About Rose Bush Maintenance


Roses have been favorite flowers for thousands of years, and thousands of varieties of roses from all over the world have been recorded in rose data banks. Yet many gardeners feel that growing roses is difficult. The trick to growing healthy roses is to understand what they need. Good basic rose care and maintenance will give you vigorous rose bushes full of lovely flowers.


Planting location plays a part in the general health of your rose bushes. Roses grow best in open, sunny areas. If a neighboring plant grows and overshadows a rose bush, relocate the rose to a sunny spot rather than trimming down the taller plant. Do this in the spring, just before your rose bush comes out of dormancy.

Basic Rose Maintenance

Roses need plenty of water, but not soggy roots or wet foliage. Watering should be done early in the day so the foliage will dry before evening, discouraging fungus and rot diseases. Drip irrigation is an effective way to water the roots and keep foliage dry. Maintain pretty foliage and flowers by watching for insects. Aphids can be washed away with a spray of water. Organic insecticidal soap deters many insects. Diatomaceous earth is an organic treatment that kills even Japanese beetles. Roses are heavy feeders. Maintain a regular feeding schedule by using a soluble organic fertilizer about every 2 weeks as part of your normal watering routine. Keep a clean rose garden. Rake up old foliage, spent flowers and petals, and other debris.


Pruning a rose bush is one of the most important ways to maintain its health. Beginning rose growers often fear making a wrong cut, but a misplaced snip will almost always grow back. Prune early in the spring to shape your rose bush. Thin out straggly canes and tip-prune to maintain sturdy canes.

Prune a Stressed Rose

A rose bush may become stressed due to weather, improper watering, insects, disease or other kinds of damage. First, eliminate or correct the source of stress. Then prune out damaged parts of the plant. Prune damaged canes back to clean wood, leaving two to three (stem) buds per cane which will grow into replacement canes. Fertilize to stimulate and support new growth.

Prune to Deadhead

Throughout the growing season, spent flowers should immediately be trimmed off and disposed of. Trim out wayward canes and any foliage that shows signs of trouble.

Pruning for Freeze Protection

Late fall pruning prepares the rose bush for winter. After the rose has dropped leaves in the fall, prune all canes back--12 to 20 inches is about right for most rose bushes. Protect the rose bush with deep, loose organic mulch. Remove the mulch in early spring just as the rose shows signs of new growth. Keep the mulch handy in case your rose needs some protection from a late freeze.

Keywords: rose bush maintenance, grow roses, rose care

About this Author

Fern Fischer is a freelance writer with more than 35 years' experience. Her work has been published in various print and online publications. She specializes in organic gardening, health, rural lifestyle, home and family articles. Fischer also writes about quilting and sewing, and she professionally restores antique quilts to preserve these historical pieces of women's art.