Cultural Notes - Rose Care


All roses require an open, sunny and well drained position.

At least 6 hours sun per day is required, preferably more.

Although shaded areas will allow roses to grow, the quantity of flowers will diminish with the percentage of shade.

Shaded parts of the garden are also more liable to attacks from fungal diseases as the plants remain wet for too long after rains or dewy nights.

Protection from wind is essential for good blooms but remember to allow for movement of air. Avoid planting too close to established shrubs and trees. 


Ideal soils are not available to everyone, but roses are very adaptable with some help from the gardener.

Best soils are medium to heavy loam to about 35 cm minimum depths, over a good clay sub-soil. However roses can be grown successfully in many soil types. 

Light soils require copious quantities of compost and animal manures, as well as more frequent watering as they do not retain moisture or nutrients.

Mulching is advisable with all soil types as it eliminates so many problems and requires less watering and weeding. Mulching also retains better average soil temperature.

Some mulches to use: Pea straw, lucerne, Sugar cane, leaf mould, peat moss, horse or cow manure.

A Ph of around 6.5 (slightly acidic side of neutral) is ideal for roses but they can cope with a slight variation on either side of this.

DO NOT – use fowl manure or other quick soluble fertilisers at planting time.
DO NOT – replant into old soil where roses have been removed. Renew with fresh soil.
DO NOT – use weedicides or pre-emergence herbicides.


The ideal time for planting bare root roses in Australia is June and July. Later planting is possible, depending upon climate, but generous watering will be necessary until the plants have established.

The proposed rose bed should have been dug over many times prior to planting and brought to a good tilth, ready for the plants. A thorough cultivation at the time of planting is a bare minimum.

Dig a hole large enough to take the roots, which should be placed down and outwards over a small mound at the bottom of the hole. A hole approximately 30cm wide by 25cm deep should be sufficient.

Cover with soil and firm down moderately. Water in well. The bud graft or bud union should remain approximately 2.5 cm above soil level. Do not use fertilisers at planting time, as this may burn the roots. However, the addition of well rotted animal manure and a small amount of blood and bone well dug in is beneficial.

Plant standards using the same method. However drive a sturdy stake into the hole before planting. Securely tie the standard to the stake close to the bud graft, using a soft material such as nylon stocking or double sided velcro.


In most circumstances the graft or bud union of all bush roses should remain approximately 2.5cm above soil level.
Water in well and firm, moderately.


All roses grown by Treloar’s are bud grafted onto virus tested rootstock. They are supplied as bare root plants when dormant during the winter months.

After roses are dug the roots are washed free of soil prior to packing and transport. Bare root roses travel extremely well and should remain fresh in transit for up to two weeks or more.

What is a bare-root rose?


Undo the parcel carefully and soak the roots in water for 24 hours. Do not let the roots dry out.

If the plants arrive well in advance of your desired planting time they should be heeled-in.

HEELING-IN – to keep bare roots roses longer than a week, they should be “heeled-in”. Select an open space in the garden, dig one large hole and plant all your bundled roses in it and firm down soil. Water in well. They keep for several weeks if kept watered.


Most rose plants are budded onto “root-stock”.

Occasionally a shoot from the root stock grows and is known as a “sucker”. It will come from below the graft,  the foliage and flower will look distinctly different.  Root stock will flower only once a year. 

This growth must be removed immediately, as it grows quite vigorously and will completely take over the plant.

To remove sucker growth, first find where it originates. This may be on the main stem or from a root below ground. Take a sharp knife and remove the growth completely. Do not use secateurs and do not cut off growth at ground level, dig below to locate the upturned root.

DO NOT confuse water shoots with suckers. Water shoots ALWAYS come from the graft.


Healthy roses are best able to resist pests and diseases.  If a plant is in the right situation, is well-fed and watered, then it will have fewer pests and diseases. 

With most diseases, prevention is the best cure. 

While it would be desirable to grow roses without spraying, they do need treating to maintain good health and vitality. Start a preventative spray program early in Spring with a good brand of rose fungicide and spray at two week intervals. Immediately after Winter pruning, spray the roses and surrounding ground with Lime Sulphur or Bordeaux, this helps eradiate fungal spores left on the ground.


There are three main diseases of roses, all of which are fungal and more of a problem in humid areas.

BLACK SPOT: The most common problem with roses, it appears as random black spots on the foliage going on to yellow the leaf. If left unattended the plant will become defoliated and lose vigour. The best way to control Blackspot is with a preventative spray program.

POWDERY MILDEW: Appears as a white powder mainly on younger growth and is usually at its worse in sub-tropical areas where night air is cool and dews are prevalent. If left untreated it will cause the rose to drop its leaves prematurely.  Many of the sprays available for Black Spot are also effective against Powdery Mildew, always read the labels carefully.

RUST: Not a common, but quite a serious disease. Appears as rust coloured spots or swellings on the underside of leaves and occasionally on the stems. If not treated it can quickly defoliate the plant. Consult your garden centre for a suitable spray that will deal with rust.

Avoid watering overhead in the late afternoon or evening, as night dampness is conducive to the spread of fungal disease.


APHIDS: Small, soft, green or brown sap sucking insects that cluster on the soft tips and buds of rose. Wash off with a hose, or for severe infestation use a pyrethrum based or orgnaic insecticide.

SPIDER MITES: These tiny insects occur in hot, dry weather, causing a bronzing on the surface of the leaves. Look under the leaves for a fine web, a magnifying glass may be necessary to see them. Use a sprinkler to wet the underside of the leaves as spider mites hate water. For heavy infestations, spray with a miticide.

CATERPILLARS: They chew leaves, giving a skeletal appearance, or they bore into the buds. Can be best eradicated using a garden insecticide or Eco oil.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Always use sprays in strict accordance to directions on labels. Use protective clothing for safety and do not spray when temperature is above 25deg C.




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