Rose Care Traditional Roses

While landscape shrub type Roses such as Knockouts have had a big surge since their somewhat recent conception – more traditional roses will always have their spot. Traditional Roses found in our area are typically Climing Roses, Hybrid Tea Roses, Grandiflora & Floribunda Roses.

If you just purchased your Rose, read this to for instructions on optimal planting and then find a watering guide for newly planted roses here.  If your Rose is already happily planted then you are probably here to learn more about the care from here on out. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place! Scroll to find the rose topic of interest and as always if you have questions about something we didn’t cover – feel free to reach out to us at 423-245-GROW or

ALL Roses need the following for optimal performance:

  • At least 6 hours of sunlight (proper sunlight = best blooms)
  • Well-drained soil (Roses really hate wet feet)
  • Rich soil (add quality soil amendments to existing soil such as Daddy Pete’s Nursery Blend or Composted Cow Manure)
  • A 3″ layer of mulch around the plant


Pruning is important because it helps prevent disease, overcrowding, and literally makes Roses bloom better. Rose gloves are needed. Just invest in a pair that go up the forearm and save yourself the pain.

Hybrid Tea/Floribunda Roses

You only need to prune heavily if this is your Rose’s second year. If this is your Rose’s first year, just lightly prune as the season goes on to remove dead bloom heads and to keep it nice and neat looking.

If this at least your Rose’s second year, a good pruning should be done in early Spring around March/April when you begin to see new leaves emerge.

  1. Remove any dead or damaged canes (canes are stems in layman’s terms).
  2. Remove crossing branches that may be rubbing against each other.
  3. Remove thin and weak looking canes

Climbing Roses 

Climbing Roses have main canes and lateral canes. Main canes come directly from the base of the plant. Lateral canes branch off of main canes and are the flower producers.

  1. In the early Spring, only prune out dead/damaged brances.
  2. For climbers, summer is the best time to heavily prune climbing roses after they have finished blooming. If your Climber is 2-3 years old, remove the thickest oldest main cane. This will encourage the plant to produce a new cain and help keep your Climber from becoming overgrown and too thick. It’s best to start pruning the main cane from the bottom by cutting out a piece at a time. If you aren’t sure if you have the right cane –  wait for a few hours then you will notice wilting leaves that indicate where you can continue to prune. Repeat until the entire cane has been removed.
  3. Lateral canes can be trimmed throughout the season to maintain shape


Roses have big appetites. It’s a lot of work being that beautiful!

Feed regularly with either Espoma Rose Tone or Evergreen’s own Rose Food


If possible, avoid overhead watering that gets the flowers wet. Use a watering wand, soaker hose, or long handled watering can to water the soil instead. Watering deeply and less often is better than watering frequently and quickly. Deep watering ensures that water arrives to the lowest point of the roots and encourages roots to grow downward. Roots that aren’t deeply watered will root more shallowly.

Disease & Insect Control

What really gives Roses the reputation of being picky is their susceptibility to diseases and pests. Some Roses are bred to be more resistant to disease.

Common Diseases:

  • Powdery Mildew – Usually appearing in the summer, you will notice curled leaves and a white, powdery substance on the leaves. You can help prevent powdery mildew by wateriing plants in the morning and not in the evening and watering at soil level as listed above. If your Rose bush hasn’t been pruned in awhile and seems crowded with crossing interior branche, you can prune to improve air circulation. Read More on Powdery Mildew here.
  • Black Spot – A fungal disease that appears as circular black or brown spots on the top side of leaves. The bottom leaves will become affected first and it works it’s way upwards. Eventually it causes the Rose to lose it leaves. You can help prevent this disease the same way as powdery mildew: by improving air circulation around and through the plant and watering at ground level. A simple mixture of baking soda and horticultural oil can help fight the spread of black spot. Read more on Black Spot here.

Common Pests:

  • Japanese Beetles – The good thing about Japanese Beetles is that they are short lived. Typically, they only last around 6 weeks before completeing their life cycle.
  • Aphids – A blast of the water hose will often dislodge these guys. You can also try companion planting and planting an Aphid attracting plant nearby such as Allium. The Aphids will go to it’s preferred meal and bypass your roses.
  • Rose Slugs –
  • Spider Mites

Using as Cut Flowers

Want to keep the fruit of your labors inside? Follow these tips for longest lasting cut roses:

  • Using sharp scissors/pruners, cut stalks that have buds that have just began to open and flower. This is best done in the morning or evening.
  • This prevents the stems from resting flat on the bottom of your vase.
  • Measure how long your stalks should be to fit your vase and make a new 45 degree cut before placing into the container to prevent stems from laying flat at the bottom of the container
  • Strip off any lower leaves that will be under the water level
  • Change the water daily, if possible, to keep roses fresh
  • Smile because you are a Rose Queen. Or King. You are a Ross Boss.

Overwintering Roses

  • Remove the dead leaves/debris from around the rose and dispose of in the trash. Fallen leaves can harbor pests or disease.
  • Water deeply
  • If canes are longer than 36″, cut back to help prevent damage from winter winds.
  • Using pine needles or pine bark mulch, make a pile around and up the rose about 8-10″ high. This helps insulate the rose base during winter. Avoid using heavy garden soils.

Roses can be a big topic so we hope this has helped break it down and make it simple for you. As such a staple classic beauty in the landscape, we think Roses are worth the effort!

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