Planting and After Care Guide for Roses

Receiving Roses

Bare-root roses

  1. Bare-root roses are suitable for planting from November to March.
  2. They can be stored inside their unopened plastic wrapping for up to 3 weeks in a cool draft and frost free room (garage or shed). Alternatively, if wet or severe cold weather prevent planting into its final position, they can heal into a temporary hole in the garden.
  3. Never allow the roots to dry out as this will cause severe damage or death to the rose.
  4. Any remaining leaves will turn brown and fall off leaving the dormant stems to re-shoot in Spring. Multiple orders are normally supplied in one pack.

Potted roses

  1. Potted roses can be planted all year round.
  2. On receipt, immediately remove the rose from its packaging, water thoroughly and leave outside.
  3. Newly potted roses supplied from November to June should be left outside in their original plastic pots until in full leaf and fully rooted into the compost before planting into the final position.
  4. Water pots regularly and never allow the compost to dry out.
  5. Protect from severe winter weather whilst in the pot by moving the rose into a cold greenhouse or similar area during bad weather.
  6. All roses are bedded in specially formulated compost that contains sufficient slow release feed to last the rose until the first autumn after it is received.

Preparation, Planting and Staking

Taking time to check the soil type and preparing the planting area will ensure the rose maintains good health, strong growth and plenty of blooms. Roses grow well in most soils but prefer a neutral to slightly acid or slightly alkaline soil. For clay or acidic soils, add a handful of lime when planting.

  1. Choose the planting area carefully. An ideal position is one with good soil, fairly sheltered but exposed to some wind, receives high levels of full sunshine and has drainage designed to prevent long periods of excessive wet.
  2. Dig a hole large enough to incorporate all the roots and container compost of the potted rose (approx 35cm deep). Ensure the bottom of the hole is loosened with a fork incorporating plenty of well rotted manure or garden compost. Add a good hand full of rose fertiliser blended in with the soil and organic matter in the base of the hole to ensure long term benefits. Water the hole if dry and leave for a few hours to settle before planting.
  3. RootGrow, available from Style Roses, will improve the establishment of the rose and is particularly beneficial used with dry sandy soils. This will help prevent rose re-plant sickness if planting a rose in the same position as before. Add a further 7.5cm of unfertilised soil into the bottom of the prepared hole. Sprinkle 25 grams of RootGrow into the bottom of the hole and also over the wet roots of bare-root plants at the same time ensuring the roots come in to direct contact with the RootGrow granules.
  4. Bare Root Roses: Before planting bare-root roses, soak the roots of the roses overnight in a bucket of water. Spread the roots of the roses out in the hole and half fill the hole with soil. Press firm in with the heel of your foot, fill the hole to the top with soil and firm in again ensuring the union (where shoots break out from the main stem) is just above ground level. Potted Roses: Ensure the rose has fully rooted into the compost and water thoroughly before planting. Slowly upturn the pot and carefully remove the roots and compost from the pot keeping in one solid mass. Place the roots with the container compost still intact into the hole. Half fill the hole with loose soil and heel firmly ensuring the union remains above ground level. Continue to fill the hole to just below the union and heal firmly in.
  5. Despite nearly all rose books and so called ‘T.V garden experts' recommendations, we very strongly disagree with the concept of planting the rose union/grafting point below ground. In our experience it encourages rotting of the crown causing early death, wild growth and suckers and prevents effective pruning to the base. Additionally, the grafted rose forms its own roots above the rootstock which is used to give the plant vigour, resulting in reduced growth and poor performance. The only possible benefit of planting a rose deeply is to prevent winter wind rock, although this can be easily remedied with pruning at the correct time of year, appropriate support and tying in climbing and rambling roses.
  6. Water in the newly planted rose using at least a 5lts of water and ensure the soil is always kept moist until the rose becomes well established over the first summer.

Roses planted into Tubs, Barrels and Patio Pots

  1. The Pot: Here at Style Roses, we recommend roses are planted in a heavy, frost proof pot or patio container, a minimum size of 15lts (Bushes) with drainage holes. The larger the rose, the larger the pot required where climber or full weeping standard use up to a half barrel sized pot.
  2. Compost: Use a loam based John Innes No3 compost for the planting medium, available from all good Garden Centres. Roses dislike multi purpose compost.
  3. Watering: Always ensure the compost remains moist and water container grown roses daily during hot summer weather. Water roses planted in containers daily, avoiding leaves during hot sunny weather.
  4. Stake and Tie: Standard roses must be staked and tied. Failure to do so will result in severe wind damage to the flowering head or the main stem which can snap without suitable support. Use a 4cm square wooden pressure treated stake 1.2m long for half standards and 1.5m long for full standards. Place the stake closely to the north side of the stem. Driving the stem through the roots or peat ball will not harm the rose.
  5. Protect: Newly planted bare-root standard roses are particularly susceptible to damage or death if not well protected from severe winter weather. We strongly recommend potting up all new bare-root standard roses supplied over the winter months into a 10lt plastic pot. Moving the rose into a cold greenhouse during spells of severe winter weather or frosts before final planting in Spring or Summer once fully rooted. For established standards planted outside, lagging the main stem with foam pipe insulation and wrapping bubble wrap or sacking around the pruned flower head during severe cold weather is recommended.

General Aftercare

  1. Roses are heavy feeders. Feed in March & mid July with 'EMPATHY ROSE FOOD' rose fertiliser sprinkling a handful of feed around the base of each rose. Container grown roses require an additional feed mid May. A strong, well fed healthy rose will have very good immunity to diseases. Watering is beneficial during dry periods and is best carried out during the morning avoiding the leaves.
  2. Pests and diseases such as blackspot, rust or mildew can be a problem in certain areas of the country. Style Roses varieties have excellent health, however previous research has shown early sprays from May through to September before any problems are visible are very beneficial. Using Multirose to control Greenfly and Disease and alternating it every couple of weeks with a different active ingredient such as Uncle Tom's Rose Tonic (available from Style Roses) to avoid resistance build up in the plant, will keep the roses strong and healthy. Always read and adhere to the label recommendations fully.
  3. After flowering, remove dead heads down to the first available true leaf to ensure repeat flowering throughout the summer and into the autumn.
  4. A once-a-year thick mulch around the base of the plant will help keep the roots cool and moist helping to prevent weed growth. Bark chippings are not recommended as they can harbour diseases.


Pruning is often shrouded with uncertainty leaving many confused with how to achieve the best results. This is not a complicated task where excellent results have been achieved using only hedge trimmers in trials by the Royal National Rose Society. To clear up this confusion, here at Style Roses, we aim to provide you with clear, actionable advice so pruning is no longer that enigma understood only by the professionals. Below, pruning for each type of rose is reviewed.


Main pruning in the UK should be carried out during November and December for Midlands and South and February and March for North of England and Scotland.

Repeat Flowering Climbing Roses

Repeat flowering and climbing roses need support using wires or trellis. Initially train the branches horizontally to create a framework helping to keep leaves and blooms lower down in later years. Tie in new growth with soft string; after 2-3 years the rose should reach the desired height. Once reached and after flowering, prune to the desired height. In following years, flowering side shoots will develop from the main branches which should be pruned back to 2 inches (approx 5 cm) from the main stems every year during the winter.

Patio Climbing Roses/Repeat Flowering Ramblers

These can be grown in an obelisk, on short pillars, arches and narrow trellis. Simply tie in growth as it extends upwards. No hard pruning is required other than pruning to the desired shape.

Traditional Rambling Roses

Plant the rose and allow it to grow using initial support and tying in as required. Rambling roses can be left for many years without pruning. If the rose grows too big, cut it back after it flowers during the summer as many ramblers flower on the previous years new growth.

English and Shrub Roses

Cut back all growth to around 60cm in the winter.

Hybrid Tea & Floribunda Roses

Cut back all growth to around 30cm in the winter.

Patio Roses

Cut back all growth to around 15cm in the winter.

Standard Roses

H.T and Floribunda: Prune top growth back to approx 25cm from main stem and patio 15cm. Weeping Standards should only be lightly pruned to the desired shape. Always check for and remove any dead or diseased wood in the centre of the head.

Pruning to an outward facing bud just above a leaf will create an open well-shaped bush. Re-check the roses regularly for stem die back and prune out any dead or diseased brown stems and wood immediately.

Wild Growth and Suckers

Occasionally roses may contract wild light green matt growth or suckers growing from below ground, above the bud union or on the stems of standard roses. This wild growth comes from the original rootstock and should be removed by pruning off as seen when above ground. Alternatively pull up below ground suckers when well established using thick leather gloves.

Many of our rose varieties have 7 true leaves; it is incorrect that rose stems with 7 leaves on are suckers or wild growth!


The Golden Rules

  1. Never allow roots to dry out.
  2. Ensure potted roses are fully rooted before attempting to remove from original pot and plant in the final position.
  3. Roses in pots and containers require John Innes No. 3 compost and watering daily during hot weather.
  4. Soil around all newly planted roses in garden borders must be kept moist until rose becomes established.
  5. Protect newly planted standard roses from severe winter weather by initially potting (if supplied bare-rooted Nov - Feb) and moving into a cold greenhouse or shed during periods of severe winter weather.
  6. Stake and tie all standard roses.
  7. Check regularly for die-back (brown stems) and prune off to healthy wood. Do not allow die back to progress to base of plant or stem of the standard.
  8. Feed twice a year, spring and mid-July with a granular rose feed (3 feeds if in a pot).

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