Rose Care Tips & Advice from Cleeve Nursery

rosecare2Roses need regular feeding and attention. They need to be pruned and fed (don’t forget, the growth you cut off contains the nutrients that were in the soil that the plant has absorbed). Roses also have more pests and diseases than other plants, but they are worth the bother for their stunning displays of colour and gorgeous perfume. Cleeve Nursery carries a wide range of everything you need to keep your roses healthy.


If roses are not fed properly, diseases and general disorders are almost inevitable. New roses benefit from fish, blood and bone or bone meal in the planting hole. A fertilizer slightly higher in phosphate will be better later in the growing season, to improve flower quality and quantity. Fertilise after pruning to put back the goodness – or if the fertiliser is organic, such as fish, blood and bone or bone meal, spread it a few weeks before pruning to give it time to work.

Liquid and foliar feeds are both available, however, the latter only feeds the rose bush and doesn’t replenish lost food reserves in the soil. Both liquid feeds and foliar feeds will need to be applied quite often throughout the growing season. Slow release feeding can be a better choice – a single application in spring will be enough to feed the rose throughout the growing season, as the nutrients are released according to moisture and temperature. The damper and warmer the climate, the more feed is released. Our staff will advise on the best feed for your roses.


Mulching beneath the rose to a depth of several inches with Cleeve Nursery mulches is eco-friendly and also feeds the soil. It keeps the root system cool and moist – particularly in thin, dry soils and helps combat Rose Mildew.


Most roses are budded on to a vigorous rootstock system, and from these rose suckers can emerge – generally after the root stock has suffered damage. These stems are much more vigorous than the cultivated rose, and will take its food supply unless removed. With bush roses, the suckers surface from ground level or below, sometimes several feet away from the main plant. With standard roses they sometimes emerge from the stem. Suckers are very thorny, have 7 leaflets to a leaf instead of 5, and also generally having light green ribbed foliage rather than the cultivar’s glossy and darker green foliage. Wearing thick leather gloves, pull or twist the suckers off. Miniature and some modern roses have been produced from cuttings so do not suffer from suckers.


Roses suffer from the two main aphids, greenfly and blackfly, that feed on the tender young shoots and buds and affect the vigour of the rose. Aphids exude a sticky substance which leads to a black fungus (sooty mould). Soapy water will wash off greenfly, but not kill them, so they soon reappear. They can be easily treated with a general insecticide, or a rose-specific chemical combined spray – but the best idea is to spray with a preventative early in the year before they take hold. We carry everything you need to keep aphids at bay.


Rose mildew: unsightly white powdery mildew mould starts off on leaves and soon spreads to buds. Common in hot, dry conditions in mid/late summer and autumn, it particularly attacks plants where the root area is dry and lacking moisture and the air circulation is poor. Repeat applications of rose fungicide or a combined spray will be necessary, possibly from early spring, although it is normally sufficient to start spraying at first sign of the mildew.

Blackspot: warm damp conditions are ideal for the spread of Rose Blackspot, which may not be evident to any extent until late June or July. However, the actual infestation starts quite early in the year, so a preventative spray early in the season is useful, even before the foliage starts to show (also spray the ground around the rose). There is no cure for affected leaves, though spraying every two weeks with a fungicide or combined rose spray such as Multirose will halt the spread. Infected leaves should be removed and burned, NOT put on the compost heap or into your recycling bin.

Rose care is easiest when you ask the advice of our staff.