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pruning a rose


Caring for a rose needn't be difficult. But it's a lot easier if you set yourself up for success! A rose that is planted in the right spot and is well cared for is far less likely to have problems than a rose in the wrong spot or that hasn't been cared for correctly. And ultimately, getting things right at the start means less work and will make everything much easier.

Before getting started it's worth mentioning some useful terms to know:

Floribunda - Each stem will develop multiple flowers. They tend to produce masses of smaller blooms.

Hybrid Tea - Each stem develops a single larger flower. They produce fewer but larger flowers than Floribunda roses.

David Austin - Bred in England by David Austin, he concentrates on growing varieties that have the characteristics and fragrances of old roses but with the range of colours and extended flowering times of modern roses. 

Bush Roses - Grow into a bush shape, though some training is generally necessary.

Climbers - Can be trained to climb up walls, archways or other structures.

Standard Roses - Generally these consist of a trailing bush rose grafted onto an upright rose stem.

Carpet Roses - Roses that sprawl out and act as a stunning groundcover. Most tend to be disease resistant and relatively easy to grow.


iceberg rose   ali mau rose

Left - Iceberg (a floribunda) Right - Ali Mau (A David Austin Hybrid Tea)


Picking the Right Rose

'What is the best variety to grow' is essentially unanswerable. It really comes down to taste. However, some varieties do require less care, which makes them perfect for beginners. If you are just getting started Iceberg and Carpet roses are a great place to start. They are both disease resistant and can handle a bit of neglect. 

Many of David Austin's roses are also great as they have been bred to be disease resistant, tend to flower multiple times a year, and many have stunning scents.


pink rose


Planting a Rose 


Most roses require full sun (or at least 6 hours a day) and like free-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. In Auckland, choosing a spot that has a good amount of airflow will also help reduce the risk of fungal diseases (as the humidity and warmth can make things more difficult than in drier parts of New Zealand). 


Planting Roses       

  • Dig a decent size hole (at least twice the height and width of your pot). In heavy clay soils it can be worth digging a slightly bigger hole.
  • Backfill, with a mix of soil, compost, and sheep pellets, In heavier soils, break up the edges of the hole as you backfill to improve drainage and add a handful of gypsum.
  • Fill around your tree with a mix of compost, sheep pellets, and some of the remaining topsoil, and make sure you press the soil down until it is firm.
  • In heavier clay soils where drainage is likely to be an issue, plant into a slight mound. 
  • Fertilise using Kings Slow Release Rose Food or for an organic option try Natures Organic Fertiliser
  • Mulch to finish.



Care Tip

In June

Spray with Freeflo copper and Enspray Oil to help reduce the risk of fungal and pest problems later in the year.


In July

The old adage, Prune in June is only appropriate in cooler parts of the country. In Auckland and Northland it is generally best to leave pruning till late June or July (this reduces the risk that new tender growth will develop, which may then be damaged if it gets cooler suddenly).

Before pruning, spray your roses with Lime Sulphur. This will help induce dormancy in your roses (be careful when spraying near other plants as this spray causes plants to defoliate) and leave for at least one week.

Prune on a dry sunny day. For more advice on pruning click here 


General Care Tips

  • Regular deep watering in the drier months will keep your roses looking great through summer. Leaving the hosepipe on for 5 10 minutes once or twice a week, to slowly water your plants, is far more effective than giving a slight water every day. Where possible, avoid wetting the foliage.
  • Roses can look great in pots but it is a lot more work than when they are in the ground. Careful watering and feeding of your potted roses is crucial to their success.
  • Regularly mulch and manure your roses, using sheep pellets and a mulch. The manure provides food and organic matter and helps the soil to hold more moisture when it's dry. Mulching also suppresses the weeds and helps stop the moisture in the soil from evaporating.
  • When deadheading, make sure that you cut back to a major leaf. If you only cut the spent flowers off the rose will look untidy and not flower as well in the future.
  • Any major pruning is best done in July. And if you need help, keep an eye out as we'll post some rose pruning tips nearer the time.


rose in winter