How to look after roses in autumn

How to look after roses in autumn

How to care for your roses in autumn, with tips on pruning, planting and preventing disease.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
At its best
At its best

Plant is not at its best in January

Plant is not at its best in February

Plant is not at its best in March

Plant is not at its best in April

Plant is not at its best in May

Plant is at its best in June

Plant is at its best in July

Plant is at its best in August

Plant is not at its best in September

Plant is not at its best in October

Plant is not at its best in November

Plant is not at its best in December

To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do not To do in March

Do not To do in April

Do not To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do To do in September

Do To do in October

Do To do in November

Do not To do in December

If you look after your roses in autumn, they will get safely through the winter, coming back healthy, vigorous and full of flowers the following year.

The key autumn rose care jobs are tidying up, removing spent blooms or diseased foliage, and pruning. Autumn is also a good time to plant a rose.

More on growing roses:

Find out more about autumn rose care, below.

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You Will Need

  • shrub

Step 1

Snip off any soggy, shrivelled rose flowers to prevent rot setting in. If your rose produces good hips, remove only the petals, so the hips can continue developing. Discover the best roses for hips.

How to look after roses in autumn - remove spent rose flowers
How to look after roses in autumn – remove spent rose flowers

Step 2

Pick off and bin any remaining foliage that shows signs of disease, such as black spot, mildew or rust. Also collect any infected leaves that have fallen on to the ground, as these can carry over diseases from one year to the next.

How to look after roses in autumn - removing fallen rose leaf with blackspot
How to look after roses in autumn – removing fallen rose leaf with blackspot

Step 3

Autumn is a good time to transplant any roses that are in the wrong position. You can also plant new ones, as they’ll have time to establish before winter. These are available as container-grown plants, or as bare-root plants from November through to March. Find out how to plant a bare-root rose.

How to look after roses in autumn - planting a bare-root rose
How to look after roses in autumn – planting a bare-root rose

Step 4

Prune out dead, damaged or crossing stems from shrub roses. Aim to create an open-centred framework to encourage good air-flow through the plant.

How to look after roses in autumn - pruning a dead rose stem
How to look after roses in autumn – pruning a dead rose stem

Step 5

Shorten the stems of tall bush roses to reduce wind-rock during winter gales, as this can loosen and damage the roots. Cut stems just above an outward-facing bud wherever possible.

How to look after roses in autumn - pruning a rose stem to an outward-facing bud
How to look after roses in autumn – pruning a rose stem to an outward-facing bud

Step 6

Thin out the heads of standard roses (shaped like lollipops on a single tall stem). Their rounded heads can catch the wind and even snap off completely in a severe storm.

How to look after roses in autumn - thinning out crowded rose stems on a standard rose
How to look after roses in autumn – thinning out crowded rose stems on a standard rose
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