How to Garden a Rose Bush


Roses aren't nearly as intimidating as some gardeners think. They are easy to grow and offer many rewards. Being a successful rose gardener requires that you pay attention to the needs of the particular rose that you are growing and develop a schedule of routine care. Grow the rose bush in full sun for maximum bloom.

Step 1

Apply a 3-inch layer of mulch, 2 inches from the base of the rose bush, completely surrounding it. Spread it out to the width of the rose bush.

Step 2

Water the rose bush once a week to a depth of 12 inches. This is a general rule as watering schedules depend upon the weather and the type of soil. Place a soaker hose on the soil at the widest part of the rose bush and allow it to run for two hours per week. Do not allow water to touch the foliage as this sets the stage for fungal disease.

Step 3

Fertilize the rose bush with a rose food that is high in nitrogen (the first number in the fertilizer formula) at the start of the growing season and a formula higher in phosphorous (the second number in the fertilizer formula) when the buds appear. Apply the higher phosphorous fertilizer again when the buds are fully formed and once more two months prior to your first frost. Apply the fertilizer at the rate and in the manner suggested on the label.

Step 4

Provide air circulation around the rose bush. Cut any tree branches or other foliage growing within a 3-foot radius of the bush.

Step 5

Check the rose bush periodically for signs of insect infestation. Aphids are a common problem in the rose garden and can be managed with insecticidal soap. This product also controls spider mites, thrips and other common garden pests. If you need help identifying a pest, consult your county cooperative extension agent.

Step 6

Begin a preventative fungicide program in spring when foliage first appears on the rose bush. Apply the fungicide at the rate and according to the schedule suggested on the fungicide label.

Step 7

Prune the rose bush in early spring. The bush should have three main canes, or branches. Cut away any dead, diseased and old wood and any branches that are crossing over others. Remove stems that are thinner than a pencil. Make all cuts at a 45 degree angle and just above an outward facing bud (swollen bump on the stem).


  • Texas A&M University: Rose Care and Fertilization
  • DePaul University: A Basic Guide to Pruning Rose Bushes
  • The Olympia Rose Society: Pests and Diseases
  • "Taylor's Guide to Roses"; Nancy J. Ondra; 2002

Who Can Help

  • American Rose Society: How Often Should I Water My Roses
Keywords: care of roses, rose bush care, growing rose bushes

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations, worldwide. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.