Caring for your Roses

Roses have long been hailed as a symbol of beauty and love. Yet, one of the biggest myths surrounding roses lies in their care and that they are hard to maintain. Hopefully, the following information will help keep your roses looking great during the growing season, and surviving the winters with ease here in Tennessee.

Where to plant roses

  Roses like sunny areas (at least 6-8 hours daily) preferably morning until mid-afternoon sun and a well-drained area.

Soil Preparation

  Soil preparation is extremely important. Roses do well in loose, loamy, well drained soil with a slightly acidic pH (6-7 pH). To determine this you will need to perform a soil test (We have kits available at the Nursery) or contact the Agricultural Extension Service Office in your area for more info.  Amending (Mixing into the soil) soil with peat moss, compost, and bone meal will provide the needed nutrients and also promote good drainage. The soil should be amended in this manner at least 50% due to the clay nature of the area.


  Fertilizing your roses should begin in early spring and end in early fall. A liquid or ready-mix fertilizer tend to get to the plants root system quicker, but require more frequent applications throughout the season. A granular fertilizer takes longer to break down and get to the root system making the number of applications fewer. The type of fertilizer you use will depend on how often you plan on tending to the needs of your roses. Always read the label concerning the proper amount of fertilizer needed to keep your roses happy & healthy.

Planting Roses

  The hole dug should be at least twice the width of the root system, yet not quite as deep. Amend the soil as mentioned earlier and place some of this mixture into the bottom of your hole. Slightly loosen the root system as you place the root system of the rose into the hole. Make sure ½” of the root system is above the ground. Fill around  the rose with the amended soil mixture, leaving the top ½” of the root system uncovered. Cover the top ½” with 2-3” of mulch to help retain soil moisture, and protect the roots from the sunlight. Water in well.


  This depends on how quickly the water is evaporating from the flower bed. Minimum watering requirements on roses tend to be 1-2 times per week in the Spring, 2-3 times per week during the Summer, and 1-2 times per week in the Fall. Roses are dormant during the Winter months, so Mother Nature tends to supply the needed water to them. Try to always water in the early morning, otherwise when you have the time. Do not water the leaves!


  Begin pruning your roses in early Spring. This is when you give your roses their hardest pruning. Prune down to 6-12 inches from the base (knot) of the rose. Cut all branches at a 45° angle, this will allow for collected water to run off the tip of the cane. To reduce diseases and insects, seal any fresh cut larger than ½” in diameter with white school glue. Once a week during the growing season, trim off the dead blooms. This will invigorate new growth and fresh blooms. How do you prune? Some folks use the 5 Leaf method- Count down 5 leaves to an outward facing leaf and trim ¼” above the leaf.  Other folks simply prune a few inches below the spent blooms. Either way the cut needs to be ¼” above an outward facing leaf bud.

Insects and Diseases

Roses need a little more help than your average shrub when it comes to fending off the more    destructive members of the Insect and Fungi Kingdoms.Fungi such as Black Spot and Powdery Mildew can be controlled and prevented by spraying fungicides weekly (We have a large selection of effective fungicides for your needs). Insects can also wreak havoc upon these helpless roses if left unattended, but if you spray weekly with insecticide to eliminate the insects you should have no problems at all. You’ll want to check on your roses 2-3 times a week to keep them at their absolute greatest.

Winter Protection

  Before the cold weather sets in, you will want to pile an additional 6-12 inches of mulch upon the top of the roses root ball. This will keep the heart of the plant insulated from the cold. When spring rolls back around remove the excess mulch.