Give your roses the best future

Rose Care & Planting Advice

We supply the following instructions with your order, in the unlikely event that they may be missing, please contact us so we can send you out a copy.

Please read your instructions before planting your rose to give it the best possible start.

Expert Rose Care & Advice

Bare root

Bare root roses should be planted between November and March. They are safe to keep inside their unopened cellophane wrapping for up to three weeks in an area with a cool draft and out of the way from being caught by frosty weather conditions. If severe or cold weather will not allow you to plant your roses into their final position you can dig a temporary spot in your garden or alternatively you can heal them in.

Please note that you should never allow roots to dry out, this can cause serious damage to the rose and can also cause the rose to die.

Any remaining leaves on your plant will turn brown and will eventually fall off leaving the dormant breaks on the rose. The rose will then start to grow new shoots during the Spring months.

If you have ordered multiple roses they are usually combined in the same shrink wrap, so please check all your roses have been received.

Container Roses

Potted roses can planted throughout the year as long as it is fully rooted. When you receive your roses they should be immediately removed from the cardboard box or sleeve it has been received in, along with any plastic wrapping which surrounds the pot. Water your rose thoroughly and leave to soak up moisture.

If your rose is a new season variety, please check that the rose is fully rooted before planting. Roses do not like to have their roots disturbed during their growing period. Wait until rose is in full leaf (approx late May/early June) before planting, to check carefully hold the rose upside down and pull the pot off slowly and gently, if the compost holds together and you are able to see roots on the outside of the compost the rose is safe to plant.

Again, do not let the rose dry out, also protect from severe winter weather whilst in the pot by moving to a greenhouse, shed or garage during long periods of bad weather.

Our container roses will be safe to stay in the pots they arrive in until the first autumn, as with our specially formulated rose compost it will have all the nutrients it will require.

Preparation for Planting Roses & Staking Standards

Roses will perform well in almost all soils, but prefer a neutral soil, or a slight acidity or alkalinity to the soil is also preferred. Place a handful of Lime when planting to help neutralise clay and acidic soils. Preparation of the soil and taking the time to ensure this will bring long term benefits to the rose, including good health, strong growth and regular bloom.

  • Make sure the area you will be planting in has good soil with good drainage, is relatively sheltered from wind, but gets at least half a days summer sun to encourage new flowers (with the exception of some varieties which tolerate shade)
  • When digging your hole make sure that it will be large enough to be able to cope with all the roots and compost from your potted roses (depth around 35cm), loosen the bottom of the hole with a garden fork, with some manure (must be well rotted) or garden compost with a hand of rose fertiliser mixed in with the soil or organic matter. This will give your rose a good boost and allow the rose to get lots of nutrients as the roots begin to spread and the plant will begin to grow. Water the hole and allow to drain before planting.
  • If you have rootgrow, which is available from the Fragrant Rose Company, this will allow the rose to establish its roots quickly. It is great for gardens with dry, sandy soils and will stop rose replant sickness (roses suffer if planted in the same place as one was previously). Put another 75 cm of unfertilised soil into the hole and spread 25g of rootgrow into the bottom of the hole, and also over wet roots of bare-root plants to make sure your roses roots are in contact with the granules of RootGrow.
  • Soak bare root roses overnight in a bucket of water before planting. Then spread the roots of the across the hole which you have dug. Fill the hole half way with compost and firm down with your hands or the heal of your shoes. Continue to fill in the hole to the top and compress the soil down again. Make sure the union (where all the breaks meet at the bottom of the plant) is above ground.

Despite the majority of gardening books, magazines and television gardener’s advise, we strongly disagree with the placing of the union below the soil. During wet weather conditions especially it encourages the crown of the rose to rot and can cause an un-necessary and premature death. In addition to this it also encourages suckers and wild growth to appear more frequently and also prevents pruning to be carried out effectively. The rose will also start to form its own roots above the rootstock of the plant. The root stock provides the plant with vigour, the new formed roots by the rose will cause less vigorous growth and less impressive performance. The only benefit this could bring is to secure the rose during the winter months and prevent from movement caused by winter wind. However by pruning correctly at the right time and by tying in climbing and rambling roses, this should not be necessary.

  • Water in your new rose once planted with at least five litres of water, make sure that the soil from your roses is always kept moist during very hot periods and especially during it’s first summer to help your plant become established.

Planting Roses Into Containers, Tubs and Barrels

It is recommended that when planting a rose into a container rather than the garden that you use a frost proof pot or container which is heavy, to prevent the rose blowing over. This is especially important in standard roses/tree roses to counter balance the weight of the head. Pots and containers should have holes at the bottom to prevent the soil becoming soaked and the roses sitting in water. The minimum size your should look to put your roses in should be a 15 litre pot for bush roses, however the bigger the rose will become, the more root space it will need to flourish, so increase the size up to a half barrel for climbing roses, David Austin Roses, ramblers and weeping standard roses.

Make sure the compost you use is recommended for roses, picking a compost which is loam based such as John Innes number three. This should be easy to find in all good garden centres. Roses do not like to be planted in normal multi purpose as it is too free draining. Make sure that you do not let your rose dry out and keep your roses watered daily during hot periods in the summer. When watering avoid watering the leaves of the plant to keep your rose looking healthy.

Staking Standard Roses

Our fragrant standard roses should always have a stake and tie running against the main stem. This will help protect the flowering head from severe wind damage and once established the head can become very heavy, meaning it can snap off if the support is not given. By using a 4cm square stake which has been pressure treated against the stem by placing on the north side, drive the stake into the roots of the rose or the peat ball (this will not cause any harm to the rose) leaving a small gap between the rose and the stem. We recommend using a 120cm stake for half standard roses, and 150cm stake for full standards.

It should be noted that freshly planted standards are more likely to have damage or death happen if they are not protected during winter weather. We recommend that you pot up all new bare root standards roses you wish to put into the garden, which you receive over the winter months into a 10 litre pot and placing into a greenhouse, shed or garage during extreme winter weather and frosty periods. The rose can then be planted out into its final planting place in the Summer once the rose is in full leaf and has become fully rooted (compost does not break away when lifted out).

With standards which have been planted outside and have established themselves in the ground, you can protect the stem with foam insulation for pipes and wrapping the pruned head in bubble wrap during severe winter weather.

Stakes are available to buy through us, however please note they are only available to be dispatched with the purchase of standard roses.

General Rose Advice and Aftercare

  • Feed roses in March and the middle of July with a rose fertiliser such as Empathy Biofertiliser Rose Food, sprinkling a hand of the feed on top of the compost around each rose. Potted bush and standard roses require an extra feed in the middle of May. A strong rose which has been fed during the summer is much less likely to suffer from disease and will encourage new flowers to grow quicker. Products such as Baby Bio will cause the rose to grow quickly, but will cause weak, lanky growth, and will not encourage your rose to flower, unlike a proper granular rose fertiliser.
  • The varieties we grow are all very healthy, but in some areas of the country, rose diseases and pests can be a problem. We have chosen our varieties based on their excellent health. The best way to experience a healthy rose has been to spray before you see problems and prevent them occurring. Early sprays from the start of May has shown from studies which have been previously conducted, that you will be less likely to see problems. Spraying fortnightly and alternating your chemical sprays (with ones with a different active ingredient) to prevent the rose becoming immune from treatment is the best way to encourage healthy growth. Products such as multi rose to prevent bugs and disease alternated with Uncle Toms Rose Tonic are fantastic products which work well together. Make sure you read the label of the product before using.
  • Watering both container roses during summer months is essential, roses do not like to be too dry or too wet, regular watering will benefit the rose. This includes roses which have been planted in the garden so making sure that during the summer they are getting enough water during hot spells, this is especially important during a roses first summer.
  • To dead head your rose and encourage new flowers, cut the stem down just above a leaf located 1 to 2 down to ensure that your rose will repeat flower through the summer. Cutting to an outwards facing leaf will create a nice well rounded shape.
  • Annually you can place a thick layer of mulch around the base of the plant. This will help keep the rose roots moist and cool, and will also prevent weed growth.
  • Do not use bark around your rose, it can cause problems such as blackspot and hold spores of other diseases.


Many new gardeners find the prospect of pruning frightening, but there is really no need to be. Main pruning for the United Kingdom should be done between November and December for the midlands and the south, and during February and March for Scotland and North England.

Climbing Roses

Climbing roses including David Austin Climbing Roses will require support from a trellis, wires or framework such as an arbour. Initially the breaks or branches of the rose should be trained outwards to encourage a framework for new growth and flowers on the lower part of the rose in years proceeding. A rose will take around 2 or 3 years to reach it’s full height, with soft string your should tie in new growth as it a appears. To prune fragrant climbing roses take off growth which comes off main stems back to 5cm each winter to encourage the new growth the following year.

Patio Climbing Roses/Short Growing Ramblers

These are perfect to grow up shorter pillars, trellis, arches and in obelisks. These will have less spread than a traditional climber, no hard pruning is required simply tie in and take back soft growth at the end of the summer months.

Rambling Roses

The easiest pruning of them all, just place them into the ground or pot and let them go! Our Rambling Roses can be left for several years without any pruning, however if your rose does get too big cut back after the summer flower as many ramblers will flower on the growth from previous years.

English, David Austin & Shrub Roses

For David Austin, English Roses and Shrub Roses cut all growth back to approximately 60 centimetres.

Hybrid Tea & Floribunda Roses

For Our Full Range Of  Hybrid Tea Roses and Floribunda Roses cut all growth back to approximately 30 centimetres

Patio Roses

Our Patio Roses should have growth cut back to approximately 15 centimetres

Standard Roses

Hybrid Tea and Floribunda varieties, prune the head growth back to 25cm away from the main stem. For patio varieties cut back to 15 centimetres from the main stem. Weeping standards should only have a small amount taken off to encourage trails, take off soft growth at the end of the season, and check the centre of the head for dead or diseased wood as heads of weepers will get very full.

Pruning to an outward facing bud above a leaf will achieve a well rounded rose in a good shape. Remember to re-check your roses carefully for dead wood, diseased wood and die back to prevent it spreading.

Wild Growth and Suckers

Occasionally you will find you will get some light green growth which has matte leaves from below ground, above the union or up and down the stems on the standard roses. Wild growth comes from the rootstock which the rose has been grafted onto. These should be removed by taking the sucker or growth of completely by cutting, or pulling up ones from below the ground on well established roses with leather gloves.

It is a common misconception that growth which has 7 true leaves is wild growth or a sucker. Many of our varieties have 7 true leaves.

Continuous Blackspot Problems

Some areas may suffer from persistent problems with blackspot in the garden. This could be caused from spores in the soil or air conditions.

If you do have this problem in your area use Sulphur Rose.

During the summer make sure that you pick up infected leaves from the ground as the spores will pass through the soil and back into the rose. Throw infected leaves in the bin to prevent reinfection. Make sure you spray your rose regularly during summer months, and alternate between products with different active ingredients for most effective treatment and resistance to treatment. Feeding your roses will also help prevent diseases.

Some varieties are more prone to blackspot than others, but none of the varieties we grow are susceptible to blackspot or other diseases. Modern varieties are bred as much for disease resistance as looks and fragrance, so if none of the above has worked then it is time to choose a new variety and replant using rootgrow at the same time.

Your Rose Care

  • Do not let a roses roots dry out
  • Ensure container roses are fully rooted before moving from original pot into its final planted position.
  • Use a John Innes Number 3 compost for roses which are going into a larger container and remember to water daily during the summer months, especially on hot days.
  • Roses which are planted into the garden or borders, keep moist until the roots become established.
  • Make sure you stake a standard rose and secure with a tie to prevent damage
  • During winter months during particularly cold spells keep new standard roses in a cool dry place such as a garage until the weather betters.
  • Watch your roses for dead growth (brown stems) and take back to healthy growth to prevent spreading.
  • Feed in March and July with a granular Rose feed and an extra time in May if the rose is kept in a container.
  • Spray before you see problems to ensure your rose will grow healthily and flourish.