Frequently Asked Questions

How often do you feed roses?

Roses are hungry plants and ideally should be fed at least four times every year. First feed after the winter prune; second feed in mid September in time in the warmer zones or early to mid-October in the cooler zones; third feed in late November; and the last feed in mid to late February.

How often do you spray roses? 

The main rule to remember is that 'prevention is better than cure'. Spraying your rose bushes regularly will help to prevent the build up of pests and diseases will keep them healthy. Spraying should be done approximately every 15 days from the time they start to produce healthy foliage after the winter prune and up until the end of the growing season. If the rose bushes get a big infestation of diseases or pests, they may need to be sprayed more frequently. NOTE: It is important to carefully read the instructions on the packet of the products you are going to use and use the sprays according to these instructions. 

How should I prune my roses?

For the winter pruning, it is best to remove half to two thirds of all growth including all the dead wood and spindly growth. If the rose bush is not growing as vigorously as the other roses in your garden it is best not to prune as hard. Floribunda roses should not be pruned as hard as hybrid tea roses.

Ideally you should leave 3-5 strong, healthy, green coloured canes with the centre nicely opened to allow good air flow throughout the growing season. Prune the canes down to a good thickness, no less than 10mm, ideally to an outward facing bud. Clean up all the prunings, pick off any foliage and clear up dead and diseased leaves from the garden. 

What are basal shoots?

Basal shoots are new growth emerging from the union bud of the rose bush. They are very susceptible to being broken in the wind, so it is best to tie them until they harden and become strong canes. They must be looked after because they are new life for the rose bush and will carry the new blooms in the following year.

Basal shoots should not be mistaken for root stock, which grow from below the union bud, have a different type of foliage and have spindly growth. Do not cut off with secateurs as it will only keep growing. The most effective way is to scrape the soil away from the graft, grab the sucker, twist it and pull it off. 

What is a bare rooted rose?

Bare rooted roses are roses that rose nurseries sell while the rose is in its dormant winter phase. They are cheaper to buy than potted roses, are quick and easy to transport and can be stored in their transport packaging, providing the roots are kept moist, for up to 14 days. It is best to soak bare rooted roses in a bucket of water for 24 hours before planting in the garden. 

What is black spot?

Black spot is a fungal disease that occurs in moist, humid conditions. It is the most commonly occuring fungal disease occurring on roses. Once a rose bush is infected, the disease progresses from the lower leaves up the rose bush, causing defoliation and showing its trademark black spot on infected foliage. The spots are usually between 10-14mm and are a sure sign that the bush is infected with the disease. If left untreated it will also infect the stems gradually weakening the rose bush. If you only have a few rose bushes, removing the infected leaves will slow down the disease progress. Spraying regularly will help slow down the disease and/or help prevent it occurring.

What is deheading?

Deadheading is removing the spent rose blooms on the rose bush. The best way to do this is to cut a good length of stem as if you are picking a rose bloom. This will encourage the rose bush to produce more growth and therefore more blooms over a longer period of time. 

When should I prune my roses?

The best time to prune roses is when they are in their most dormant period. If you live near the coast, and rarely or never get frosts, the most dormant period is late June to the end of July. If you live inland or an area that gets any frosts over a regular period, it is best to prune from the beginning to the end of August.