Rosa gallica 'Versicolor'

Rose masterclass

Find out how to get the best from your roses in our practical guide.

There’s nothing quite like a rose. It’s one of our most popular garden plants for good reason – nothing can match the beautiful, often scented flowers.


There are thousands roses to choose from, whatever the size of your garden and your soil type, from climbers and ramblers to shrub roses and even roses for pots on the patio. In addition to beautiful flowers and good disease resistance, scent can be an important factor, too.

Not sure which rose to choose? Browse over 250 roses in our plant database and get inspiration from our feature on 10 beautiful roses to grow

Whichever rose you go for, good care will go a long way to keeping it healthy, flowering well and lasting for many years. Here’s our advice on caring for a rose.

Good care will go a long way to keeping a rose healthy, flowering well and lasting for many years.

Choose the right rose for your soil

Roses do best on clay soil, but some, such as Rosa rugosa ‘Roseraie de l’Hay’ (pictured) will cope with sandy soil, too. Discover five roses for all soil types


Plant well

There are two ways to plant roses, which are either potted and bare-root. Plant bare-root roses when they’re dormant, from November to March – you’ll find the widest (and cheapest) selection of plants this way. Alternatively, you can plant a potted rose in spring and summer. Whichever method you choose, be sure to mulch with well-rotted manure afterwards.


Feed, mulch and water

Feed your plant with a general or rose fertiliser every spring, and then again in summer, after the first flush of flowers. Mulch in spring, ideally with well-rotted manure, keeping it clear of the stem. This helps to retain soil moisture, adds nutrients and suppresses weeds. Water your rose generously once a week in summer, taking care not to get water on the foliage or flowers.


Deadhead regularly

Deadheading is essential throughout the summer to keep the flowers coming. Watch our video guide to deadheading roses.


Prune at the right time

Pruning roses can seem daunting, but it’s actually quite simple. Rambling roses are pruned in late summer, after they have flowered, while all other types of rose, including climbers, are pruned in late winter. Watch Monty Don pruning a shrub rose and find out how to prune a climbing rose.


Watch out for problems

Roses are prone to quite a few problems, including rust and black spot, plus balling after rain. The key to tackling them is to keeping your plant healthy and stay vigilant – the sooner you spot a problem the sooner you can solve it. 


Take cuttings

Roses can be grown successfully from cuttings and will grow on to make good flowering plants. Choose healthy stems of the current season’s growth and follow our step-by-step advice to be sure of success.