Chinese tea roses are a medium-size shrub with small blooms. Flowering in a variety of colors, the tea rose is a hybrid that requires full sun. It has an extensive but shallow root system that makes it susceptible to root rot. For this reason, the tea rose requires soil that is well drained and growers must follow a careful watering and mulching cycle.
Plant the tea roses 12 inches apart in the garden space to allow for growth and expansion. This provides adequate sunlight to each plant, without crowding and overshadowing each other. Choose a location with at least six hours of full sun each day. In more shaded areas, you will see fewer blooms. Spread peat moss 1 to 2 inches deep across the planting area and work into the soil. This will improve any drainage issues the soil may have, improving the health of the tea rose. Spread the roots on the shrub before planting. Dig a hole 1 to 2 inches deeper than the original container with the spade and place the plant, roots spread, into the hole. Backfill the hole with the removed soil.
Water the plant generously. Apply a layer of mulch 2 inches deep in the rose garden, preventing the mulch from touching the stems of the tea rose bush. Provide 1 to 2 inches of water each week if there hasn't been adequate rainfall. Apply a rose fertilizer every three weeks. Uncover the shrub base, removing the mulch from the area. Apply the fertilizer according to the package directions, and water generously. Reapply the mulch to the area.
Monitor the tea rose for pests. Spider mites and aphids are most common among Chinese tea rose plants. Remove the mites and aphids from the plant when you see them, using a forceful water spray, from a garden hose. Apply a mist of soap solution and rinse with warm water to prevent re-infestation of the mites. Combine 1 tbsp. dish liquid soap with 1 qt. of water in a spray bottle. Mist the plant's leaves. Rinse well.
Cover the tea rose in the winter with straw or pine needles. Tea roses need little protection in the winter; this covering is enough to keep the rose healthy until spring. Place the covering loosely on the plant before the first frost, and leave in place until the last frost of spring. Do not fully cover the tea rose. This will smother and damage the plant.
Prune the shrub each year. Remove dead spindly branches with hand pruners. Cut at the base of the branch, against the trunk of the shrub.