rose is the undisputed queen of the garden. Amazingly delicate and with an unmatched beauty, roses are surprisingly easy to grow under the right conditions. In fact, a simple patch of sunlight is all you need to coax one of these stunning flowers from a dainty bud to an exquisite bloom. Best of all, with more than 7,000 varieties of roses worldwide, you are sure to find one just right for your own garden in almost any climate!

Before You Plant

Choose the Right Type of Rose:


  • Hybrid Tea Roses are the most familiar plants. They grow in bush form, with flowers appearing at the ends of long, straight stems. Unattended, these bushes can grow to several feet in diameter and produce hundreds of full, florist-quality blooms.
  • Floribunda or Climbing Roses are perfectly partnered with trellises and fencing. With proper support, they can grow more than 12 feet in a single season. They are characterized by a single row of petals, with flowers occurring in clusters.
  • Miniature Roses feature tiny, perfect blooms on tightly formed bushes, usually only one to three feet in size. They are great additions to spaces where the delicate beauty of a rose is desired but there’s simply not enough room for the rambling, sometimes unruly vine or bush types.

Find a Suitable Place:

  • Roses prefer sunny, well drained beds. Choose an area with at least four hours of direct sun each day. Most varieties grow well in USDA zones 4-9, which includes all but the northern- and southernmost extremities of the US, although hardy varieties for other regions can be found at local nurseries.
  • Avoid areas with standing water. Roses love moisture, but will quickly die if they are forced to remain wet. Amend heavy soils with a sandy mixture to improve drainage, or simply create a raised bed for your roses.
  • If soil is too dry, roses will not prosper. Amend the soil with organic matter such as peat, compost, or manure. Sandy soils may require the addition of topsoil to achieve optimum conditions.

Prepare the soil:

    • To achieve a rich, dark soil with proper drainage, add peat, compost, loam, and manure to less than ideal soils. Work the organic matter into the soil until you have strong, earthy topsoil that holds moisture without becoming bogged down. If soil is too wet, add sand or raise the bed to create natural drainage.
    • Most roses should be planted in spring or fall. Either time allows the roots to establish before the shock of extreme weather conditions related to hot summers and cold winters, although spring is more forgiving than winter in most cases. For less than optimal planting times, consider a potted plant instead of a bare root rose.

Container roses are more adaptive to the transplant process, as there is less disruption to the root system and therefore less shock to the plant.

Planting/Growing Roses

What You Will Need:

  • Roses
  • Small shovel
  • Prepared soil
  • Garden clippers
  • Fertilizer made for roses

Steps for Planting Bare Root Roses:

  1. Select a location with proper soil conditions and plenty of sunshine.
  2. Trim all bruised, broken, or otherwise damaged branches or roots from the plant.
  3. Cut the top growth back to 6″-8″ from the root ball.
  4. Dig holes which are large enough for the roots without bending or breaking them. Make the hole a full 6″ deeper than the proper planting depth.
  5. Add a bit of sand, small rocks, or pebbles to the bottom of the hole to help with drainage.
  6. Combine approximately one tablespoon of rose fertilizer with loose soil before mounding the mixture at the bottom of the hole, creating a sloped surface to fully support the natural shape of the roots.
  7. Once the rose has been positioned so that the roots will be below ground and the top growth is above ground level, begin to replace the soil around the plant, stopping to pack it gently but firmly several times as you work.
  8. Mulch the plant to protect against weeds and hold in moisture.
  9. Water roses in the morning, and only when the dirt feels dry two inches below the surface of the ground. Over watering will kill the rose, no matter how carefully you prepared the soil and the drainage. Water deeply to encourage root growth, monitoring the frequency as suggested. One good watering is worth more to the health of your plant than several smaller ones.

Steps for Planting Potted Roses:

  1. Container roses can be planted nearly any time of the year, so long as the ground is not frozen. Ideally, plant in the spring or fall.
  2. Dig a hole that is two times larger than the pot the rose is in.
  3. Backfill the bottom with enough loose soil so that when you place the rose in the hole, the level of the dirt in the pot matches that of the ground.
  4. Carefully remove the rose and root ball from the container. Do not jerk on the plant or lift it by the trunk.
  5. Very carefully, loosen the dirt on the root ball, gently freeing some of the material.
  6. Place the rose in the hole, firmly patting the remaining dirt around the plant.
  7. Follow steps 8-9 to complete the planting process.

Growing/Pruning Roses

Follow these easy steps for a show-stopping display of blooms from early spring through frost!

What You Will Need:

  • Pruning shears
  • Stakes
  • Coated wire
  • Trellis or fence
  • Rose food

Steps for Care and Maintenance:

  1. Feed roses 3-6 times a year, or as directed on the package, beginning with a feeding in the spring as the plant begins growth. Remove mulch and work plant food into the soil around the plant, or use a liquid rose food that will drain into the soil.
  2. Keep roses mulched to retain moisture and deter weeds.
  3. Always water roses in the morning and at ground level. Avoid spraying the leaves with water, as the sun can “burn” them easily, causing damage to the plant.
  4. Use pruning shears to removed dead blooms, clip damaged branches, or remove all but one bud from a single stem to increase your chances of growing one truly amazing rose.
  5. Once climbing roses take off, be sure to support them with a trellis or fence. Particularly heavy canes may need to be gently tied to the vertical surface for additional support, which is almost surely needed once they are laden with blooms.
  6. Large bush-type roses may also need to be staked. Use a sturdy stake and coated wire to firmly hold thick branches in place.
  7. Use pruning shears to trim out weaker branches where they contact others for a healthier plant.
  8. Each spring, cut roses back, leaving 6″-8″ canes. Damaged canes should be cut off cleanly.
  9. Winterize roses by mulching heavily with peat or straw.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Always consult the tag or planting and care directions included with your rose before planting. There are literally thousands of varieties of roses, and each one may require a certain detail of care that was not mentioned here.
  • Removing dead blooms, or deadheading, encourages new growth and a healthy plant.
  • Properly space plants, using information on the tag. Crowded roses are more likely to become damaged or diseased.


Related Posts

No related posts.


  1. CC says:

    Ladybugs are great for aphid infestation.

Speak Your Mind