How to Grow Shrub Roses


Shrub rose is a variety of rose that includes Ballerina, Bonica, Lavender Dream, Earth Song, Eden and Knock Out Roses. Whether classic or modern, 'shrub' is a generic term used to describe rose bushes that have a wide-spreading habit or a dense, compact bush. Shrub roses tend to be hardy, such as the disease-resistant Knock Out Roses; this makes them popular choices in many flower gardens. Growing shrub roses involves selecting and preparing the garden site, watering and feeding, protecting, and pruning.

Step 1

Prepare the location for the shrub rose, chosing a site that has a minimum of 6 hours of daily sunlight, with soil that is moist, well-draining and rich, with a pH of 5.8 to 6.8.

Step 2

Plant the roses after all threat of freeze has passed and in the morning when the wind is low. This gives the plant time to dry before evening.

Step 3

Water the rose with an inch of water once a week, adjusting the amount to account for rainfall. Spread a 2-inch layer of mulch to help retain the soil moisture.

Step 4

Remove the faded blossoms, especially in shrub roses that are repeat bloomers, with sharp gardening shears held at a 45-degree angle away from the center of the shrub. Clean up the rose's debris around the bush and throw away; do not compost.

Step 5

Apply a complete rose food when the rose is blooming in the spring, using either a granular or liquid type. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on rose food.

Step 6

Treat diseases on the shrub rose by removing the affected leaves and spraying the plant with a fungicide. Signs of disease can include black spots, and powdery or downy mildew.

Step 7

Treat the rose shrub for insects by removing the pests by hand or spraying them with a pesticide. Common pests include aphids, spider mites and Japanese beetles.

Step 8

Protect the shrub rose from winter temperatures by spreading a layer of mulch or decaying leaves around the base of the shrub. Prune longer canes on shrub roses.

Step 9

Prune older shrub roses in the spring, after the last freeze, by removing one-third of the older canes and any stems that are no thicker than a pencil. Cut the rest of the canes down by one third. Spread white household glue over the cuts to protect them from infestation.

Tips and Warnings

  • When working with roses, protect your hands by wearing gardening gloves.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil testing kit
  • 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
  • Botanica's Roses; William A. Grant, Chief Consultant; 2000

Who Can Help

  • Conrad Pyle: The Knock Out Family of Roses
Keywords: rose, perennial, growing shrubs

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.