How to Grow Roses

Mr. Lincoln Rose image by retpo/


Queen Elizabeth. Don Juan. Mr. Lincoln. Whether climbing, old garden, hybrid tea or other varieties, roses have long been a favorite of many gardener. Despite their soft petals and delicate fragrance, roses are hardy plants and, once established, can survive extreme conditions and live for many seasons. Growing roses requires proper planting conditions, and sufficient water and nourishment as well as protection from pests, diseases, and winter weather.

Step 1

Plant the roses in a spot that receives at least six hours of full sun each day. The soil needs to be rich and moisture-retentive; mix in equal amounts of potting soil, peat moss and mulch to enrich the soil. Roses need a soil pH of 5.8 to 6.8. to thrive. The University of Vermont Extension has instructions for amending pH of garden soil.

Step 2

Water roses about 1 inch once a week, unless there is sufficient rain. This trains the rose's roots to grow deeply for moisture. Water in the morning to allow the leaves time to dry and avoid diseases caused from wet foliage.

Step 3

Spread a 2-inch layer of mulch under the rose. Mulch enriches the soil, retains moisture and reduces weeds. Unless the rose has been planted within the last month, avoid touching the rose canes with mulch; it can damage the rose.

Step 4

Deadhead the faded rose blossoms. Trim below the faded bloom, holding sharp pruning shears at a 45-degree angle facing away from the center of the rose. This opens the bush up, which reduces disease. Clean up the trimmed leaves and petals, as well as any that fell on the ground, and discard them.

Step 5

Use a complete rose food. Some are sprinkled, some poured and some sprayed on the rose. Follow the directions on the package for method and frequency of application.

Step 6

Protect and treat the rose for diseases and pests. Remove leaves, stems and canes that are affected with black spot or fungus, and spray the bush with a fungicide. Insects can be sprayed with a pesticide, either organic or chemical, or they can be picked by hand.

Step 7

Winterize the rose according to your region and the rose's needs. Many roses need to be trimmed back to prevent wind damage, or to have mulch or decaying leaves mounded around the base. Other roses do not need winterizing. According to the Conard-Pyle Company, in warm regions, Knock Out Roses do not need special protection for cold weather. Check with your local extension agent for specific instructions for your area.

Step 8

Prune established roses every three years. Once the last frost date has past, cut a third of the oldest canes, removing them completely. Remove any canes that are not at least a pencil-width thick. Prune 1/3 off the length of the remaining canes. Smear cuts with white household glue to prevent infestation by insects.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil testing kit
  • Shovel
  • Sulfur
  • Hydrated lime
  • Compost or well-rotted manure
  • Mulch
  • Peat Moss
  • Complete rose food
  • Fungicide
  • Pesticide
  • Decaying leaves
  • Gardening shears
  • White household glue
  • Gardening gloves


  • Ortho's All About Roses: Dr. Tommy Cairns; 1999

Who Can Help

  • University of Vermont Extension Department of Plant and Soil Science: pH for the Garden
  • Conard-Pyle: The Knock Out Family of Roses
Keywords: perennials, growing roses, rose

About this Author

After attending Hardin Simmons University, Kay Dean finished her formal education with the Institute of Children's Literature. Since 1995, Dean has written for such publications as "PB&J," Disney’s "Family Fun," "ParentLife," "Living With Teenagers" and Thomas Nelson’s NY Times bestselling "Resolve." An avid gardener for 25 years, her experience includes organic food gardening, ornamental plants, shrubs and trees, with a special love for roses.

Photo by: retpo/