Winter is the time to enjoy the greatest selection of new seasons roses as the full range arrives in garden centres. But don’t delay your visit; new releases and popular names are quick to sell out. By spring and summer, they will be in someone else’s garden.
Buy only quality plants. Purchase only from a garden retailer that stocks roses grown by the best rose growers in the country, and are sold potted in quality mix to keep them healthy until you are ready to plant.
Choose a rose to fit your space, be it a bush, climber, standard or patio rose. Make sure you have the space and, if a climber, the support structure it will need.
Give them a good start. Select a site in your garden that receives maximum sunlight, is sheltered from strong wind and has access to water. The soil should be free-draining and enriched with quality compost and a slow release fertiliser before planting.
Do not replant a new rose where an old rose has grown. ‘Replant disorder’ occurs when a plant is replaced with the same type and it commonly occurs with roses, where new plants struggle to establish and may even die. If a new site to plant your rose cannot be found, dig a hole approx. 60cm wide by 30cm deep and swap the soil with fresh soil from another part of the garden.
New roses need pruning. In the field, the roses are mechanically pruned before being lifted for sale. Before you plant, cut away any damaged branches. Aim for 3 to 4 main leaders and with sharp secateurs cut the main leaders to within 4 to 5 buds from the base of the plant. If you are unsure, ask a garden centre team member to do this when you purchase your roses.
Soak the roots of new roses in a bucket of water mixed with a seaweed-based plant food prior to planting.
Get the planting right. Trim any damaged roots. Dig a hole big enough to accommodate the roots. Use the mix from the pot the rose came in to create a mound to spread the roots over. Position the rose in the hole with the crown (bud union) sitting at ground level. Fill in the hole with soil, filling the gaps between the roots to eliminate air pockets. Firm in with your boots.
Water well & regularly. New roses need plenty of water. Apply a full 10L bucket of water after planting, and every other day for the next week if it doesn’t rain.
Do not use fast-acting fertilisers until your roses start to grow. Aside from the waste as the food gets washed away before the plants can use it, fast fertiliser may also burn new roots that form early.
Apply a layer of mulch. Compost or leaf mould makes an excellent mulch that will improve the soil, retain moisture and suppress weeds. Apply a layer 3-5cm thick but away from the crown of the rose bush.
One more tip. Enjoy. Your roses will give you months of pleasure every year for the rest of your life – that is money well spent.