Rose Bush Care and Maintenance

A Seasonal Guide to the Care of Roses

rose bush care maintenance

This Rose Bush care and maintenance schedule, will guide you step by step through the care of roses for every season.

Kinds of roses may vary, but they are all of one genus, and have requirements for cultivation that make them different from other plants.

Roses have a unique hybrid background of ancestors that were tender, warm climate plants. Modern roses do not have the same ability to grow as wild plants as they did, thus making them have a need for a bit of coddling, and specific care and maintenance.

Think of this as caring for rose bushes 101, and learn rose gardening techniques for caring for your rose bushes through the seasons.

Follow this Guide for Seasonal Rose Care

Spring Rose Bush Care Maintenance

Spring is the best time to plant new bushes. I usually plant as soon as the ground can be worked, to give the bushes a good early start.

The weather is mild, and generally we get plenty of rain to keep the bushes well watered. I mound soil up around the plant to help protect it.(gradually remove as the weather warms)

More about Planting Roses

Gradually remove any winter mulch protection from around the plants. Don't hurry to do this, a late frost will injure tender buds.

Prune the Bushes

Prune the bushes,removing any winter kill, broken canes or dead canes. Early Spring/Late Winter is the best time for this rose bush care maintenance.

Learn more about Pruning Rose Bushes


Apply fertilizer to the bushes according to the directions on the package. Never Over Fertilize!

Too much of a good thing will cause Fertilizer Burn.

My favorite fertilizer to use, for my lush beautiful roses, (along with Compost) is a product called Roses Alive!™. It is 100% All-Natural organic Fertilizer that slowly releases nutrients to make for beautiful healthy roses. It is available through 'Gardens Alive'.

Add Compost

Add some Compost to the tops of the beds! Nutrient rich compost will give the bushes an early boost and help them get growing.

If you don't make your own compost you should! Read this page about making your own Compost.

After a layer of fresh compost.....

Mulching your Rose Bed

The most effective way to conserve moisture, is to spread a layer of mulch on top of the rose bed.

This protective blanket should be 2-4 inches thick. It insulates against the rays of the sun, and keeps the soil much cooler ( 10-20 degrees cooler)

Roses grow best when their roots are kept cool!

Mulch also keeps the garden looking more attractive. Apply mulch early in the season, before the sun gets really hot.

More suggestions on Garden Mulch for your Rose Beds

Summer Rose Bush Care and Maintenance

striped roses

Deadheading for Proper Rose Care

Summer rose care involves deadheading the spent blooms to keep the plants producing more flowers. By doing this correctly, you can increase the number of blooms a rosebush will produce.

By making the cut on the stem about 1/4 inch above the upper leaf of a pair of five-leaflet leaves, you will force the plant to grow a new flower-producing stem.

Be mindful of where you make the cut if you are picking roses to bring inside also. Remember, newly planted roses should be given a year of growing to become established without doing lots of cutting for bouquets.

Tips on Cutting Roses, and making them last longer

Rose Pests and Diseases

Roses are attacked by a host of different kinds of pests and diseases.

Some rose plants are more disease resistant than others, but all need protection against other enemies and pests.

  • Disease resistance should be one factor in choosing a plant for your garden
  • By simply maintaining healthy plants, you can avoid a large part of the pest problem.
  • Keeping them well fed, and giving them plenty of water, makes them better able to resist attack.
  • Keep the garden clear of fallen leaves, petals and debris that could harbor disease.
  • Examine your rose plants often, and act quickly when you spot problems.

Regular attention with to your rose plants will keep the plants healthy. Be sure to read: Rose Diseases and Pests

Caring for Roses with Water

Roses simply cannot produce blooms without an adequate supply of moisture 'Water'.

How much the plants require from you depends on the weather and type of soil you have.

A single deep watering will be much better than water doled out in two or three superficial applications that only dampen the topsoil.

It is best to water from the bottom (on the ground) and not wet the foliage.

A thrifty gardener will water rose beds with an old sock attached to the end of the garden hose. This will break the force of the water to prevent splashing, and keep the soil and mulch intact.

Try this test to see if your roses need more water

Keep the Garden Tidy

Keep the garden free of weeds that not only look unattractive, but compete for nutrients and water. Learn about organic weed control.

Fall Rose Bush Care and Maintenance

When the weather begins to cool, the plants need to get ready for the winter ahead.

When caring for rose bushes in the North, you should stop cutting all flowers by mid-September. By leaving the last roses on the plant, you permit seeds to develop in the seed pod or (hip) beneath each flower. This signals the plant to settle into dormancy for the colder weather approaching.

Be sure to water the rose bushes well if Mother nature fails to supply enough rain. Bushes that go into dormancy well hydrated will fare better through the winter.

Tidy the Beds Before Winter

Before snow falls (in Northern gardens) Tidying the garden now will make spring cleaning easier. You should remove any broken canes or fallen leaves also.

Tip: Don't add leaves to the compost that have Black Spot Disease, as you will only spread this, eventually adding the spores back into the garden!

Make New Beds

Fall is the perfect tine to prepare new beds for next year. Mark off the bed, and remove the sod. Till the soil, working in as much organic matter or(compost) as you can. Remove any large rocks. The organic matter will begin to break down over the winter, and be ready for your new plants in the Spring.

Winter Rose Bush Care and Maintenance

Your Climate zone is your best guide in Winter rose bush care maintenance.

Zones 8-10 Climate is warm or moderate. Temperatures seldom go below 10 degree It is Not necessary to protect your roses.

Zones 6-7 Temps can occasionally drop to zero or below

Moderate protection is needed for hybrid roses bush roses and climbers. Bind with evergreen branches or cornstalks and burlap, and mound 6-8 inches of soil around base of plants. (do not scrape soil from around plants!)

Zones 3-5 Subzero temperatures are common, only the hardiest varieties will survive without protection. Most Hybrids will need heavy protection.

You can coat each plant with an antidesicant spray to seal in moisture. Tall cylindrical collars can be used, which are slipped over the tops of the plants and filled with loose material. Learn more about winterizing your rose bushes here.

Plan for next year

What better time to plan any changes or new plants to add to the garden? Seeking out and finding new rose plants is a rose gardeners 'Winter Sport' it keeps us busy during the long months as we await Spring and think about next years roses!

Need Help where you live?
Try these Rose Care Calendars for more...





Growing Roses in Hot Climates

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