Peach pink rose bush

Roses are quintessential English country garden plants
Image: Rose ‘Peach Melba’ (Climbing) from Thompson & Morgan

Delve into these gems of expert knowledge to help you grow fabulous roses. We’ve scoured the internet to find the best planting, propagating and pruning advice available.  Whether you’re caring for a single bush or planning an entire rose garden of bare root plants, these top tips will inspire and inform you every step of the way.

This article was reviewed by T&M’s horticultural team and updated on 13 June 2024.

Explore the symbolism of rose colours

Bright red rose bush

Red roses are synonymous with St. Valentine’s Day
Image: Rose ‘Fairy Queen’ from Thompson & Morgan

The colour of a rose flower can have multiple meanings. A bright red rose symbolises devotion and love, while a darker shade of red means regret and sorrow, explains Catherine from the blog Growing Family. Read her fascinating article to find out what orange, yellow, purple or even blue flowered varieties symbolise in your favourite floral arrangements.

Choose roses for scent as well as colour

Overview of summer rose garden

Roses evoke a glorious old style cottage garden feel
Image: Darren Harwood

If you’re after fragrant roses, here’s a great opportunity to visit the fantastic garden of rose expert Darren Harwood. In this video tour, he focuses on roses with the best scent from his collection, including one of his top picks, the lovely creamy-coloured ‘Arthur Bell’. See his fantastic rose arbour in full bloom and get some scented inspiration for your own patch.

Try floribunda rose ‘For Your Eyes Only’

Bush of Rose 'For Your Eyes Only' in sunlight

Rose ‘For Your Eyes Only’ produces brightly coloured and prolific blooms
Image: @josh_the_gardener

Over at @josh_the_gardener, professional head gardener Josh highly recommends Rosa ‘For Your Eyes Only’. “It’s an exquisite award-winning floribunda, blessed with the most gorgeous carefree blooms that open with lively apricot and salmon hues,” he says. To top it off, this prolific variety has a super fragrance too – read all about it in his post.

Plant roses in autumn for a strong start

Single bloom of pink rose 'Queen Elizabeth'

Plant bare root roses in the autumn for cost-effective colour
Image: Rose ‘Queen Elizabeth’ (Floribunda Rose) from Thompson & Morgan

Wondering when to plant your roses? “Although container grown plants can be planted at any time of the year, autumn is the preferred time to encourage well established root systems before the surge of growth in spring,” says the horticultural team over at the Thompson & Morgan blog. Find out how to give your bare root roses the best start in autumn so you can enjoy years of healthy growth.

Relocate roses if they’re not performing

Pale pink climbing rose

A gorgeous climbing rose is in full bloom
Image: @harebellandbee

Over at @harebellandbee, Shanna says you shouldn’t be afraid to relocate a rose if it isn’t thriving. This professional dried flower artist says she’s moved all of hers at least once (and sometimes twice) to get the right location. “But now they’ve all had a few years to settle and are really putting on a show this spring,” she reports. Take a look at her Insta page for inspirational images and advice.

Use standard roses for height and structure

Dark pink climbing rose variety

Choose a rose variety to enhance your garden
Image: Bunny Guinness

Not sure how to make the most of a standard rose? Over on YouTube, Bunny Guinness uses them to introduce height into her walled garden. This top designer recommends these cleverly compact plants for smaller gardens that don’t have space for a large shrub variety. Her video not only discusses the varieties that perform well in poor conditions, but shows you how to position them to the best effect as well. It’s a good excuse to take a sneak peak at Bunny’s very special garden too.

Learn how to take hardwood cuttings

Propagating rose pruning

Rose hardwood cuttings are usually the thickness of a pen when taken
Image: Jay Jay

Check out the roots on Jay Jay’s cuttings! He explains that he gets a quicker ‘rose bush’ shape by rooting a three year old stem, using a piece far thicker than that usually recommended by the experts. Watch his video to see exactly how he gets a brand new rose bush covered in blooms using his maverick method, just 11 weeks after taking a cutting.

Overwinter your rose cuttings for easy propagation

Taking rose cuttings

Take a cutting of a favourite rose to make more plants for free
Image: @thegardenoferderm

Making new rose plants isn’t as tricky as you think! Instagrammer @thegardenoferderm made 21 new plants by leaving cuttings in pots around the garden to root overwinter. His healthy young plants were ready to move into bigger pots the following March. See his method and the results for yourself in the progress pictures shared with his interesting post.

Prune young roses to get a fuller shape

Closeup pruning rose stem

Prune young roses to get a bushier shape
Image: photowind/Shutterstock

Pruning your young roses helps to give them a fuller shape. If you’re looking for a few tips, watch this very clear video by Huw Richards as he demonstrates exactly how much to take off and where to cut. According to Huw, taking away any tall, leggy, vertical growth encourages more horizontal growth, making a bushier plant with a more formal shape. See his video on how to prune a one year old rooted cutting here.

Remove diseased leaves after the summer prune

Man looking a rose garden for pruning

Roses benefit from a light summer prune
Image: @man_about_gardening

Clear any diseased leaves away from the soil during a summer prune to prevent reinfection, says Instagrammer Luke. He usually does a hard prune in January, but likes to keep on top of deadheading and tidying during the warmer months. Head to @man_about_gardening to see his super fun video as he keeps his roses tidy using a pruning checklist.

Immediately remove leaves affected by rust and black spot

Closeup of pink rose flower

There’s nothing like a rose flower for colour and scent
Image: Rose ‘Special Anniversary’ (Hybrid Tea Rose) from Thompson & Morgan

Instagrammer Jenny has a few simple tips to treat your common rose problems. “With mildew, cut back to healthy growth… With [rust, black spot and botrytis] pull off affected leaves or buds. Treat with organic bee friendly green treatments and worm tea and you have essentially cracked it,” she says. Check out her post @themindfulgardenco to see one of her favourite roses blooming – this is a blogger who clearly knows her stuff.

Treat botrytis quickly

Closeup of speckled rose petals

Pink flecked rose petals may be a sign of a fungal infection
Image: Rachel the Gardener

Does your white petalled rose have pink spots? It’s probably a Botrytis cinerea infection, says Rachel The Gardener. As soon as you see the signs, deadhead the affected flowers to stop the fungus spreading through the plant, she says. See a picture of what to look out for, and read up on this common fungal disease in her information packed post.

Gather hips to grow roses from seeds

Wild dog rose varieties

Wild rose varieties are well suited to starting from seed
Image: Dog rose (Hedging) from Thompson & Morgan

Gather rose hips from Rosa canina in late autumn if you want to try growing your own plants from seed, says the gardener at GrowandGather Scotland. His top tip for wild type roses – leave the freshly sown pots outside over winter in the cold to stimulate germination. Watch this informative video to see how he picks and sows his seeds, and find out how the new plants look after a year of growth.

Get your roses ready for winter

Pruning rose bush to improve air circulation

Prune to open up the inside of your rose bush
Image: Cumbrian Homestead

Whether pruning floribundas, miniatures, half-standards or hybrid tea rose varieties, the main principles of rose pruning are the same, says Woody over at the Cumbrian Homestead. The first step is always to remove any dead, dying and diseased branches from the plant, he says. Watch the video to see how he gets his impressive rose bed ready for winter.

Make rose water and Turkish delight from rose petals

Closeup of pink rose petals

Rose petals hold their scent after picking
Image: English Homestead

If the scent of your roses is making you crave Turkish delight, have a go at making your own like Kev from English Homestead. “It tastes just like proper Turkish delight and the rose scent comes through just right,” he says. You’ll find his recipe for homemade rose water along with step-by-step instructions and helpful pictures in this fun blog post.

We hope you’ve found this rose-growing content helpful. For even more information and advice about growing roses, head over to our dedicated hub page. And if you have a favourite rose, please share it with us on social using #YourTMGarden. We love to hear your success stories!

Expert contributor list

  • Catherine Hughes, Freelance journalist and writer, author.
  • Darren Harwood, Rose grower, gardening content creator.
  • Josh Taylor @josh_the_gardener, Garden consultant, content creator.
  • Shanna, flower grower, floral designer and founder of Harebell & Bee.
  • Bunny Guinness, BSc (Hons) in Horticulture, chartered landscape architect, BBC Radio 4 Gardeners’ Question Time panelist, gardening content creator.
  • Jay Jay, Rose grower, gardening content creator.
  • @thegardenoferderm, London-based gardener, rose grower, content creator.
  • Huw Richards, Gardening YouTuber, author.
  • Luke Newnes, @man_about_gardening, gardening content creator, new build gardener.
  • Jenny Loudon @themindfulgardenco, regenerative wildlife gardener, gardening content creator.
  • Rachel The Gardener, Professional gardener, field botanist, consultant forensic horticulturalist, gardening Journalist, author, blogger.
  • GrowAndGather Scotland, YouTuber specialising in gardening, permaculture, foraging and more.
  • Woody, Cumbrian-based gardener, YouTuber and content creator.
  • Kev Alviti, Smallholder, gardening content creator, carpenter.

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