Roses prefer a position in full sunlight and do not flower as well in shade.

Roses need well-drained soil. They do not like wet feet and due to lack of oxygen, may not survive.

If you can, prepare the soil 2-3 months in advance with cow, horse or chicken manure and compost mixed through the soil, as this will greatly improve the performance of the rose.

Mulching retains the moisture in the soil, which reduces stress of the plant and encourages growth. Sugar cane mulch or lucern hay are particularly good as they give nitrogen to the soil; avoid eucalyptus and pine based mulch as they are antiseptics which can do more damage than good.

Before planting a potted rose, till the soil about 2 feet wide and 2 feet deep. Dig a hole the same size as the pot and transfer the rose into the ground as a whole without disturbing the roots. Keep the roots moist during transplantation.

You can apply seasol at this stage to encourage growth, but do not fertilize as this may burn the roots.

Water the newly planted rose several times once planted and continue watering 2-3 times per week during the summer months; more if weather is very hot. Plants in pots need watering more regularly, every 1-2 days.

Fertilizing is advisable 2-3 months after planting using either mature manure; applied liberally 2-3 times a season starting in early September; or a rose fertilizer N.P.K. based (Nitrogen, Phosperous, Potassium & Potash), according to instructions. Usually the first application is in September, then in eight-week intervals until the end of Autumn.

Using Potash, Ag Lime, Dynamic Lifter, Blood & Bone or spraying with Seasol is also recommended as options.

Spraying for aphids and other insects is recommended when seen on roses. We recommend Mavrik applied every 10-12 days until no longer seen. You can try a home brew of tabasco sauce or garlic mixed with water as an alternative.

Spraying for blackspot is a commitment for the season, usually August to May. It is a partial preventative, not a cure. We prefer to encourage healthy gardening procedures then a chemical spray programme.

If you choose to spray for blackspot, we recommend Eco-Fungicide by Eco Organics; Baycor; or Triforine.  Or a combination of two applied alternately every 10-12 days, on a dry day, during the flowering season.

Spray for mildew if needed at the beginning and end of the season using Mancozeb, applied according to instructions; or a home brew of milk & water as this provides calcium to strengthen rose.

Spray for scale if needed using White Oil, or a home-brew mix combination of Bi-carbonate Soda and White Oil.

Prune after every flush of roses during the flowering season as this encourages a better shape and avoids energy going to older unwanted stems.

Prune 12cm from the graft, or about 2/3rds off. Create an open vase shape pruning deadwood, 1/3 of the older branches and thin twiggy brances. The harder you prune a rose, the better it turns out.


How to rejuvenate stressed roses from de-foliation or other problems.

There are many reasons why a rose may under-perform during the growing season, but what we want to achieve is to rejuvinate it. Just because it has defoliated doesn’t mean that it can’t be saved.

We suggest the following general procedures:

Prune the rose back to about 15cm from graft.
Fertilize with a NPK based rose fertilizer or manure.
Make sure it gets watered thoroughly 2-3 times a week (depending on weather).
Wait 4-6 weeks to see what’s happening.

Reasons why they go through de-foliation and other problems.

The rose may have required more water when initially planted, or lack of water during the growing season, therefore dropping and getting yellow leaves.
There may be some substance in the soil which the rose doesn’t like ie: fertilizer on the roots, or strong substance in the soil.
The rose may be suffering from black-spot, powdery mildew, rust, scale or leaf chewing insects.
The soil may have poor drainage and therefore water-logging the roots.
The rose may be lacking nutrients and needs fertilizing.
The soil may be below 6 Ph or above 7 Ph and needs adjusting.

Problem solving

If you suspect black-spot to be the case it is already too late. The rose will loose some of the affected foliage. However, prune rose back to a winter-prune, removing affected foilage. When foilage re-appears, usually after 3 weeks; begin spraying every 10-12 days on a dry day, during the growing season, with a black-spot spray ie: Eco-Fungicide, Baycor or Triforine or a combination of both of these. These sprays act as a part-prevention, not a cure and depending on the amount of rainfall and humidity, the rose may still be affected by black-spot even if a spray routine is followed.
If you suspect powdery mildew or rust to be the case, spray every 10-12 days on a dry day, until problem is solved, with a spore spray ie: Mancozeb.
If you suspect aphids or another insect to be the case, spray every 10-12 days on a dry day, until problem is solved, with an insect spray ie: Mavrik.
If you suspect scale to be the case, apply a Pyrethrum spray to affected areas according to instructions.
If you are concerned about dieback, apply lime-sulphur spray after winter prune and sterilize scateurs regularly.
If the soil drainage is poor, mix gypsum through the soil surrounding the rose or wait until winter to dig the rose out and thoroughly prepare soil for re-planting. If the soil is water-logged, then proper drainage pipes are required.
If the soil is sandy, composting and manure are needed to build up the nutrients in the soil.
If the Ph is below 6, add 2-3 handfulls of Ag Lime to soil surrounding rose.  If Ph is above 7, it needs reducing by adding the following:  manure, compost, sphagnum peat, elemental sulfur, aluminum sulfate and iron sulfate.  Ultimately a Ph level of around 6.5 will be best.

Organic Sprays

Black Spot: Mix 1 ½ teaspoons bicarbonate soda and 1 ½ teaspoons white oil in a little hot water to dissolve. Add to 2 litres of water.

Aphid: Mix crushed garlic or tabasco sauce with a little warm water to dilute. Filter and into sprayer and add water.

Scale: Mix potassium soap with water into sprayer.

Mildew: Mix 1 part organic milk with 10 parts water.


JANUARYPrune back roses by 2/3 to 3/4, depending on type of rose and amount of foilage, fertilize 3 weeks after prune with instant rose food
FEBRUARYRegular de-heading
MARCHFertilize with instant rose food and de-head spent flowers
APRILDe-head spent flowers
MAYClean up dead foilage and check soil Ph
JUNEClean up dead foilage & blooms
JULYHard prune roses to about 10-15cm from graft, thin out deadwood and spindly branches creating a vase shape.  Apply a spray of Lime Sulphur.
AUGUSTFertilize with manure and mulch with organic lucern hay or sugar cane mulch
SEPTEMBERFertilize with instant rose food. Start black-spot spraying regime (if you desire), or stick to healthy gardening practices of regular pruning and fertilizing
OCTOBERCheck for aphids and de-head spent flowers
NOVEMBERFertilize with instant rose food and de-head spent flowers
DECEMBERPrune back roses by 2/3 to 3/4, depending on type of rose and amount of foilage



Rose Pruning, Budding and General Care & Maintenance Workshops can be arranged for groups of over 10 people.