Rose Feature #1 – The Ideal Growing Conditions

Rose Feature #1 – The Ideal Growing Conditions

When it comes to flowering plants, it’s hard to go past roses, with their gorgeous flowers and lovely scents.

If they are planted in the right location they will be very hardy, long-lived and long-flowering plants. Here in the garden at The Berkshires we have them flowering from September through to May. They are a plant that will reward you well if they are cared for correctly and most importantly planted in the right location.

You will have the most success with them if they are located in a sunny position (they will need six hours of direct sunlight per day), they need protection from wind, most will prefer a dry climate and they need to have a well draining soil that is high in organic matter to get them established. If you cannot provide these conditions it is probably best not to attempt to grow them as they will end up needing a lot of additional care that will make them high maintenance plants. If you give them the conditions listed above they will not be too hard grow and won’t need too much maintenance.

Roses come in a range of flower forms and sizes – from tiny single five petal blooms large full double cabbage like blooms. Their fragrances will vary from soft florals, to citrus and spicy. Plant sizes and shapes include compact miniatures, rounded buns, arching shrubs, weepers, tall uprights, standards (like a lollipop on a stick), weeping standards, scramblers, fence climbers and groundcovers.

I think, before you go out and purchase roses you need to think do you have the right location for a rose. They need;

  • a sunny position (they will need six hours of direct sunlight per day)
  • protection from wind
  • well draining soil that is high in organic matter.
  • ideally your climate should be hot and more dry. Although some of the China Roses will grow well in humid areas.

Whilst they are very hardy and reliable flowerers, if you can’t give them these four conditions then you will end up with sick looking plants that are much more susceptible to pests and diseases.

To get them looking good you will have to become a slave to their on going care with regular pesticide and fungicide applications. In my mind that is not a fun part of gardening so check your conditions first if you can provide those conditions then go for it!.

There is nothing else like a flowering rose bush in your garden.

The golden rule of gardening is to select the right plant for your location.

If you really want a rose bush but don’t have the conditions in ground for them then you could try to grow in large pots.

Here is a little more details about their cultural needs.


Roses need about six hours or more each day of sun. Northerly and westerly aspects are usually the sunniest spots in a garden – out here on the bank they get all the northern sun. Ideally if you have the sun factor you just need to have some protection from really harsh winds. The winds will just dry the plants out quicker and also destroy blooms.


Roses will happily grow in many soil types, but good drainage is essential. Before planting add a few buckets of compost and composted animal manure to the planting area, dig this through the soil. If you have a really heavy clay soil you could also use a liquid gypsum 2 or 3 times in the week before planting to try and break down some of the clay particles.

In sandy soils, drainage is usually good however the soil drying out and leaching of nutrients can be a problem. I would recommend adding in extra organic matter to improve some of the water holding capacity of the soil. If you have a sandy soil to compensate for these conditions you will need to do more frequent watering and regular fertilising.


Like all new plants they need to be kept moist whilst getting established. Once established, roses will need at least one weekly soaking, possibly a bit more in the dryer summer months. When watering your roses try to keep the water only on the soil or around the base of the plant. If you’re using an irrigation system ideally this should be an inground drip system.

Over head sprinklers or pop ups are not ideal for roses as they don’t like water sitting on the foliage constantly. Watering in this way may wreck the blooms and may attract pests and diseases. Roses like all plants will enjoy a wash down of their foliage if there are long periods between rain showers to prevent dust and pollution building up on the foliage. It is best to do this foliage wash down when the sun isn’t on the plant.

Glenice Buck