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Plants: How to Care for Roses
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Total Rose Care


See Rose Families

  AARS Roses
  Antique Roses
  Climbing Roses
  David Austin Roses
  Drift Roses
  Easy Elegance Roses
  Floribunda Roses
  Flower Carpet Roses
  Grandiflora Roses
  Hybrid Tea Roses
  Knock Out Roses
  Landscape Roses
  Rugosa Beach Roses


Roses are heavy feeders, requiring a constant supply of nutrients to sustain growth and bloom production. A well-fed rose will reach its maximum height; produce abundant flowers as well as resisting attack from diseases and insects. Roses require three primary nutrients-nitrogen (N) for green growth, phosphorous (P) for flower growth and potassium (K) for root growth. These nutrients are available from either organic (plant or animal derived) fertilizers, or inorganic (synthetic or inorganic) fertilizers.

Organic sources of fertilizer, such as fish emulsion, alfalfa meal, bone meal, cottonseed meal, manure, or bat guano are all valuable sources of nutrients for roses. However, there are many organic prepared rose foods, such as Espoma and Rose Tone.

Insects and Diseases

The key to growing healthy, disease free roses is to select disease resistant varieties and to practice good horticulture. It is essential to grow your roses in at least six to eight hours of sun each day, provide optimum circulation and water as well as feeding them on a regular basis. Addressing pest management with natural products before an insect or disease gets out of control does not affect the natural balance of the garden. However, if you are looking for exhibition quality roses, you will have to use chemical sprays in order to prevent insects or diseases from becoming a problem.

Pruning Basics

Pruning enhances the shape of your plant, ensures a vigorous first bloom and encourages new growth.
It's good to prune roses back in the spring, after the last frost. Usually late April in the Boston area. If you are pruning old roses, prune them after their bloom time since they bloom on old wood.
Always prune out dead wood and suckers (sprouts from below the bud union). After that, remove older woody canes and then thin, if necessary, to ensure that the center of the bush is open for good air circulation. When finished pruning, remove any remaining debris from around the bush. (Do not use in compost pile)

Total Rose CareCaned Type Roses (Teas, Floribundas and Grandifloras)

Tea roses, what we call Exhibition, Show or Cutting roses, make long-stemmed individual blooms. They grow tall and upright, in the 4-6' range. Grandiflora's, also in this group, are nearly identical to the teas but cluster-bloomers. Floribunda's also fall into this pruning group. Their flowers are similar in look to the teas but clustered like the grandiflora's and grow about two-thirds the size of the others, usually in the 2 ½ - 3 ½' range.

Caned roses are treated alike in regards to pre-spring pruning. Cut the whole plant back to 12". Next, visually choose 3 or 4 fat, fresh looking canes to retain. Ideally these should be away from the center of the plant and away from one another, making for maximum air and sun and minimal crowding. Cut all other canes and side branches as far back to the ground as you can. You should be left with 3 to 4 lone single separated canes about 12" high.

Shrubby Type Roses

Shrubs (shrub and hedge roses) grow dense and twiggy without the typical fat and upright canes. They branch heavily and grow 2-5' tall. Blooms are clustered, smaller and less sophisticated in form. Groundcover's are shrub roses too, only lower and spreading. Rugosa's (Seaside or Beach roses) are similar to shrubs in that they are shrubby-caned and many-branched, forming a hedge. Total Rose Care

For maximum blooms, pruning should be more of a light grooming than severe. One-time bloomers should be pruned immediately after blooming while repeat bloomers in the early spring. If your shrub becomes lanky over time, you will need to prune some of the oldest canes to promote new growth. There should be a balance between new growth and the old growth.

Climbing Type Roses

Known as Ramblers, Climbers, Trellis and Pillar roses, these don't climb via tendrils or wrapping, so they need to be attached to a structure.

A general guide is minimal pruning for four years, then a hard pruning the fifth year. If there is a decline in blooms or the rose appears to decline, the next winter is time for the hard pruning. For most years, just cut out dead wood and do a little thinning so branches don't crowd and cover one another. Then for the hard prune year, go in and remove the oldest looking main stems and severely thin.

Organic Compost
Did you know Northeast Nursery carries their own line of organic compost? Perfect for lawn and garden care. Click here to learn more.

Printable Fact Sheet
Espoma has provided Northeast Nursery with downloadable fact sheets for common garden concerns and tips. Growing Roses.

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Plants: How to Care for Roses

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Click here to watch Northeast Nursery's helpful and informative videos.Click here to watch Northeast Nursery's helpful and informative videos.

  Northeast Nursery Garden Center
234 Newbury Street, Peabody, MA 01960
Telephone: 978-535-6550
Hours: Mon-Sat 7-6, Sun 8-6
Click here for Map and Driving Directions
Northeast Nursery Contractor Center
6 Dearborn Road, Peabody, MA 01960
Telephone: 978-854-4520
Hours: Mon-Sat 7-6, Sun 8-5
Click here for Map and Driving Direction

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