How to Take Care of a Rose Bush


Rose bushes are close to being the perfect plants. They come in all varieties of colors and shapes, many have wonderful scents and they make lovely bouquets. With plenty of sunshine, water and fertilizer and with annual pruning, a rose bush can bring pleasure to a gardener for years. Whether you grow hybrid teas, floribunda, tree roses or climbers, if you provide the proper care, your rose will reward you with abundant blooms.

Step 1

Plant, or replant, your rose in a sunny spot in your garden. This is a critical first step; if the rose does not get at least one-half day of full sun you will be disappointed in the performance of the plant.

Step 2

Water deeply. It's best to let the soil dry out slightly between watering, but do not wait until the leaves begin to wilt before watering. You may water either by using the basin method (creating a small trough around the plant) or by watering with an overhead sprinkler.

Step 3

Mulch your rose with 2 to 3 inches of ground bark or mulching material. Mulch keeps the soil temperature more constant and helps the plant retain moisture.

Step 4

Fertilize your rose on a regular basis. Begin feeding just before growth begins in the early spring. This will vary depending on your climate.

Step 5

Prune your rose annually at the end of the rose's dormant period, just when you begin to see the new buds swelling. Prune climbing roses after they bloom in the spring.

Step 6

Remove any pests on the rose without delay. Aphids can be washed off regularly with water and spider mites or thrips can be controlled by spraying the rose with a commercial product designed specifically for roses and for those pests.

Step 7

Dust the rose with a commercially purchased product according to directions in order to control mildew, black spot or rust.

Step 8

Pick up any fallen leaves and pruning remains around the plant, especially if your rose has any mildew, black spot or rust. Do this job as needed and especially in the fall after the rose loses its leaves and goes into its dormant stage.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you water using an overhead sprinkler, be sure to do so early in the day so the leaves have a chance to dry out before nightfall.

Things You'll Need

  • Hose
  • Mulching material
  • Sharp clippers
  • Fertilizer
  • Insecticides
  • Rose dust


  • "Sunset Western Garden Book"; editors of Sunset Magazine and Sunset Books; 1977

Who Can Help

  • American Rose Society: Welcome to ARS
Keywords: caring for roses, rose bush care, rose bush needs

About this Author

A freelance writer with an extensive career in education, Susan Lundman taught writing and communication at the Military Academy at West Point, at military bases overseas and at community colleges in the United States. Working in a non-profit agency for 20 years, she wrote grant requests, promotional material, and operating guides. Lundman's expertise includes backpacking, dance, gardening and healthy living.