General Rose Care

This Guide is a service of the Minnesota Rose Society

Founded June 28,1939. Affiliated with the American Rose Society

ROSE CARE STARTS WHEN YOU BUY YOUR ROSES: Visit a rose garden, study pictures or search the internet to acquaint yourself with the type of roses you want. Shrubs, climbers, species, and old garden roses can be incorporated into the landscape as part of a perennial border as mass plantings. Hybrid Teas, grand floras, floribundas, polyanthus, miniatures or minifloras are often grown in separate beds and can be used for cut flowers.

You may buy rose plants dormant (bare root) or potted. Dormant roses come without soil, the roots wrapped in moss and in poly or paper bag. When purchasing dormant roses specify #1 stock. Dormant roses may be planted between April 10 and May 15. Avoid buying dormant roses that show growth for the growth has taken strength from the plant. Potted roses should show good growth and may be planted from May 15 throughout the growing season. Potted roses should be clean, healthy and have a minimum of 3 good canes.

Planting: Choose a location that gets at least 6 hours of full sun and is away from large trees and shrubs that would compete with the roses for sun, food and water. A well drained sandy loam with a pH of 6.7-6.8 is best. Prepare the soil by incorporating humus (manure, compost, peat) into the soil well prior to planting. Let soil settle before planting. Soak dormant plants in water for several hours before planting. Cut off damaged canes, excess branches and weak growth. Cut back any damaged or very long roots to about 12 inches. Always protect the plant and roots from sun and wind prior to planting. Dig a hole large enough to spread out the roots in a natural shape. Make a cone shaped mound in hole and spread roots evenly down and over the mound. If you will use the Minnesota Tip Method of winter protection then plant the bud union at ground level. If using an alternate method of winter protection set the bud union 2-4 inches below ground level. Half fill the hole with soil and gently press soil into place with hands to eliminate air pockets. Fill the hole with water and let drain away. Fill the soil with the rest of the soil. Mound additional soil over the plant about 6-10 inches high; keep this wet for about 10 days or until new growth has started. When growth has started, carefully remove the soil mound. DO NOT fertilize new plants until after their first bloom.

Your potted roses may be planted in much the same way. Dig a hole deep enough to accommodate the plant at the correct height as described above. Water the plant before removing from container. Be careful to deep the soil ball intact. Set plant in hole making sure that any roots coiled around soil ball are straightened out. Half fill hole with soil as above. Water well, let drain, then complete filling hole with soil. No need to mound. Water well.

Pruning: The purpose of pruning is to make plants grow, thrive and produce as you desire. Spring is the time for major pruning, while plants are semi-dormant. Always use sharp tools. Make a diagonal cut, 1/4 inch above and outward facing bud with the high side of the cut on the bud side. Prune so the center of the bush is open. Remove dead, diseased of damaged wood, any crowded, crossing or twiggy growth. Remove suckers from the bud union. To prevent damage from pith borers (cane borer) paint the cut ends of canes with white glue, nail polish, orange shellac or similar material. In pruning take it easy; once cut it cannot be replaced.


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