Growing Healthy Rose Bushes

Growing Healthy Rose Bushes

Roses are perhaps the most popular flower in the whole world, both to grow in home gardens, and to enjoy as cut flowers. Plus we all know how associated they are with romance and dating. However, those who attempt to grow rose bushes at home are often disappointed with the results. Not because roses are difficult to grow, but because they made a common or simple mistake, like trying to grow the wrong variety for their region, planting the bush incorrectly, or simply not being diligent about pest control.

These tips will show you how to grow healthy rose bushes wherever you live.

Right Variety

floribunda rose
Floribunda variety

There are many varieties of rose bushes and all will have an information label attached describing growing requirements, mature height, bloom size and time, along with other details regarding the particular variety. Read the label to choose the right variety for your growing area. To be more precise, there are over a hundred species of roses and thousands of cultivars, the result of careful breeding and hybridization spanning many hundreds, if not thousands of years.

It’s best to skip catalog ordering and go to a local nursery to purchase rose bushes. The nursery will stock roses that grow best in your particular climate, so you’ll have a better chance for success right from the start.

Easy Ideas

The ‘Knock Out’ rose is one of the easiest bushes to grow. They’re pest and disease resistant, drought tolerant, require no dead-heading and bloom continuously from spring through fall. This bush is hardy in U.S. growing zones 4-9 and will reach a mature size of 3 feet wide and 3 feet tall.

upright red rose stalks

If fragrance and easy-care is what you want, plant a floribunda rose named ‘Honey Perfume’. It lives up to its name and is happy growing in any sunny location in growing zones 4-9. Mature height will be 4 feet and bush produces long-stemmed roses that are great for cutting. Thornless roses, like ‘Zephirine Drouhin’ is a very fragrant climbing rose that’s perfect for growing on a trellis or pergola. Grows well in full sun or partial shade and is hardy in all growing zones.

pink rose bush

How to Plant

Plant in early spring after all danger of frost is past, in a location that receives at least 6 hours of daily sunlight.

Dig a hole twice the size and depth of the bush’s roots. Some suitable tools for digging are listed here. Mix compost at a 50/50 ratio with the removed soil. Back-fill planting hole halfway, place bush in center of hole, adjusting the soil level until bush is the same depth as it was in the pot, then finish filling hole with soil/compost mix. Firm the soil, water well and add 2 inches of mulch around the base to help retain soil moisture.

classic red rose
The timeless beauty of the classic red rose.


Don’t feed bushes for the first month so the roots have time to become established in the soil. Only after they are established, then you can feed the roses monthly. Best fertilizer you can use is the NPK fertilizer. Roses need a deep watering (1-2 inches) each week throughout the growing season. Inspect bushes every few days and apply pesticide or fungicide at the first sign of infestation.

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