Winter is bare rooted rose planting season, the perfect time to add a stunning new variety to your current collection or start your brand new rose growing journey. Bare rooted roses are available in garden centres and via mail order during winter. They are thoroughly pruned leafless rose bushes sold in small plastic bags of potting mix. A bare rooted rose bears little resemblance to the magnificent flowering plant it can become, however cast your mind forward to spring and summer when it will be delighting you with masses of blooms.

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Here are some simple steps to give it the best possible start:

  • Before planting, unwrap the plastic from around the roots and then place the plant in a bucket of diluted seaweed solution, so that all the roots are covered. It’s important not to let the roots dry out.
  • Choose a well-drained spot in the garden that receives at least 6 hours of sunshine a day, as roses growing in shady conditions will develop spindly growth and have less flowers. Good air flow is also important, as it can help reduce the chance of diseases. 
  • Dig a hole around 30cm wide and deep. Mix some Yates® Dynamic Lifter® Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser into the soil dug from the hole. The rich organic matter in Yates Dynamic Lifter will improve the structure and quality of the soil and provide the rose with gentle slow release organic nutrients as it establishes.
  • Create a pyramid shaped mound of soil in the bottom of the planting hole. Place the rose in the hole with its roots sitting on and around the mound of soil. Ensure that the graft union (bump on the stem) will be sitting at least 5cm above the final ground level. Backfill around the roots gently with Yates Dynamic Lifter enriched soil and then water in well.
  • Apply a layer of organic mulch, like bark chips or pea straw, around the new rose, keeping the mulch a few centimetres away from the stem.
  • Keep the soil moist while the new rose establishes.

Many roses will also grow very well in pots. Choose a pot at least 30cm in diameter and partially fill with a good quality potting mix like Yates Premium Potting Mix. Place the rose in the pot and backfill around the root zone with potting mix, keeping the graft union 5cm above the final level of potting mix. Water in well to settle the potting mix around the roots. Potted roses will require more frequent watering than in-ground roses, so monitor potting mix moisture levels regularly.

Sometimes a rose will produce new shoots prematurely during winter. These are vulnerable to damage from cold and frosts. If your roses are developing tender new growth, spray leaves and stems with Yates Waterwise® DroughtShield®. It creates a thin flexible protective film over the shoots which helps reduce frost damage.

At the end of winter and early spring, roses will start to wake from their winter slumber and it’s time to feed them. Apply some Yates Thrive® Natural Roses & Flowers Pelletised Organic Based Plant Food around the root zone, which is a complete fertiliser that is specially formulated to provide roses with the nutrients they need to grow healthy foliage and lots of heavenly flowers.

Winter Rose Care

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Pruning

Winter, when roses are leafless and dormant, is the ideal time to prune roses. Completely remove any dead stems, which are usually grey, and crowded or overlapping growth in the middle of the bush, and then cut all the remaining healthy stems down to around knee height, apart from standard or lollipop roses, banksia and climbing roses. David Austin roses should be trimmed back by about a third. If you have time, prune each stem to just above an outward facing bud. If you’re time poor or a bit unsure, then take no notice of the buds! You can even use hedge shears or loppers rather than secateurs. Winter pruning helps promote healthier plants and a much better flower show, so it’s well worthwhile devoting some time to pruning your roses.

Pest & Disease Prevention 

There is a range of rose pests and diseases, such as powdery mildew, scale and mites, that are lying in wait on rose stems during winter, ready to infect new spring foliage and flower buds. Used at the higher winter rate, Yates Lime Sulfur will control powdery mildew, scale insects and mites, helping to break the pest and disease cycle and give the rose the best possible fresh start in spring. Once the rose bush is pruned, spray all stems thoroughly with Yates® Lime Sulfur. It’s a pungent (it smells a little like rotten eggs) but very effective way to control rose pests and diseases.


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