The rose has been planted in rich, well-draining soil where it is receiving at least six hours of sunshine daily, and it is growing beautifully in your garden, but the next step gets overlooked, maintaining the rose plant. For roses that thrive for years to come, producing abundant flowers, experienced gardeners know that the key is in the maintenance of the plant after it has been planted. Caring for the rose plant requires diligence and a few basics.
Water the rose plant well beginning in the spring after the last frost has passed. Using a soaker hose, supply at least 1 inch of water per week. The soil should stay moist, but not soaking. Stop watering rose plants in late summer to allow it to enter the dormant stage.
Fertilize twice a year with a complete food, 5-10-10, designed for roses. Apply the first application in early spring as the new growth occurs and again in early summer. Apply according to the manufacturer directions.
Apply a 2-inch layer of mulch around the base of the rose plant to help retain moisture in the soil and control weeds. Use shredded bark, chopped leaves or pine needles, and reapply each spring as needed. Add a thicker layer, 3 to 4 inches, in late fall before the first frost to protect the plant's roots from the cold winter weather.
Keep the rose pruned to maintain the shape and improve the growth of the plant. Prune in the spring as the leaf buds appear and before blooming occurs. Cut out any dead, broken or crossing branches or canes, cutting clear down to the ground. Prune about one-third of the plant back, making 1/4-inch cuts above an outward facing bud, which encourages the canes to grow out keeping the center of the plant open.
Keep an eye out for pests that can infest a rose plant, such as aphids, spider mites and scales. Signs of infestation include tiny holes in the leaves and white cottony substance on the underside of the leaves. Use a steady stream of water to knock off the insects and carefully wipe down the leaves, especially on the underside. Use an insecticide specially designed for rose plants if the pests remain.