Photos by courtesy of David Austin Roses

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Growing conditions can vary around Australia. If you have any queries please contact your local Independent Garden Centre.

Modern roses are very easy to grow and Garden Centres have varieties to suit almost any need.


Situation: sunny spot – at least 5 hours per day.

Height: from ground covering to tree standards.

Width: from 45cm to 2 metres.

Roses are the World’s most loved flower and plants are widely grown by home gardeners. Ask for advice when selecting plants and you will grow them successfully.

For best results Roses need:
• as much sun as possible – 5 hours or more daily.
• a bed at least one metre wide with no competition from grass or trees. Underplanting with annuals or bulbs is fine.
• good watering, sometimes twice a week. This will vary but the main point is deep watering.
• an 8 – 10cm deep mulch of any well composted organic material.
• feeding with All Purpose Plant Food in early Spring, early Summer and late Summer.
• control of pests and disease with appropriate products, Garden Centres will advise you.
• correct pruning twice a year.


Roses prefer an open, sunny well drained situation and reasonably heavy garden loam – not clay. Careful preparation of the ground, by digging in well composted organic matter about three weeks prior to planting, is beneficial. Do not add fertiliser at this stage unless it is a special rose planting food. You might burn the roots.

Heavy clay soils should be improved by digging in  Gypsum  2-3 weeks prior to planting.


Roses can be loosely grouped into a number of categories as follows:
Bush or Hybrid Tea – large flowers, generally one per stem
Floribunda – clustered flowers on each stem
Mini or Patio – small flowers, compact growth
Climbing – can be Floribunda or Hybrid Tea type flower
Standard – grafted on a straight stem, varying heights

  • David Austin English Roses
  • Old Fashioned  & English – including David Austin
  • Groundcover – useful in rockeries and landscaping

PLANTING: As with any plant, you’ll have better success if you prepare your soil before planting.

Bare-root roses (Winter only). Trim off damaged roots or shoots and stand plant in a bucket of water with added Plant Starter or liquid Seaweed. Dig a hole big enough to easily accommodate the roots and make a mound in the middle. Place the roots around the mound with the graft union above the soil level – you’ll see a soil mark on the stem and this should be at upper ground level after planting. Fill in around the roots with Planting Compost enriched soil, gently firming in as you plant. Water in well with Plant Starter to settle in the soil and lessen planting shock. Add more soil if needed. You should finish up with a slight ‘dished’ surface around the plant to assist watering.
Potted Roses: Remove the plant from the pot but do not disturb the roots too much, especially if the plants are freshly potted. Dig a hole twice the width of the root ball and slightly deeper than the root balls depth. Blend the soil you removed with Planting Compost , 2/3 compost to 1/3 soil and partially fill the bottom of the hole with compost enriched soil. Place the root ball in the middle of the hole ensuring that the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil surface. Ensure that the graft union is above soil level. Fill compost improved soil back into the hole, firm down to exclude any air pockets and leave a dished finished surface. Water in straight after planting and add Plant Starter to help your plant to a better start in life by gently stimulating the root system.

N.B. Do not dig below the clay line in heavy soils as you may cause a drainage problem. Build up the soil level instead.

Standard Roses or Tree Roses need a stake to support them. Before planting, drive a 1.5 metre stake into the ground ensuring that the top of the stake comes to the top of the rose. Tie the rose to the stake at the top, at the bottom and two other spots up the stem. N.B. Use a soft material for ties,. Never use wire or plastic ties.

Weeping Roses must be supported for their entire lives. Again, the support must reach to the top of the plant and Garden Centres  have inexpensive, quality, galvanised rings and pipes available to make this easy for you.

After planting, mulch soil surface with an 8-10cm layer of quality mulch. To avoid collar rot, ensure that the mulch is not in direct contact with the stem.

Watering: Water new plantings in well. Roses require regular, deep watering through warmer months. A rough guide is two good  waterings each week but this will vary with weather and soil conditions. If this is not done, flower quality and quantity may be affected. Morning watering will lessen chance of fungal infection.

FEEDING: Do not feed roses at planting time, it is far better to let them settle in for a few weeks. Feed with All Purpose Plant Food in early Spring, early Summer & late Summer. The feeding roots of roses are located under the outer foliage canopy, or drip line, so ensure the fertiliser is evenly spread over this area. Always water well prior to and after fertiliser application. Fowl manure pellets are also very good as is feeding through flowering time with a Seaweed solution.

PRUNING: Roses perform at their best if trimmed regularly and pruned each year in Winter. Removal of dead flowers and shortening of stems is all that is required in Spring, Summer & Autumn with the main hard pruning carried out in Winter. Floribunda and David Austin Roses can be pruned heavily after flowering but do ask for advice. Basically you aim to shape the plant, removing old or damaged wood to create new growth for flowering. We suggest you look at the Rose Pruning Tips for further advice.

© Garden Centres Association Australia