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Caring for your roses

Be sure to buy your roses from specialist growers or reputable garden centres. Avoid cheap alternatives, they’ll only let you down! Buy quality. Don’t go home with a dud! If possible try to visit your local nursery during the summer to view the roses in full bloom. It makes selection so much easier. Modern roses are superior to roses grown 40 - 50 years ago, requiring less attention, being more vigorous, healthy, floriferous and generally easier to maintain. You wouldn’t buy a 1960’s Ford Anglia today when you could buy a new model Focus, would you?!
Treat roses as you would look after yourself: a well looked after rose is usually a healthy rose. When it’s hungry, feed it. When it’s thirsty, water it. Even if you don’t want to spray your roses, they should be easy maintained if you avoid disease prone varieties. We, together with The British Rose Trade, recommend Uncle Tom’s Rose Tonic. This product revitalises growth and encourages flowering. It also builds up resistance and prevents disease. It can be applied by knapsack sprayer or watering can, and is available from

Preparation before planting

In ideal circumstances we would recommend that the ground should be prepared some three months before planting. Dig in a 5 cm layer of well rotted farmyard manure and allow it to dilute into the surrounding soil. We do not advise that the manure be placed in the hole whilst planting. If you don’t have time to wait for the manure to cool-off, place a 5 cm layer around your plants after planting, but keeping the manure away from direct contact with the rose tree. Protect with a 5 cm layer of forest bark as a mulch.
If after receiving your roses, the planting is to be delayed for a few days, leave the package unopened, in an unheated, frost-proof place, like a shed or a garage. If planting is to be delayed for more than a week, heel-in the roses by digging a shallow V-shaped trench and spread the plants in a single line against one side. Cover the roots and lower part of stems with soil.

Planting instructions

1. Dig a hole large enough to take all the roots (about 35 x 35 x 35 cm);

2. Fork in the base of the hole to loosen soil;

3. Place the rose in the hole, fold in long roots around the base of the hole;

4. Replace about half the soil and tread firmly in, ensuring there are no air pockets around the roots;

5. Replace the remaining soil and tread firmly in, with the branches just above soil level when fully planted;

Pruning / Cutting back (February / March)

1. Remove the dead wood;

2. Remove weak growth;

3. Cut remaining growth to leave no more than 10 cm from point of growth the previous season (Hybrid Tea & Floribunda) or 5 cm for Patio. Shrub roses: unwanted growth should be trimmed back as and when necessary;

4. In November / December the plants should only be trimmed back lightly to tidy up the plants;

5. During December, remove debris and dead leaves and mulch with manure or leaf mould.


Should be done when the bloom is past its best, by cutting through the branch about 15 cm below the flower for Hybrid Teas or remove just the flower for Floribunda roses. If there is a cluster, then remove it 10 cm below the lowest point of the cluster.

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