Roses bring an old fashioned elegance and beauty to the garden. Their blooms vary in colour and scent and the many types of rose means there is one suited to every garden. Roses need some attention throughout the year to maintain their beauty and health. We know that you love roses, but sometimes have a bit of trouble with them! We get asked a fair few rose questions on our gardening forum, check out our most frequently asked questions, and the answers, below.

Rita asked: How and when do I prune roses? What do I feed them in the winter?

Roses get pruned in winter when they are dormant, so depending where you are this can be from Mid June until early August. There is no need to feed them in winter. Feed them with organic fertilisers when new growth appears and use mulch to retain the moisture and goodness into the soil. Most roses get pruned to an outward facing bud (approx. 3 buds from the base) after removing old weak and dead branches (only leave the strong healthy ones).


Colleen asked: How do I treat rust on roses?

Rust is a very common problem with roses. Remove as much as the infected material as you can. Do not compost this material. Spray with either Yates Fungus gun which is a ready to use option, Copper Oxychloride or Natures Way Fungus spray. Spray again in the winter months of the year.

To prevent rust next season. Prune your roses in winter to encourage good airflow. Take away all plant material. When watering water at the base of the plant and not on the foliage. Spray copper in winter. Feed your plant with rose fertiliser at the start of spring and again in summer.


Jillian asked: I’m going to be planting a rose garden this weekend, what are some hints that will help them do well? I was also wondering if I should companion plant?

The first year I would not plant anything around them (maybe annuals are ok) just to let them settle in. I would also recommend that you fertilise with a liquid fertiliser (seaweed, fish or compost tea) a spray with Enspray oil and alternatively a copper spray Free flow Copper will keep the plants looking healthy.


Lois asked: What can I plant with my roses that will be compatible?

There are many benefits to introducing other plants to your rose garden. Water saving and pest repelling are just two benefits of companion planting.

Perennials: delphinium, lavender, alstroemeria, irises and garlic

Groundcover: alyssum, echeveria, violets, lamb’s ears and mondo grass. Avoid plants that have dense and spreading root system that will compete for food or water.

Annuals: begonias, impatiens, marigolds, pansies, petunias, primula, viola, poppies and verbena.

Attracting pollinators: beetroot, carrots, cabbage, kale and lettuce.

Insect repellents: lavender, perennial basil, russian sage, scented geraniums, oregano, thyme, parsley and tansy.


Hiran asked: I bought a climbing rose named Wedding Day two seasons ago. During the first season, it bore no flowers with plenty of foliage. This year there were two bunches of small white flowers at the beginning of this season. But no further flowers. The branches are growing tall and climbing. What should I do?

Roses are very hungry plants so there could be a few reasons your climbing rose is not flowering. There may not be enough nutrients in your soil. Roses like rich soil, so adding plenty of compost and manures such as sheep pellets will help the roses flower. There may be too much nitrogen in the soil if you perhaps are feeding with a basic garden fertiliser. Try feeding the plant with a rose fertiliser that will boost the flowering of your plant. This will need to be done quite often over the growing season. Add applications of fertiliser in spring, summer and autumn. Is your plant getting enough sunlight? Roses prefer full sun and should be getting at least 6 hours of sunlight. Roses do not produce flowers if the plant is suffering from drought so make sure you keep a good watering schedule during summer and the warmer months of the year.


Karen asked: I have a white fungus which has spread down all my iceberg standard roses. What can I do to get rid of the fungus? I also have a lot of aphids on roses this year.

Your Roses have downy mildew and they can be sprayed with something called Buxus Blight Fighter, for the Aphids I would suggest you use Enspray oil and also would encourage you to use an organic seaweed fertiliser and spray this on, this will help the overall health of the plant and prevent insect and disease.


Fiona asked: When is the best time to shift roses in the garden, before or after pruning in July?

The best time to transplant any rose is in the winter months when the plant is dormant, but it is not always the ideal time for people who are doing projects such as yourself. The next best time would be in autumn or spring. It is usually not the best time to transplant in summer.

The first thing you need to do is prune the rose, prune it quite hard down to your few main stems. This will help the rose bounce back.

You want to make sure the position you are moving the roses to has good soil and good drainage. Plenty of compost and organic matter will be good for the roses as they love rich soil. Pre-dig a large hole ready for the transplanted rose.

Dig out the rose carefully, try to not damage the root system.

Once the roses have been removed, transfer to the new holes and plant as normal.

The best thing you can do for the roses now is to keep them very well watered for the next few weeks. Give them a big drink once planted and keep it up to help the roses get settled in there new positions.

Feed with a rose fertiliser at the base and/or a certified organic foliar feed when the leaves start to emerge again.


Briar asked: Can you tell me what month is the best for planting carpet roses? How far apart should they be planted to give a good ground cover?

Flower carpets can be planted at anytime of the year (that’s how tough they are!) Planting space would be 90cm (in a straight line), slightly further if you are planting in triangle.


Linda asked: Can I use the mulch I have made from the rose bushes I pruned around my roses?

We would not recommend this, as often this will have lots of overwintering insects and diseases that will quickly infect you rose bush once the warmer weather arrives. It is best to throw rose prunings into the rubbish. Make sure you spray the roses with Enspray Oil and Free Flow Copper after pruning to protect the plant.


John asked: Can you recommend a good quality insecticide spray for Roses and Hibiscus plants for this time of the year?

The trend these days is to use organic fertilisers (like Seaweed, compost tea, fish fertiliser) to improve the overall soil health. Healthy soil, healthy plant. To complement this, a preventative spray of Free Flow Copper (as a preventative fungal spray) and Enspray oil (as an insect spray). The organic fertilisers are to be used as a soil drench and foliar spray.