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 Queensland Growing Tips

Click here to download our Guide to Growing Better Roses


The rose bed should be prepared at least several months before planting time. It should be in a sunny spot and have good drainage. Make a test hole and fill with water to see how long water takes to drain away. If it drains very slowly, you have a drainage problem to overcome. Either select a better spot or temporarily remove the top soil and dig deep channels in the subsoil and insert porous pipes or coarse material. Make certain of a lower outlet for these channels and build up the bed with good soil at least 20 cm above the present level. It's no good just digging a hole in tight clay soil and planting a rose in it. Most virgin soils here (coastal areas) are rather acid (around PH 5.0). To correct this (to 6.5 - 7.5) plenty of Dolomite should be mixed in deeply as well as large quantities of manure and/or whatever compost is obtainable. Some Rosarians also have found that adding agricultural gypsum is beneficial, especially in heavy soils, and it also helps moisture retention in light soils.


Bare root roses (winter months): Spread the roots over a cone-shaped mound formed in the bottom of the planting hole, which should be large enough to accommodate the roots without their being bent. Very long roots may be trimmed to fit the hole. The mound's height should be adjusted so that the union of scion and rootstock is level with the bed's surface. Partly fill the hole to within about 5cm, pressing the soil in firmly to exclude air bubbles. Fill the rest of the hole with water and allow to drain, then completely fill with soil. Do not apply  fertilizer at planting time. New plants may be fertilized after they have started strong growth.

Roses in pots (almost any time): Don't break the rootball if planting out in warm to hot weather and keep watering it as a pot plant until it breaks into strong growth. In cool weather carefully tease out the roots to straighten them if they have coiled and plant out like a bare root rose. Try to avoid mixing roses with other major plants - they don't like competition.

FERTILIZING. Always thoroughly water the bed before applying fertilizer. Apply a balanced rose fertilizer about 2 months after planting (scatter a small handful) and a little lightly scratched in at frequent intervals thereafter, rather than a lot at once is preferable. Don't cultivate deeper than 5 cm lest you damage the topmost hair-fine feeding roots. Lightly water in after application. Don't fertilize mid- November to mid-January

GENERAL CULTURE. Watering is very important. A good soak (check for good deep penetration of the water) twice a week is much better than a little every day. Keep the beds well mulched. Regularly remove spent blooms or cut flowers 5 mm above a healthy leaf node (pointing outward) on the flowering stem to promote quality regrowth and constant supplies of blooms. Remove any dead or diseased wood during the flowering season, when noticed, to  keep the plants tidy. Supplement the spray mixture with foliar fertilizer and, occasionally, Epsom Salts. Stake strong new basal growth until it has hardened, lest it be broken off by wind or weight of rain.

DISEASE AND PEST CONTROL. Roses will not give of their best unless the foliage is kept healthy. Regular and complete spraying (don't forget the underside of leaves) at suitable intervals with approved materials is the main secret of success with roses.

SMALL GARDENS: The general purpose rose combinations sold at nurseries and supermarkets are quite satisfactory.

LARGE GARDENS: for economy, generally the following are used (mixed):


Fungicides:            Black Spot. Mancozeb (Dithane M45) or Triforine or Copper Spray

Powdery Mildew. Wettable Sulphur or Triforine or Nimrod

                    Downey Mildew. Fonigard


                    Botrytis on Petal. Mancozeb

 Insecticides General Pests (caterpillars, grasshoppers, grubs, bugs). Carbaryl

Aphids (when they appear). Pyrethrum or Malathon

Red Spider Mites (very damaging to foliage if left unchecked). Omite under leaves or alternatively biological control of mites can be achieved with Predatory Mites, obtainable from Bio-Protection P/L, ,PO Box 35, Warwick, Q. 4370. Phone (07) 4666-1592. If Predatory Mites are used, it is important to use sprays that are not toxic to them.

White Scale (another serious pest). Apply Pest Oil after pruning, or hose or scrub off with a long bristle brush, taking care not to damage eyes/shoots during the growing season.

Other Scales. Scrub or hose off - whatever works best. Mix a few drops only of wetting agent in spray to enable it to stick to foliage.


Mixture of:        Mancozeb, Sulphur and an insecticide

            OR        Triforine and an insecticide


Seasol, Fish & Kelp, Flourish, Powerfeed


Rose Care the Natural Way

Alternate every 2 weeks, DILUTE EACH FIRST – Do not mix concentrates together before diluting, always add Silica last

Start:         10ml Charlie Carp to 1 litre of water with 5ml Neem in 1 litre of water

Alternate:  10ML Seaweed/Kelp to 1 litre of water and 5ml Silica to 1 litre of water

Use ‘plant care’ every 6 Weeks – or as needed

For black spot add 21 grams of FULL CREAM Powdered Milk to 6 litres of water

or best results start spraying straight away or as soon as you plant your roses


Consulting Rosarians


If you need help with your roses, please feel free to call one of our experts below.



Tony Stallwood

Mob: 0438 463 971









Otherwise email or write to us


GPO Box 1866

Brisbane Qld 4001






2009 The Queensland Rose Society Inc, created by Paul Hains
This website may suggest some controls for pests and diseases. This does not mean endorsement of a particular company’s product. The suggestions are a intended as a guide only and the choice or controls is yours. The information is gained from sources we deem reliable. However, we cannot guarantee its accuracy, and interested persons should rely on their own enquiries.