Versatile roses come in an amazing variety of shapes and sizes. They can climb, cascade, ramble, conceal and decorate.
You can plant them in garden beds, use them on archways and pergolas or drape them over rose obelisks.
Groundcover varieties are ideal for growing over banks, as a mass display or cascading out of containers. They can also be used as low hedges to line pathways or garden beds.
Plant a climbing rose at least 450mm from a wall, leaning it towards the wall so it can be easily tied to the support as it grows
Help them thrive
Roses are hardy plants and with just a little care, they’ll flourish.
POSITION where they will receive at least six hours of sun a day and have protection from harsh winds.
PLANT in well-drained soil, enriched with organic matter. Dig in cow manure or compost about 4-6 weeks before planting. Add liquid lime to acidic soils.
WATER regularly and deeply the first year after planting. Established plants only need a deep watering once a week. Water early in the morning at ground level to help reduce fungal diseases.
FEED in spring, summer and early autumn with Yates Dynamic Lifter Plus Flower Food, an organic fertiliser or
a complete rose or citrus food. Alternate between chemical and organic feeds.
MULCH in spring after feeding to keep the roots cool and moist, and suppress weeds. Apply a 50mm layer of lucerne hay, keeping it away from the stem. Top up in summer, if needed.
Plant roses in winter
The best time to plant roses is in winter when they are dormant. Buy them as bare-rooted plants that are wrapped in plastic or hessian.
UNPACK the plant, shake the roots free of packing material, then soak them in a bucket of water.
DIG a hole about 500mm wide and deep enough for the bud union to be 25-50mm above the soil level.
MAKE a mound of soil in the centre of the hole and position the rose on top. Backfill the hole, making sure the bud union remains at the appropriate height above the soil level.
FIRM the soil around the rose, then water in using one full 9L watering can. Add more soil, if needed, and mulch with lucerne hay, keeping it away from the stem.
TIP Don’t fertilise a newly planted rose until new growth begins in spring.
Firm the soil around the rose, then water in using one full 9L watering can
Grow coriander, dill, sweet Alice and lavender around roses to attract beneficial insects. Image: Alamy
Dealing with disease
Keep your roses healthy by spotting pests and diseases and treating them.
BLACK SPOT Causes yellow leaves with black spots. Bin any fallen leaves and use Eco-Organic Eco-Fungicide or Yates Fungus Gun to spray the plant.
pOWDERY MILDEW A white powdery growth on leaves, stems and buds.
Spray with Yates Rose Gun Advanced
or Eco-Organic Eco-Fungicide.
APHIDS Sucking insects that distort new growth. Hose off and squash with your fingers or spray with an insecticide.
scale Small white or brown lumps attached to stems. Spray with white oil or scrape them off with your fingernail.
THRIPS Minute insects that suck the sap of flowers and buds, browning the petals. Spray with an insecticide such as Eco-Organic Hippo Enhanced Eco-Oil.
TWO-SPOTTED MITE Tiny sap-sucking insects that turn the leaves grey and mottled. Spray with an insecticide such as Yates Rose Gun Advanced
When to prune
It is necessary to prune roses to reinvigorate the plants before they produce a new harvest of blooms.
Repeat-flowering climbing and bush roses are pruned in June and July in frost-free climates, and in late August and early September in cold climates.
Start by removing the dead wood and then the old, unproductive wood. Old wood has a rough bark with a dull, grey appearance while young wood has smooth red or green bark.
Arm yourself with long gloves, sharp secateurs and a pruning saw.
CUT the old wood back to a strong young branch, or if there isn’t one, back to the bud union. Remove any branches crowding or crossing over healthy branches, then cut out twiggy growth.
PRUNE the remaining growth back by a third to a half. Make the cut about 5mm above a bud that points outwards from the centre of the plant, angling the cut slightly so it slopes away from the bud.
TIP Once-flowering climbers such as banksias and species roses that only bloom in spring are pruned after they have flowered.
Prevent the spread of fungal diseases, including the dreaded black spot, by collecting all rose clippings and leaves and putting them in the rubbish bin rather than the compost.
Spray with lime sulphur to get rid of any lingering fungi.
Time to transplant
Winter is a good time to move a rose that is growing in the wrong position.
Drive a spade deep into the soil 350mm from the trunk, continuing around the rose until it lifts easily from the ground.
Cut the branches back by two-thirds and replant. Water with a seaweed solution, then water regularly until re-established.
How to take rose cuttings
Most roses can be propagated from cuttings, and the best time to take them is from April to July so the roots will be produced over the winter months. Choose stems of the current season’s growth with three leaf sets either side.
Take cuttings 250mm long, using secateurs. Cut above a bud at the top to remove the shoot tip and below a bud at the base. Leave one leaf set at the top of the cutting and remove all the lower leaves.
Put a little honey in a small glass and dip the base of the cutting into the honey, which contains amino acids and growth factors. Or dip the end into rooting hormone powder, then shake off the excess.
Add 3-4 cuttings to a 150mm wide pot filled with propagating mix. Position in a shady spot and keep
the mix moist. In late spring, lightly pull the cutting and if there is slight resistance, it has developed roots.