Growing Roses

What Do Roses Like?

Position – An open, airy position with at least 5 hrs of sun a day for best flowering and reduced risk of disease.

Fertilising – Regular (once a month) during the active growing season Sept-April (every month with an 'R' in its name) keeps roses growing strong, flowering and building resistance to disease. We recommend Healthy Earth All Purpose Fertiliser or Sudden Impact for Roses.

Watering – Regular, deep watering transports the nutrients to the roots and should be adjusted with the climate. Water stressed plants, particularly in mid-summer, stop growing and often the older leaves turn yellow and drop off! Applying fertiliser at this point won’t help unless enough water is given.   

The ideal way to water roses is onto the soil, beneath the foliage. A long, deep soak once a week is a good guide. If overhead watering is unavoidable, do it in the morning so the leaves dry quickly. The spores of black spot fungus or powdery mildew can only germinate on wet leaves!

Pruning – Continual light pruning and deadheading throughout the season will keep roses growing and reflowering. This should be made just above a leaf that has 5 leaflets. When pruning, remove and destroy any early signs of disease. When roses finish flowering, deadhead to tidy and leave any major pruning until August. Clean up fallen leaves to prevent any ongoing fungal problems. A Winter spray of Lime Sulphur or Kocide will help limit fungal and insect problems in Spring.

Planting Roses

Roses can be planted year round and the technique for planting will be a little different depending on the time of year. Please ask our staff for seasonal advice.

If you need to plant a new rose where you have taken out an old rose and are concerned about residual disease, we recommend lining the hole with a cardboard box filled with fresh soil and holes made in the bottom for drainage. By the time the box breaks down, the surrounding soil is usually clear of disease.

Our Roses have been pruned and soaked in a solution of Healthy Earth Liquid Fertiliser ® and Seasol® before being potted for your convenience. This ensures they remain in premium condition. Keep the plant slightly damp until you are ready to plant.

Select a position in your garden, ideally receiving a minimum of 5 hours of direct sun each day from Spring through Autumn. Prepare a planting hole 50cm wide and 30 – 40cm deep, blending the existing soil with Martins Planting Compost® and a cup of Healthy Earth Instant Clay Breaker® to improve the drainage. This is essential when planting into clay-based soils, ensuring there is good drainage. Make a small mound in the centre of the hole. Place your Rose on the mound, spreading the roots evenly and backfill with remaining soil/compost blend so the final soil level is about 1cm below the lowest branch.

Sprinkle a scoop of Sudden Impact for Roses® fertiliser over the soil surface and apply 2L of water with added Seasol® your newly planted Rose, then mulch with Sugar Cane or Pea Straw leaving a 5cm clearance from the stem. Water again 1-2 weeks later.

When planting your Rose into a new pot, select one which has a minimum of 45cm diameter and use Martins Premium Potting Mix®. Water well and thereafter weekly. Make sure the pot is sitting off the ground.

Pest & Disease Management

The best preventative measure you can take is to have the rose growing strongly. If fungal disease is picked up early and removed it can be controlled without spraying. The severity of problems depends a lot on what the weather is doing each season.

Products for control of Black Spot and Powdery Mildew include: Eco Fungicide, Healthy Earth Plant Spray, Triforine. Products for control of insects such as aphids, thrips, hibiscus beetle, scale etc include: Neem Oil, Eco-oil, Natrasoap, garlic/chilli spray, Pyrethrum, Contendor.

We are always happy help identify pest and disease problems and advise on treatment.

Types of Roses


These usually have one large flower on a stem like the roses from a florist. They are great cut flowers and generally last well in a vase. They range between having little or no fragrance to incredibly intense fragrance. Although each person’s sense of smell varies, if the label makes a fuss about the Rose’s perfume, it’s safe to assume it's fragrant. On average, Hybrid Tea bushes grow between 1m-1.8m and all varieties we stock are repeat flowering.


This means many flowers. The bushes bear flowers in clusters on each stem all over the bush which makes them suitable for a showpiece or hedge planting in the garden. The flowers themselves tend to be smaller in size and mostly without significant perfume. They range from multi petalled to single flowers. Their height is usually 1m-1.5m.


These are a range of roses bred in the U.K. by renowned breeder David Austin. They are modern reproductions of old romantic style roses with soft cupped petals, arching branches and are all repeat flowering and perfumed to some extent. The flowers can also be cut for the vase.


These are a wonderful collection from the French Rose Breeders Delbard. They are renowned for their huge range of colour, form, fragrance and elegance. The roses are strong, vigorous growers and are very well suited to Australia's climate.

Delbard Roses are planted throughout Melbourne's Flemington Racecourse.


These are an old variety with tell tale small prickles covering their stems. They are incredibly disease resistant and cold hardy. They repeat flower and bear beautiful rose hips at the end of autumn. Pruning should be limited to ensure the hips set. In late winter they can be pruned using a hedge trimmer.


Climbing roses can grow between 2m-5m depending on the variety. Those that grow less than 3m are sometimes called "pillar roses" and are suited to train on an arch or up a post. When the description says "vigorous" this usually indicates that the roses will grow about 3-5m. Climbers will need a support of some kind to grow on, such as wire or lattice so the canes can be trained horizontally. This encourages flowering along the length of the stem. If planting climbers on an archway, it is always advisable to plant a rose on each side for even coverage.

Banksia roses are climbers that are usually too vigorous for this kind of training and are often used for quick cover of fences and structures. They flower once each spring.


These are tough ground-hugging and repeat-flowering roses that come in a wide range of colours, most commonly under the “Flower Carpet” brand. They make an excellent massed border or potted specimen. In late winter they can be pruned using a hedge trimmer or shears.


Standard and weeping roses are simply varieties of hybrid tea, floribunda and groundcover roses that have been budded onto a tall stem .The most common height and the one we mainly stock is 90cm. Weepers are climbing or rambling varieties budded onto a 1.8m stem and are designed to cascade downwards. Both require a permanent hardwood or metal stake to support them.


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