Coaxing roses to produce a spectacular floral display is easy if you follow a few simple rules.
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With a bit of care and attention, you can encourage your roses to flower all summer long. Support them, feed and water them regularly, remove spent flowers and watch out for signs of pests and diseases.
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Our five tips, below, will ensure your roses put on a show-stopping display.
Deadhead roses regularly. Healthy stems need only the flower head removing, but weak spindly ones need cutting back hard, to encourage new growth. Prune to where stems are at least pencil thick, even if it means removing almost the entire shoot. While you’re there, cut out any dead, damaged or diseased stems. Watch our video guide to pruning roses.
Feed and mulch
Mulch roses in spring and autumn, with well-rotted stable manure, compost or chipped bark, but keep it 10cm clear of your rose’s stems. Feed in spring and again in mid-summer after the first flush of flowers. Use a feed containing potash and magnesium, for better blooms. Prevent mildew by watering regularly, directing your hose or watering can at the base of the plants, especially right after planting and in dry spells.
Support old-fashioned shrub roses by placing poles around the plants and tying stems to them. Train climbers and ramblers up pergola poles, vertical pillars or an obelisk. Standard roses also need supporting – replace the original cane with a stronger stake and secure with tree ties.
Choose disease-resistant rose varieties to avoid black spot, mildew and rust, though in warm and humid summers, even disease-resistant varieties can be affected. Rake up and remove fallen leaves to reduce the risk of reinfection, and use a fungicide if necessary.
Choose the right rose
Before being seduced by a pretty picture, consider which rose is best for your garden. Old-fashioned varieties rarely flower all summer long, while modern ones do. Rosa ‘Sophy’, pictured, is a very healthy rose that repeat flowers well.
Always cut just above a healthy, full-sized leaf. That’s where the hormones concentrate, so the plant is able to produce a new flowering shoot quickly.