Welcome to Growing Roses

Welcome. It’s great to have you here. Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned rose gardener, this is the place for you, especially if you grow your roses in a temperate coastal climate.

My name is Linda, and I’ve been a professional horticulturist since 1995, specialising in roses since 2002.

My aim is to create a site filled with interesting and useful articles for the rose gardener, helping you with all aspects of rose growing starting from the ground up. These articles will include a wide variety of rose care topics including planting, feeding, watering, fertilising, pruning, soils, and dealing with insects, pests and diseases.

I will be adding new content regularly, including how-to instructional articles, news and information from the rose growing world. Drop by often to enjoy this growing collection of pictures and how-to tips.


There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to
creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling.
 -   Mirabel Osler

35 Comments so far

  1. Jean on October 16th, 2008

    I love that you grow your roses organically. I’m crazy about the roses pictured on your home page.
    And I admire you no end for going after your dream and putting up this beautiful website. Keep it up and you’ll be The One in the whole world to go to for info on growing roses.
    Love ya,

  2. admin on October 16th, 2008

    @ Jean
    Thanks for your lovely comments. I enjoy sharing the knowledge I’ve gained with those interested in growing roses. Unfortunately I still have to use a spray program due to disease problems like black spot associated with growing roses in a humid coastal climate like Sydney.

  3. Nicole on May 10th, 2009

    Hi, I am hoping somebody will know if it is possible to name a rose, I cant seem to find a website in Australia . It is for a present for my 70yr old aunty who loves roses and wants to name a rose after the death of her beloved brother. Do you know if it is possible ?? I know your website is about growing roses etc , it just sounds like you are an expert on roses so i am hoping you might be able to help. If you can “name a star” you must be able to name a rose? any ideas would be appreciated.thanks nicole

  4. admin on May 11th, 2009

    @ Nicole
    I wasn’t sure of this myself so I phoned Swanes nursery at Dural NSW and apparently it is possible to get a rose named for someone. If you want to call them on 02 9651 1322 they will be able to give you the email details of the person to contact regarding this. Please let me know how you go with it.

  5. lynne on September 7th, 2009

    hi ive only just start.ed growing roses and i have them in pots, is that ok for them or should they be in the ground.

  6. admin on September 7th, 2009

    patio roses or groundcover roses are the most suitable for pots. I have grown the smaller-growing hybrid teas and floribundas successfully in large pots. Check the label on your rose to see the height and width details – anything that grows over 3 1/2ft (120 cms) in height and width, I’d put in the ground.When growing roses in pots keep the water up to them as they can dry out quickly in hot weather

  7. Christine on February 5th, 2010

    Hi, The land where we are going to be building a house has many big, old rose bushes which I would like to transplant in an attempt to keep them. What are the chances of the plants surviving if I transplant them into pots?

  8. admin on February 6th, 2010

    I’d certainly try to keep them. If you live in a temperate climate like Sydney, the best time to transplant them is in winter while the rose bushes are dormant. It’s hard to give you advice without knowing how big and old they are but this is what I’d do. Give them a decent prune back to anywhere between 1/2 to 1 metre height in winter, do this to 4-5 of the newer canes and get rid of any of the older woodier canes (as roses flower best on the newer ones – the old ones are exhausted and don’t produce flowers as well). It’s hard to speculate on this seeing I don’t know how tall or big they are and whether they are a bush rose or a hybrid tea or floribunda rose). Seeing they are older roses, you want to keep as much of the soil ball around them as possible when transplanting and make sure you put them in a pot large enough so you don’t squish the root system and the roots have some room to grow once the weather warms up. Be sure to use decent potting mix in the pots. When watering them in, use some seasol mixed at half strength in a watering can which will help them get over the transplant shock. Don’t feed them anything until you see the new growth starting in Spring. Make sure you keep the water up to the potted roses as they dry out easily in hot weather. This is only a temporary solution, seeing they are big roses you don’t want to keep them in pots forever, you’ll need to put them back in the ground – the sooner the better. When you’re ready to plant them back in the ground be sure to read through the articles here on soil preparation etc so they can re-establish quickly and grow back into healthy robust specimens.

  9. Christine on February 6th, 2010

    thank you for your advice! I do live in Sydney but unfortunately the roses will have to be moved sooner rather than later. At a guess, the roses would be about 20 years old & are about my height of 155cm or taller. They would have to be in pots for many months while the house is being built?

    Just a thought, but I would really like the roses to stay alive & healthy, if you are nearby the property would you like them?

  10. admin on February 7th, 2010

    Thanks for the offer Christine, but I am not able to take them. Whereabouts in Sydney are you going to be building? When is the latest you could transplant them?
    I’d still transplant them into pots even if it is sooner rather than later, though try to make it as late in the season as possible so they don’t have to deal with heat stress on top of transplant stress.
    Contrary to popular belief, roses are very hardy and forgiving plants. If you decide you do want to go ahead this is how I’d go about it: (I’m assuming it’s going to be some time in Autumn? seeing it can’t be put off til Winter when they are dormant?)
    Two weeks prior to moving them, reduce the bushes by about half their height.
    A week before moving them give them a good soak followed by a good watering of seasol mixed according to instructions.
    Give them another good watering the day before the transplant – if it’s well drained soil. If it’s more heavy and clayey then do it 2-3 days before transplanting them. (You don’t want to be digging them up if the soil is muddy – you want it moist but well-drained.)
    Follow this last watering with another dose of seasol.
    Meanwhile get your pots and premium potting mix. Make sure pots are at least 50-60cm (20-24in) in diameter and have them partly filled with the potting mix ready for the rose. It would be preferable to have each pot and the potting mix next to each rose so you can put it in the pot as soon as you dig it out and backfill and water in straight away.
    When you’re ready to transplant them do it either in the early morning or late afternoon. Start digging at the roses’ drip zone, and then undercut so you end up with an intact rootball approx 45-50cm in diameter, ready to put into the pot. Make sure you have thick pruning gloves on when doing this to avoid any nasty prickles.
    Once the rose is in the pot backfill with the potting mix, you want the rose to sit at the same soil level as it was when in the ground. Water in well, and then give a dose of seasol at half strength. Keep the water up to the plants so they don’t dry out, but don’t overwater either. The soil may appear dry on the surface but if you stick your finger into the potting mix as far as it will go, this will give you a better indication of the soil moisture.
    IF the weather is still hot when you transplant them, stick the pots in a shaded position for a couple of weeks after transplanting then gradually move them out into a sunny position.
    They should do ok in the pots for at least 12 months and then you can plant them back in the ground, preferably when they are dormant in winter.
    Good luck with it and I’m really interested to see how they do, so if you do decide to go ahead with it, please let me know the results – I’m sure they’ll do well.

  11. Christine on February 8th, 2010

    we are building in Normanhurst in the northern suburbs. I will find out more when I speak to the builder on Wednesday, but I will probably have to move them in March. I was hoping to fence them off to keep the builders out of that area, but they have designated that area for storage & sorting, im not impressed!

    My father thinks the roses are older than I orginally thought, probably about 40 years old. There is some lovely plants on the block.

    There are a couple of huge old camellias that should be ok to keep & several large bird of paradise. I am hoping that some plants will survive.

    Thank you for all your advice & I will certinally keep you updated. Thankfully, I have several large pots available!

  12. admin on February 8th, 2010

    You’re welcome Christine. Normanhurst is a lovely leafy area with beautiful well established gardens. Lucky you to be building there. Hopefully the builders will be mindful of those established older plants..fingers crossed. Best of luck with the building and the transplant.

  13. Janeen Maguire on October 11th, 2010

    Hi, thanks for your great advice. Was wondering if you can help me. If I want roses to flower at a particular time how long before would I dehead roses to get to that stage. for example if I wanted them to flower at xmas time or to put in a local show.

  14. admin on October 11th, 2010

    Hi Janeen
    I would say around 6-7 weeks dependent on how much water they get and the air temperature. A few years ago I wanted to get all the roses I cared for blooming at the same time, so they would make a spectacular display for a particular event that was coming up. I did some research on this and came to the conclusion that 6 weeks ought to do it so I deadheaded all the buds and flowers on the rose bushes 6 weeks before the event and fed them some liquid fertilizer and watered them well before and after the liquid feed. This was early Spring, and at the time Sydney was on water restrictions and those 6 weeks we hardly got any rain. We couldn’t give them a decent soaking due to the water restrictions so had to make do with the little water we could give them. (We are talking 60 roses here). Well the event came and all the rose bushes were bursting with lots of plump buds just ready to open, but not many flowers had bloomed. To say I was disappointed was an understatement. The week after, they were a spectacular show. I still believe that if we had got some decent rain for a couple of good soakings, the roses would have appeared on the week I had wanted. That is why I say it is dependent on the amount of water they get and the air temperature. When it’s cooler, they seem to take a little longer to flower than when the weather is hotter

  15. Martin Green on November 13th, 2010

    I live in Kentucky(central US)
    I am wanting to grow roses in my greenhouse.
    Is this practical?
    Trying to grow organic/local grown for Valentines Day-which is about the coldest time of the year.

  16. admin on November 16th, 2010

    Hi Martin
    I think it may be too cold even in the greenhouse to grow roses to flower in February in Kentucky, but to know for sure, why not just give it a try. Just experiment with a couple of rose plants (use the variety you’d like to grow for Valentine’s Day) and see how they go. You’ve got nothing to lose and it will be an interesting experiment. If you go ahead please let us know how it went. Also you have to remember, it’s not only the temperature that affects flowering but also day length. The days start getting longer in Spring and that’s going to be hard to replicate in Winter in a greenhouse. However, I’d still give it a shot and see what happens. Best of luck with it.

  17. glenn franks on December 13th, 2010

    Hello linda please may I ask for a bit of help my mother in-law is 85 and not doing well to try and cheer her up I have been fixing trying to fix up her garden mainly roses anyway in most cases I have fixed all the plants blooming well anyway I bought a couple of new colours for variety anyway I bought a burnt orange colour its a hybrid tea rose it took of great after about a month it had to new shoots on it about a foot long suddenly they just drooped over within a week they where dead 2 weeks later the whole plant was dead if I did not know better I would swear someone poisoned it but usally even weeds take longer to die after poisoning anyway I thought maybe a crook plant i am not much at gardening but learning very quickly so I bought another one put it in the same spot went good for a couple of weeks now its going down hill to soil is ok and rose bushes about 18 inches /2 feet either side are fine any idea the leaves are turning yellow but the weidest thing is 2 flowers bloomed fantastic then three other large buds drooped over like someone shot it and its dying fast HELP
    p.s could it be from cats peeing on it as there was some little diggings around the first one

    cheers glenn love your site read everything there please help if you have the time just want to give her a bit of quality in her life if I can she is a good old stick deserves better from her own kids gets nothing

  18. admin on December 13th, 2010

    Hi Glenn
    Good for you that you are trying to cheer up your mother in law by tending the garden for her. In regards to the sickly rose, it could be from a number of causes. If as you say the soil is scratched around maybe cats have been peeing in that area, and it’s made the soil really acidic from the urine over a period of time. Maybe the soil is what they call “rose sick”. If a rose grew in that spot for a number of years before you put the new one in, the soil could be what is known as “rose sick” and any roses planted into the same soil won’t thrive. Did you add any manures or compost into the planting hole before planting? If so, what type? If fresh manure was used that can burn the roots or if too much fertiliser was used around the rose that could cause the plant to die as well, especially if it was a bare root rose. If this rose dies, I wouldn’t replace it with another one in that particular spot as there’s obviously something not quite right with the soil there. I doubt it’s a pest or disease problem affecting the above ground parts of the plant as you would be seeing the other roses next to it displaying the same symptoms. I think it’s to do with the soil itself.

  19. glenn franks on December 14th, 2010

    Hi Linda Thanks for your help darling muchly
    appreciated my son and I went around and moved it early this morning hopefully to save it only time will tell mum has now told me she thinks that corner has a concrete block about 18 inches or so down so it could be drainage as the soil was very wet and we have had a lot of rain out western sydney anyway I will let you know what happens and thanks so much for your help I just got stung by something in my garden so the hand is throbbing a bit I will talk to you later cheers Glenn

  20. Warren on June 28th, 2011

    I want to know if Roses will grow roots if left in a vase of water? Will Roses stay alive in avase of water and grow roots? Is that possible?
    Can you help me find out and explain! Or where can I learn about if a roses is pruned how to grow roots from it.

    Thank you,

    Warren Saunderson

  21. admin on June 28th, 2011

    Hi Warren
    I have never seen roses root from standing in water, however if you want to try your hand at growing roses from cuttings, I discuss this in an answer I gave in another comment, here. Just Scroll down to the date of October 8th 2010.

  22. David on August 31st, 2011

    Hi Linda, I’m in Sydney and about to move into a west facing apartment, where the balcony has moveable louvres to control the sun. I’d love to try and get some potted roses happening on the balcony, but my sister (who is blessed with an enormous north facing garden)reckons I’m doomed and should stick to succulents and mother-in-law’s tongue. What do you think, are roses in pots on a west facing balcony a lost cause?

  23. admin on August 31st, 2011

    Hi David
    Some of the miniature roses might work out on your balcony. Though roses do need around 5 hours of sun a day, see if you can manoeuvre the louvres so the rose gets the maximum amount possible. If it was me, I’d just buy one rose and see how it does on the balcony. If it doesn’t do well there you can always give it to your sister. If it does do well there then you can buy a few more. Here’s a link to some miniature roses to give you an idea of what’s available. I’ve also got a list of roses that are described as having partial shade tolerance here, just in case you can’t manouvre those louvres to get maximum sun to them. From that list you could try “The Fairy” in a pot. Good luck

  24. Norm on September 21st, 2011

    Hi Linda
    I live in a coastal area in southern Victoria.
    I wouls like to plant some standard roses (Mr Lincoln and Just Joey). They would be in large pots on a patio with full sun for approx 8 hours per day. Do you think they will grow ok?

  25. Susan on September 30th, 2011

    I live in Wisconsin zone 4/5. I bought some Knock Out roses on sale and haven’t been able to plant them do to a large amount of rainfall lately. It is almost October 1. Is it to late to plant them?

    If so, how can I keep them alive until next spring?

  26. admin on October 5th, 2011

    Hi Norm
    Standard roses grow quite well in large pots however if they are going to be in 8 hours of sun every day be sure to keep the water up to them on a regular basis. Roses in pots can easily dry out in hot weather, and I know that Victoria gets it’s fair share of extremely hot days over summer, so just be mindful of that. They will also need feeding more often as the nutrients can be leached out of the pot because they are watered more often. I feed my potted roses once a fortnight with a fertiliser that I prepare in a watering can using only half of the recommended amount of fertiliser. eg if the dosage rate is 1 tbspn of fertiliser to a full watering can, I use only half a tbspn to a full watering can. I also mix some liquid seaweed into the watering can but again only at half the recommended rate, and be sure to water your potted roses before fertilising them. Also seeing you live in a coastal area don’t put them in a position where they will be exposed to a lot of wind.

  27. admin on October 5th, 2011

    Hi Susan
    I think I’d play it safe and not plant them in the ground. You could keep them alive until next spring by leaving them in their pots and keeping them in a protected indoors area like your garage.

  28. hannah on November 7th, 2011

    hi, i bought some rose seeds, when do i plant them? do i have to do anything special to the seeds?
    i live on the qld coast.
    i havent grown roses before so i dont want to stuff it up.

  29. admin on November 7th, 2011

    Hi Hannah
    I have never grown roses from seed, not many people do these days besides rose breeders, however I did some research and found this article from the Gardening Australia website where a rose breeder discusses how he grows roses from seed.

  30. Ever Luizaga on March 18th, 2012


    I read in your prior messages instructions on how to name a rose for a loved one but could not figure out the country code or area code. Any chance you can specifiy for me. I live in the US and will be calling from here. THanks so much.


  31. admin on March 18th, 2012

    Hi Ever
    I can’t say for sure what the code is. I know it starts with +61 but I think you have to add another number to that. Your best bet is to phone your telephone exchange and ask them the international code. Also for the US, I would ask the American Rose Society about what nurseries in the US do this. You can contact them on (800) 637-6534 or (318) 938-5402. Their mailing address is PO Box 30,000 Shreveport, LA 71130.

  32. Eleanor Dean on June 12th, 2012

    Hi Linda I live I live in Cork In Ireland and I love my garden. I grow all sorts of flowers,but I love my roses the most. Thank you for the tips I have got from you.Wishing you the best. Eleanor Dean.

  33. admin on June 12th, 2012

    Hi Eleanor
    thanks for the kind words, and it’s great to hear you get so much joy from your garden. I hope to visit Ireland one day, the scenery and gardens there look breathtaking.

  34. Bonnie on September 2nd, 2012

    I have heard that banana skins are a good organic fertilizer that has many benefits for rose gardening. Is that true? If so, how does one use them? Should they be cut and dried? Should they be buried in the soil around the rose plants? What are some general guidelines about using banana skins?

  35. admin on September 4th, 2012

    Hi Bonnie
    Banana skins are a good source of potassium and add organic matter to the soil. Some people cut up banana skins and dry them in the oven; others just bury the peel (whole or cut into pieces) under the mulch around their roses. Either way they are great to use around your roses.

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