Newly planted roses benefit from watering 2-3 times a week until established. Afterwards, roses like a good deep watering (several inches) once or twice a week if there is no rain. Watering at the base of the plants helps to keep the foliage dry and resist diseases.
Adding mulch to your rose beds helps prevent the topsoil from becoming too dry, reduces the amount of watering you must do, keeps the soil cool in hot weather, and reduces weeds.
Some suitable mulches include shredded bark (uses nitrogen as it decomposes, so suplement your fertilizer with nitrogen), compost (great source of nutrients), dried grass clippings (cheap and readily available), shredded leaves (whole leaves tend to mat), and pine needles (add lime to offset the acidity). Use whatever is available and inexpensive in your area.
Roses are heavy feeders. A regular program of fertilizer will give your roses the energy they need to grow and produce flowers. Organic or inorganic fertlizers are suitable, and many gardeners use a combination of the two.
Organic fertilizers release their nutrients slowly as they decompose and have the added benefit of improving the soil condition. Nutrients are immediately available from inorganic fertilizers, unless they are designated time-release or slow-release fertilizers, but continual heavy use can result in a toxic buildup of salts.
We recommend using both slow-release and instant fertilizers. Apply slow-release fertilizers in early spring and late summer, using organic fertilizers for one or both of the applications if it is available. Use instant fertilizers at the recommended rate in addition to the slow-release fertilizer, but only on established plants.
Remember, with fertilizer, more is not necessarily better. Inorganic liquid fertilizers in high concentrations can burn roots and foliage, especially if a rose is under stress due to heat or drought. For smaller plants or during extreme weather, use half-strengh fertilizer.
Although modern hybrid tea and floribunda roses do best with hard pruning in early spring, old garden roses do not. In fact, some, like tea and china roses, resent hard pruning. A few spring pruning tips:Remove dead and old wood: For all your roses, remove any dead growth. On well-established roses, remove one or two of the oldest canes to promote new basal growth.
To promote faster rebloom, deadhead your roses. That is, remove spent blooms to keep your rose from spending energy developing hips, which hold seeds.
For larger branches, such as those on some hybrid musk, floribunda, and hybrid tea roses, cut the stem below the flower and just above the first outward facing bud at the base of a leaf with 5-leaflets.
For twiggy branches, such as on china, tea, and some noisette roses, simply pinching of the faded bloom is sufficient. If you wish to let your rose develop hips in fall, do not deadhead after the last bloom at the end of summer.