Roses are often mistakenly considered a hard-to-grow and troublesome plant, needing frequent care, but unless you are a master gardener entering contests for your prized roses, growing roses at home is relatively easy. Whether you have rose bushes or climbing roses, these basic instructions will help you grow strong, healthy plants that will continue to provide color and fragrance to your home garden for years to come.
Growing a Rose Bush
Plant the rose bush in an area that receives at least six hours of full sun daily. Too much shade can make the plant too leggy and lessen the amount of blooms. The soil should be well-draining and amended with compost before planting.
Water two to four times per week, soaking the soil deeply for at least 30 minutes each time. On average, a rose should receive approximately 1 to 2 inches of water weekly. Soak the soil down about 1 foot deep using a soaker hose or irrigation drip system to ensure deep watering. Water first thing in the morning to allow time for the water to soak in during the day.
Feed roses once a month, beginning after the first leaves appear on the bush in the spring. Use a granular all-purpose 10-10-10 fertilizer, applying it according to the manufacturer directions. Stop fertilizing by Labor Day weekend or before the first frost to allow the rose to start going dormant for winter.
Apply a 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch in spring after the last frost. Mulch helps retain moisture and keeps the soil cool, while reducing weeds. Use organic wood chips, shredded bark, chopped leaves or peat nuggets and replace as necessary.
Prune rose bushes in early spring as soon as buds begin to swell. Remove any dead, diseased or crossing stalks, cutting clear back to the ground. Cut stalks out that grow straight up from the middle of the bush, forming an open center that allows for better air circulation and more sunlight to reach the center of the bush. Cut the rest of the stalks back about one-third and cut at a 45-degree angle. Throughout the growing season cut off any spent flowers to increase the amount of blooms.
Growing a Climbing Rose
Plant a climbing rose in an area that receives at least four to six hours of full sun daily, with some partial shade in the afternoon, especially in areas that have warm summers. The soil needs to be well-draining and should be amended with compost before planting.
Water infrequently, but deeply once a week using a soaker hose or irrigation drip system. A climbing rose needs approximately 1 inch of water per week, whether from rain or other watering sources, and should be watered when the top 2 inches of the soil is dry.
Fertilize in early spring using a time-released, all-purpose rose food, such as 5-10-5. Apply it according to the manufacturer directions. Add another application after the blooming ends, but not after midsummer when the plant needs to start going dormant for winter.
Support the climbing rose using a trellis, which can be placed near a fence or shed. An arbor can also be used, allowing the rose to grow up over it. Tie the main rose stalks to the trellis or arbor. As it grows, retie as necessary.
Prune a climbing rose after the second year. Prune once a year immediately after blooming is done. Climbing roses bloom on old wood and if they are pruned in the spring, that season's growth will be cut off and it will reduce the amount of blooms. Cut off old, dead stalks and any dead flowers only.
About this Author
Residing in Southern Oregon, Amy Madtson has been writing for Demand Studios since 2008 with a focus on health, pregnancy, crafts and gardening. Her work has been published on websites such as eHow and Garden Guides, among others. Madtson has been a childbirth educator and doula since 1993.