Growing and Caring for Roses – A Complete Guide

Also called “Queen of the Flowers”, the rose (Rosa) is one of the most popular flowers in the world for its breath-taking beauty and enchanting fragrance. Their blooms symbolize love, romance, friendship, sympathy, and they’re often the first choice of flower on numerous special occasions.

About Roses

Depending on the specific variety, roses can be grown as both bristling bushes and creeping vines. They bloom in various hues of pink, red, yellow, white, and also blended colors. All roses can be divided into the following main categories depending on their color, size, and hardiness: 

Wild Roses 

beautiful red wild roses

Wild roses are best described as pure roses of natural origin as they don’t have a history of cross-breeding and hybridization, unlike many other modern rose species. 

Old Garden Roses

lovely pink garden roses

Old garden roses are often referred to as “antique roses” or “historic roses”. These are tough shrubs with a long lifespan and most have a considerably strong fragrance than their modern descendants. 

Modern Roses

bi-colored modern rose

These are among the most common roses in today’s gardens. Modern roses produce blooms continuously and come in various colors such as red, pink, white, yellow, and there are also bi-colored varieties.

Within these three main categories, there are countless sub-cultivators of roses. Check our article on “different varieties of roses” to learn more.

Growing and Caring for Roses

Growing roses at home is fairly easy and you don’t have to be an expert to try it out. Here are a few important things to know before starting a rose patch in your own garden:

Buying a Potted Plant

roses planted in pots

When you buy a young rose plant from a nursery, remember to keep these tips in mind:

  • Always buy plants that are grown in pots that are slightly bigger than the plant. Small pots mean a small root system, so such plants take longer to get adapted and established into a new environment.
  • The plants should be properly pruned.
  • Should have strong and healthy looking stems. Avoid buying plants with wilted or lethargic branches.
  • The leaves should be free of spots, holes, or any discoloration.
  • Remember to check the variety and make sure to choose one that matches your climate zone.

Propagating Roses from Cuttings 

You can also grow roses at home from cuttings. Here’s what to do: 

  • Pick healthy, newly grown softwood stems for cuttings as old and hardwood cuttings take much longer to root.
  • Cut the stems with a sterilized and sharp tool just above a bud and remove all the bottom leaves just leaving one set at the top. Cut the stems at a 45 degree angle and each cutting should be at least 25 cm long.
  • Soak the bottom tips immediately in the water and then dip well in rooting hormone powder.
  • Using a stick or pencil make holes 3 – 4 inches deep. The holes should big enough to insert the cutting without brushing off the covered hormone.
  • Stick the cuttings into the holes in a way that at least two nods are covered and then press down the soil firmly to keep the cuttings steady and erect.
  • Water well and place them somewhere that’s bright yet shaded until the plants get well-established.
  • Generally most rose cuttings start rooting in10 -14 days but they may take several months to produce flowers.

Propagating Roses from Seeds


Not many people know that roses can be propagated from seeds but they actually can! This method of propagation requires more time and care in comparison to propagating with cuttings. Before planting, rose seeds should be kept in a cold, moist environment for some time. 

  • First you need a planting tray or containers that are 3-4 inches (8-10 cm) deep.
  • Fill these containers or tray with a rich, moist potting mix. You can prepare the soil by mixing sterile soil and vermiculite (coir) in equal portions. 
  • Sow the seeds about ¼ (6 mm) deep in the potting mix.
  • Seal the containers with polythene bags and keep them in a refrigerator for 10-12 weeks.
  • Once their time is up, take the containers out and place them in a spot with a temperature around 21 Celsius (70 F) degrees.
  • Within 3-4 weeks the seeds will sprout and after that you can move the seedlings into their new homes. Be extra careful not to harm the roots in the process.   

Transplanting Roses

Rose plants are best transplanted in late winter or early spring while they’re still in their dormancy period as this helps to reduce the stress and shock of getting adjusted to new environments. 

If you’re planning to replant your roses in the spring, wait until the last frost has passed away and the soil is warm enough. Then follow these steps: 

  • Prepare the planting beds with holes that are about 12 inches (31 cm) wide and 15 inches (38 cm) deep. 
  • Fill the holes with soil in a way that it forms a mound of soil. Now you’re done getting the beds ready for the roses.
  • Water the soil around the plants for at least two days before planting, to make it easier to pull the plants out without damaging the roots.
  • When extracting the plants, start digging about 12 inches (31 cm) away from the plant base and 15 inches (38 cm) deep.
  • Take the plants out carefully with plenty of soil around the root ball.
  • Place each plant on the prepared soil piles so that they rest a bit above from the ground surface.
  • Fill the area around the plants with more soil and press firmly to keep them steady.
  • Water thoroughly. 

Ideal Growing Conditions for Roses

Here’s what to consider when growing roses in your garden.


growing conditions for roses

Roses can be grown in any kind of soil, but they prefer rich loamy soil that drains well. The soil should never be too wet or too dry. Choose a soil type that’s slightly acidic to neutral with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0. 


Roses thrive in direct sunlight, especially bright morning sun. They need about 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily in order to bloom vigorously. 

Temperature and Humidity

Most roses grow well in mild to warm climates, but the ideal temperature is 15 ℃ (59 F) to a maximum of 28 ℃ (82 F). They thrive in humidity levels around 60% – 70 %.


If the soil seems too dry, pour water directly to the base of your rose plants using a soaker hose or through drip irrigation. One inch of water per week is enough in normal climates, but they’ll need more watering in the hottest time of the year. Roses that grow in sandy soil need more watering than those that grow in clayish soil. 


Roses are heavy feeders and need to be fertilized regularly. Use a store-bought nitrogen fertilizer or you can even make your own fertilizer at home. Banana peels are one of the best fertilizers for roses and you can also use organic compost. Water your rose plants before and after every fertilizing and also remember not to feed them in extremely hot weather conditions. 


pruning roses

Roses need regular pruning to stay healthy and bloom well. Regular pruning can also help shape their structure as well. Prune your roses by removing any dead or damaged canes.

Common Diseases and Pest Problems

The most common diseases that can affect roses include: 

  • Black spot virus 
  • Powdery mildew
  • Rust
  • Rose mosaic disease
  • Botrytis blight
  • Rose rosette disease

There’s a higher risk of getting these diseases when rose bushes are grown too close causing a lack of air circulation, over or under-watering, and fertilization. In case of such infections, immediately separate the good plants from the sick ones to control the spreading further. To prevent a relapse, use a fungicide on your rose plants and their surroundings.

Your rose plants can also be prone to be affected by numerous pests including: 

  • Mites
  • Aphids
  • Rose scales
  • Beetles 
  • Moths 
  • Butterflies

These pests like to make their homes in the leaves which can damage and affect the entire plant. Try spraying the plants with water to wash the pests off or pick them off by hand. 

Replanting is also a good way to control these infections and infestations. However, if you’re not careful enough they can move along with the plant to the new environment. Therefore, don’t plant your roses in the same place where you grew them previously.  If you have no other place to plant them, make sure to replace the soil. 

Health Benefits of Roses 

Throughout history, rose petals and extracts have been used in various skincare formulations.  Here are some examples: 

Rose Tea 

Rose tea is made by boiling fresh or dried petals or flower buds in water. If using fresh flowers, make sure that they’re free of pesticides. Drinking rose tea is a good way to increase your fluid intake and to stay hydrated. Other benefits include: 

  • soothing the mind
  • strengthening the digestive system
  • balancing hormones
  • reducing menstrual pain
  • healing sore throat and cough
  • rich in antioxidant 
  • reducing wrinkles by preserving the skin
  • rich in antibacterial properties
  • decreases blood glucose levels

Other popular uses of roses include:

  1. Essential Oils – great for aromatherapy and they’re also used in plenty of beauty products.
  2. Rose Water – increase the flavor and aroma when mixed into food and beverage recipes as well as excellent for soothing the skin. Rose syrup is a popular ingredient in the making of faluda. 
  3. Rose Hydrosol – a cooling and moist skin toner.
  4. Rose Petal Jam – a delicious and energetic treat.
  5. Rose Powder – useful in herbal formulas, skin products, and culinary recipes

The Take-Away

So there you have it! As you can see, growing roses in your own garden isn’t very complicated after all. However, it does require a little extra time and effort. Therefore, make sure you’re ready to commit, if you’re planning to have your very own rose garden.