Growing Quality Roses.

December 9, 2013 • Domestic Goddess, Gardening

Growing Quality Roses

Author: Alice Turner

Before one can embark on a gardening project one needs to have a passion for the project. A positive mind set is the driving wheel behind the success of any project. Today I am going to discuss some tips on how to grow quality roses on a small scale basis. My ideas are not exhaustive of what one should do but are just a few tips to help you embark on a rose flower growing project if you have a passion for the sweet scent of roses around your home.

You can grow these roses in pots for the patio or balcony or even if you have a garden but renting the property, who knows you may decide to move your house, so it is best you grow your flowers in pots so that when you move you are able to carry your treasure with you, wherever you go.

Types of pots and containers.

Nowadays one can find a variety of pots and containers to suit one’s choice of design. There are pots made of terra cotta, glazed ceramic, plastic, wood or even (for short-term use) biodegradable fibre that are available on the market. One has a wide variety of choices to choose from. One can even use some specially made plastic bags meant for growing vegetables or flowers. One important factor to remember is that avoid placing a saucer underneath the pot, because that would result in the root to rot. It is important to ensure that your soil is free draining. Since roses grow well in containers with a minimum depth of around 30cm, it is important that the containers you purchase meet the requirement.

Soil preparation.

Before embarking on the rose growing project ensure that the soil has been well prepared to the best you can for the new plant since roses are known to have a life span of up to thirty years or even more. Roses may also struggle if they are planted in the same spot where an old rose plant has previously grown. Rose plants tend to suffer from a disease called rose sickness or replant disease. So it is paramount that you avoid this by always growing roses in a new site. Soil can be improved by addition of organic matter from various sources. These sources include, horse or cattle manure, home- made compost manure, purchased manure from a garden centre. The choices are wide. Importantly the manure must be dug into the soil and mixed thoroughly with the soil to give a good consistency. Ensure there are no foreign roots in the soil to reduce weeds taking over the roses in your pot or source of growth. After soil preparation leave the source for at least two weeks for the soil to settle before you start planting the roses. When planting starts, make sure you dig deep enough to cover all the plant roots. For a better plant, add slow release fertilizer or bone meal to the soil, mixing it very well before you cover the plant firmly. Then firm the soil down all around the bush using your heel if possible. The new plant is now set to start growing and blossom.

 Common rose plant diseases.

Roses, like any other crop or flower are highly susceptible to disease especially when the weather is wet and humid, or when the cold winters are too harsh. Rose plants are easily attacked by fungi. There are five types of common fungi disease that attack roses which you have to look out for. These are:

  1. Botrytis Blight disease

This type of disease is believed to affect mainly hybrid tea roses. The fungus attacks leaves and canes preventing your lovely roses to blossom. The disease cause flower petals to turn brown and shrivel. So it is advisable to look closely at cankered stems, brown leaves and flowers periodically. If you notice greyish brown growth under the leaves that is reason for concern because it may mean the fungus is starting to grow. There is enough reason to be concern and consult a specialist on advice to deal with the problem.

Botrytis blight disease (image source

2. Powdery Mildew disease

This is one of the most common rose diseases because it occurs in dry as well as humid weather. The powdery mildew fungus produces a white, talcum powder-like growth on the top and bottom of the leaves and stems. When the disease is severe, the plant becomes stunted and leaves curl and drop. In most cases the favourable conditions for development of the powdery mildew to develop are day-time temperatures near 80 degrees F with a relative humidity of 40-70 percent, and night-time temperatures near 60 degrees F.


Rose powdery mildew

Powdery mildew infected leaves (image source


3.    Rose Mosaic disease

The virus that causes rose mosaic is found worldwide. Its symptoms vary, but usually it shows up as mosaic patterns or splotches of yellow and green. Lucky enough there is no adverse effect on flower production that has been reported as yet, but leaf symptoms may affect the overall quality of the plant. Infected plants may be more sensitive to winter. The only way to control rose mosaic is to remove infected plants and also consult with specialists near you, for example, from a garden centre.


Rose Mosaic infected leaf (image source


4.    Black-spot disease

It is more common on some of the old fashioned rose plant varieties. So it is advisable to purchase your seedlings from a reliable specialist centre where the seedlings are treated and monitored. The disease is characterized by a leaf abnormality of nearly circular black spots with fringed margins. The spots vary from less than one-sixteenth to one-half inch or more in diameter. Black-spot disease is predominant in wet weather that are mostly around 65-75 degree F temperatures. Severe infections will cause defoliation.

Rose black spot. Image: RHS/Tim Sandall

Black-spot infected leaf (image source

5.    Rust disease

This disease first appears on the underside of leaves and other plant parts as orange powdery “pustules”. As these pustules develop, they become visible on the upper leaf surfaces as orange or brown spots.

Rose rust. Image: RHS, Horticultural Science

Rust infected leaf (image source


Tips on how to control the infection and care for roses of most types.

Like any plant the infections on roses can be controlled or prevented through simple maintenance and good cultural practices. This is where passion of growing your own flower comes into active play. One can turn to use of fungicides in very severe cases only. Below are a few tips but the list is not exhausted:

  • Buy and transplant disease-free plants.
  • Try to buy your plant from a reliable source that treat their seedlings.
  • Ask for advice on resistant varieties, this will boost your gardening moral when you end up with good attractive flowers.
  • Avoid wounding plants during transplanting.
  • Plant roses in areas with good soil drainage and ventilation as discussed above in soil preparation.
  • If possible avoid shady spots and dense planting because it is important that there is good air circulation to improve the leaf surfaces ensuring leaves dry faster, preventing disease or spread of infection.
  • If your plant is attacked with an infection, remove and destroy infected leaves and canes.
  • Make sure the infected plant is not disposed of as green compost manure because the disease will spread to other plants when you next use the compost on healthy plants.
  • When watering your plant use a sprouted watering container so that you avoid overhead watering.
  • If your plants are infected consult with local expects on treatment advice. Do not leave the disease to spread or destroy your plants.
  •  All roses need regular pruning to keep them healthy and in good shape and to keep them flowering well.
  • Depending on the type of roses you have, most roses need pruning either after flowering or in late winter or early spring. Always consult with specialists near you.
  • When pruning roses prune the plants in an outward direction facing the bud, making a slanting cut that allows water to drain away rather than collect water on the open wound and cause disease.
  • Always use clean secateurs and cut out any dead, diseased or damaged wood as well as any weak or crossing growth.


  1. The Royal Horticultural Society 17th August 2012.
  2.    Rose Magazine 2013, (
  3. The country garden pot, Shropshires rose and garden specialists, (Beginners guide to rose care)
  4. Growing roses in containers- Colorado State University fact sheet 7.416 Rose Culture.
  5. Organic Gardening: Growing roses. The Telegraphy 13 June 2008.

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