Growing and Caring for Roses

From heated competitions to elegant home gardens, America's national flower is always drawing attention and inspiring awe. Roses are among the most popular and beautiful flowers, but you shouldn't let their beauty and professional allure deter you from attempting to cultivate a flourishing rose bush.
Follow these three basic preparation and care tips so you can enjoy the beauty of roses from your own yard.


Just like real estate, it's all about location when it comes to roses. Rose bushes crave sun, and require 6 to 8 hours of daily sunlight. Planting alongside a west-facing wall can also provide additional warmth that might be lacking on cloudy days. Soil is an equally important factor in determining location because rose bushes love rich, well-drained soil. Whether you're planting in a box, raised bed or full garden, you'll want to ensure proper soil composition prior to planting. If you're going the garden route, it's best to rev up the tiller and loosen the area you've mapped out for your rose bush to create a healthy environment in which roots can establish a solid base.


Roses are hungry feeders, and thrive with a steady supply of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. When planting, mix in organic matter like rich compost or ground tree bark into freshly dug soil. You can use the mixture of excavated soil and organic matter to backfill your planting area. 
Watering is also crucial to rose health. Water your rose bush directly on the soil around the base of the plant frequently enough to maintain consistent moisture at the surface. 
If you're caring for roses you've already planted, you can give your rose bush a boost of phosphorous and potassium with a natural blend that's likely already ripening in your fruit bowl. Banana peels are a great source of both nutrients, and when blended with water, can be added to the soil around your rose bush about three to four inches below surface level.

Inspection and Pruning

Unlike most bushes and shrubs that require seasonal upkeep, roses require regular inspection and pruning. The tricky questions are when and how do you prune roses? While pruning techniques vary, the most important areas to remove are dead or dying canes, canes that are rubbing against one another, damaged or diseased canes, or canes thinner than a pencil. Making these cuts will increase nutrient circulation to the healthy canes and also prevent fungi and disease.
Keep in mind though, not all rose flowers live the entire season. You can cut spent flowers during the growing season to ensure new growth and consistent blooms. For shaping purposes, cut buds as they begin to appear during spring. Assess the shape of your rose bush and determine how you'd like it to display. Any buds that appear outside of that area can be trimmed away, maintaining more nutrients for the roses you're aiming to keep.
Despite the need for consistent care, beautiful rose bushes are possible once you develop and adhere to a maintenance routine.


The Dirt from Troy-Bilt®
March 2017