Rose Bush Care Maintenance

4 Point Checklist for Thriving Roses

Rose bush care maintenance means water, food, health and a good haircut--for your roses.

Here is a sensible and short "how to checklist" you and your roses need to thrive this growing season.

Water- Consistent moisture for roots keeps them happy

Rose bush care maintenance starts with enough regular water to keep the soil moist at least 10 inches down into the ground. If your roses are well established, your roots are likely 18 or so inches below the surface so you will want to keep the soil moist to this depth.

Depending on your soil, the amount of natural rain and evaporation, you may have to water once a month (clay soil and regular summer rains) or several times per week (sandy soil , high temperatures and no rain).

If you are unsure about how your soil holds water, just dig down into your garden soil a few days after you last watered and see how much moisture is left in the soil.

What is important is you don’t want to water log your roots. This condition will basically drown your roses and and can cause them to succumb to disease and pests.

Morning is generally the best time to water and it is better to water regularly and consistently verses sporadically.

Snack Time for Your Roses- Apply balanced fertilizer and compost around drip line


Rose bush care maintenance point 2- Fertilize modern roses (most repeat bloomers) in Spring before they bloom and old roses (bloom 1 time a year) after they bloom.

If you want to encourage robust blooming growth, fertilize every few weeks during the growing season with slow release single ingredient fertilizers or a slow release mix. Stop fertilizing in the fall and well before your first anticipated frost generally arrives.

If your soil is very fertile, you can fertilize less. The goal is to have healthy roses and to keep your soil in balance. Too much of even a good thing can put your garden out of balance. For example, too much nitrogen encourages certain rose pests.

For more information about rose fertilizers and how to fertilize...

Along with the fertilizer, rose (and your soil) will benefit from fresh organic matter also called compost.

Your local nursery should have bagged compost. You may make your own or you can use aged/cured horse manure. Make sure it is aged or you will burn your roses roots.
Apply your fertilizer first to damp soil and work it into the ground around the drip line-- about as far out as your pruned canes and new leaf growth. Then water thoroughly.

Next you apply about 2-3 inches of compost over your entire rose bed.

Health: Pull off and toss away mildewed and pest infested leaves and petals

Rose bush care maintenance point 3- Watch your roses for mildew and pests (spots and holes on the leaves). The best defense against mildew and pests is healthy soil with good drainage and disease resistant roses. One must do, remove fallen damaged leaves from your roses and garden floor.

For more information on plant fungus like mildew and rust and how to get them out of your rose garden...

For more information on rose pests like thirps, aphids and mites and how to get them out of your rose garden...

Good Grooming Keeps Roses Blooming- Cut off old blooms

Rose bush care maintenance point 4- During the blooming season, rose need an occasional trim.

Cut off old blossoms after the blooms faded.

The best way to make the cut is to look for the first outward pointing bud and leaflet below the spent bloom and cut just above it.

For repeat bloomers, grooming keeps them blooming. If you don’t trim off old blossoms they will turn into rose hips, a wonderful source of vitamin C. The downside is, your roses will bloom less as the number of rose hips grows.

If you want to grow and harvest rose hips old roses (those that bloom only once) are a wonderful source of supply. Plant some of them along with your modern repeat bloomers and have the best of both worlds.


Rose bush care maintenance in a nut shell- Keep soil moist, not soggy, feed as needed, toss out mildew and buggy leaves and snip away old blooms.

And, keep an eye out for other wonderful rose gardens in your area. If something just isn't clicking in your garden, this is what I would do and have done,.. walk down to that best nearby rose garden and humbly ask the tending gardener for advice. I never been disappointed and have always been greeted warmly.

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