There are many different types of roses, and most of them are high maintenance. If you want a rose garden, you must know how to keep the roses thriving. Part of taking care of a rose garden involves choosing the proper location--cold hardiness zone location and AHS Heat Zone location--for various rosebushes. Choose plants that are able to thrive in your locale, and you have a head start on a beautiful garden that will last many years.
Prune the rosebushes after the last frost of the season. In the spring, after the last frost, prune bushes heavily for dead and decaying wood and plant matter. Cut the stems at a 45-degree angle to prevent water from sitting on top of the stems. Clear all cut plant and wood matter from the area of the rosebushes. Old plant matter invites and harbors disease, pests and fungi.
Rake all old compost or mulching material away from the rosebushes, making sure to uncover the graft union of all plants. Discard the compost or mulching material in a proper landfill (some counties have landfills specifically for yard waste).
Fertilize the rosebushes with rose fertilizer or organic fertilizer for roses. Water with at least an inch of water. Mulch the newly pruned and fertilized roses with 3 inches of new compost or pulverized bark.
Water the roses once a week with an inch of water. Watering deeply encourages root growth, which helps keep the rosebushes healthier. The healthier that a rosebush is, the less likely it will be plagued by viruses and fungi. Most roses need to be watered from the bottom, so as not to promote viruses and fungi. Check the instructions for the particular cultivar if you are growing that particular cultivar for the first year.
Check all rose plants on a weekly basis for powdery mildew and black spot. Check the rosebushes on a weekly basis for pests, including aphids, scale insects, spider mites, thrips, whiteflies and caterpillars. If you notice any of these things or any other pest, virus or fungi, treat accordingly with the proper pesticides and fungicides.
Prune the roses throughout the growing season for dead and decaying wood and plant matter. In the fall, stop pruning and feeding the roses 6 weeks prior to the first frost, so that the wood has time to harden before the cold sets in. After the first two or three heavy frosts, mulch with enough compost or pulverized bark so that the graft union is completely covered, in order to protect it from the cold.