These plants are a fan favourite in UK gardens. Their recognisable blooms and scent are a wonderful feature in any garden, and also make beautiful cut flowers. Find out the answers to Google’s most-asked-questions about Roses.

What are the different rose types?

The different types of rose include Climbing, Bush, Rambling, Groundcover, Shrub, or Standard rose. Within these types, you will also find Polyantha, Gallica, Damask, Alba, Floribunda, Centifolia, and Hybrid Teas.

Pink climbing rose


Red Bush rose


Pink rambling rose


Yellow groundcover rose


Pink shrub rose


White standard rose


How many varieties of roses are there?

Unsurprisingly, due to its popularity, there are over 30,000 different rose varieties! And this might be down to how old they are. Thanks to recent fossil discoveries, we now know that roses are at least 35 million years old!

How tall do they grow?

This wholly depends on the type of rose you are growing. Bush roses, for example, are likely to grow to approximately 60cm tall. Stem roses are more likely to reach heights of 1.5 metres. Climbing roses are the tallest possible variety, and can grow to over 2.5 metres, which is pretty impressive.

What rose types like full sun?

As a general rule, roses absolutely love the sun. Most varieties thrive best in full-sun conditions. There are some varieties that have been bred to cope in  partial shade, so look out for those if you have a shadier garden. However, a good rule of thumb is to stick to a sunny spot if you can.

Where do you plant them?

As I have already said, roses love a spot with full sun so aim to plant there if you can. If you have a partially shaded garden, there are a few varieties that will tolerate shade, so look out for those.

Depending on which rose you’re growing, they can be planted in either containers, or the ground.

If you are growing in containers, the best type to choose are patio roses. They have a smaller growing habit, and don’t need a lot of space!

They aren’t too fussy with soil either, but the best type to aim for is loam. Because loam soil gives the roots the best amount of moisture.

How do you train roses?

Climbing roses can be trained to grow up whichever support structure you would like it to grow on. The best way to train it is using supports like garden twine, or Flexi-Tie. These help the rose to climb, and support it well so that it doesn’t break.

Training a climbing rose

How do you grow roses?

Plant your roses somewhere with a lot of sun, they love it! Use rich, well-drained soil for plenty of nutrients and low risk of waterlogging.

Prune them annually, and deadhead to boost their flowering.

For the first few years after being planted, water your roses regularly. This will help the roots to establish well.

Also, feed them twice a year. Do this around March or April time, before they flower. And then again in mid-summer, after they finish their first flush of flowers.

Container roses need slightly different feeding treatment. Do this once a fortnight from mid-spring to late summer.

Liquid plant food is ideal for roses, and guarantees the roses are well fed.

To find out more about how best to grow roses, see my rose calendar.

How do you plant them?

In the planting area, mix at least 1 bucket of well-rotted organic matter per squared-metre. Fork this into the top 20-30 cm of soil. Then apply a general fertiliser over the surface.

For each rose being planted, dig a hole twice the width of the plants roots, and the depth of a spade’s blade.

Then, gently tease the roots out of the container. This is because if you don’t, they may not extend outwards well.

Place your rose in the centre of the hole you’ve made, and make sure the graft union is at soil level. This is where the cultivator has joined the root stock of the plant.

Back-fill the hole gently with your excavated soil, and organic matter mixture.

well-rotted organic matter
digging a hole a spade's depth

Which soil is best for roses?

Most roses aren’t particularly fussy about the type of soil they are growing in. It is always good practice to prepare the soil with fresh compost, however, to guarantee healthier roses long-term.

Roses like a balanced soil. If it contains too much clay, the roots can get waterlogged. If it is too sandy, they will struggle to retain water.

Dig in plenty of organic matter, as this will help to improve your soil structure as well as provide nutrients.

How do you propagate them?

There are a couple of methods. The easiest way is softwood stem-tip cuttings, which can be taken in early to mid-spring. You can root these in pots without much difficulty.

Hardwood cuttings are a little slower, but also effective. It is best to do this from mid-autumn to late winter.

There are some other, more complicated methods too. These include T-budding, suckers, and layering. These are quite tricky, and not commonly used by home gardeners, more often for professional use.

Softwood cutting
Hardwood cutting rose

How do you grow roses from cuttings?

Softwood stem-tip cuttings can be grown from early to mid spring. Take cuttings from the year’s new shoots and plant them in pots. They should have started to root within 2 months. Your softwood cuttings should be ready to transplant into the garden after about a year.

Hardwood cuttings take a little more time, and should be taken in mid-autumn to late winter. The roots take much longer to establish with hardwood cuttings.

Why are my rose cuttings dying?

There are several potential causes that may lead to your rose cuttings dying.

This may be totally dependent on your chosen growing method. Transplanting them out into the garden may mean they struggle to establish as they’re still vulnerable. They also require constant moisture, so not maintaining this may cause the cutting to struggle.

Rose cuttings without leaves are unlikely to survive. Because they don’t have any leaves, they won’t be able to photosynthesise effectively.

Other causes may include disease, pest problems, or insufficient fertiliser.

Can you grow cuttings in potatoes?

There are quite a few reports from people using this method to find it unsuccessful, but there is a chance that some cuttings will survive!

The potato itself may grow roots, but these don’t become roots that the rose can make use of.

If you attempt this, aim to use red or white potatoes. Prepare it by drilling a hole into it, but not clear through. You could use a pencil to do this, but it may be a little harder to be precise.

Dip the end of your cutting into some rooting hormone. Then, place your rose cutting into the hole, and plant your potato into the garden. Ensure there is at least 8cm of soil covering it.

Theoretically, the potato has a high water content, so should keep the cutting moist as it roots.


Why is my rose dying?

There are a few potential causes for this, so consider some of the following:

  • Loose planting – if your rose moves when tugged, it may not have been planted in securely enough.
  • Wind-rock – this is caused by wind damage, causing the plant to move around.
  • Waterlogged soil – most likely caused by poor drainage.
  • Severe drought.
  • Severe frost.
  • Use of fresh manure at planting time might overwhelm the plant.
  • Hard pruning – cutting away too much.
  • Dry roots at planting time.
  • Too much lime in the soil.
  • Fatal diseases (such as rust, canker, and honey fungus)
  • Underground pests (including chafer grubs, and ants)
  • Planting under trees could cause dry roots, and overly dense shade.

What are suckers?

Suckers are shoots which grow from the rootstock, rather than the named variety of rose.  These are technically two different things, as named rose varieties are technically like Frankenstein’s monster. They are a combination of a root stock, and a plant which are two different things.

Suckers could easily take over the plant entirely, so remove them as soon as you see them. You can often tell they are different from observing the leaf shape.

What diseases do roses suffer from?

Powdery mildew on rose leaves


Can be identified as a white, powdery mildew on leaves and buds. You will typically notice this in summer or early autumn. This is encouraged by closed-in conditions, dryness at the roots, poor feedings. Or even hot days followed by cold nights.

Rust on a rose's leaves


This is not a common problem in roses, but is likely to be fatal when it strikes. Orange swellings will appear, and turn black in August on the underside of leaves. This will normally happen in July. This is often a result of potash shortage.

Purple spot on rose leaves

Purple spotting

These are small, purple spots, irregular in shape and don’t have a fringe. This is caused by poor growth conditions, but is not as serious as a black spot infection.

Canker on a rose stem


This produces brown and sunken areas near the base of the stem. The edges may be swollen, and the bark cracked. Cut this out of your rose, and burn any affected wood.

Black spot on a rose

Black spot

This is a very common problem with roses. They appear as black spots with yellow fringes, and appear rapidly. Black spot is very visible by July and August. Also, particularly heavy infections will spread to the leaf buds and the stems. This can be encouraged by potash shortage, and warm, wet weather in the summer.

How do you treat black spot?

You can’t cure leaves that have already been infected, but there are ways to minimise the effects and prevent further spread. You could choose to grow rose varieties that have been bred to be black spot resistant.

Planting your roses further apart would reduce the risk of the infection spreading across plants.

Prune your affected roses hard in the spring, as this will remove any shoots and spores that are already diseased.

In small infections, you can remove the affected leaves and dispose of them.

I have a video on treating black spot on my YouTube channel, and a blog on my website for more information.

How and when do you prune roses?

There are slightly different processes, depending on the type of rose you’re pruning:


These need pruning routinely in winter, once the flowers have faded. Aim to do this between December and February. Renovation of the climbing rose should be carried out between late autumn, and late winter. Remove any diseased, dead, or dying branches, and tie in any new shoots needing support. Prune the flowered side shoots back by 2/3 of their length.

Hybrid Tea and Floribunda

These can be pruned in late winter, but months differ depending on which part of the UK you are in. If you are in the south, aim to prune in mid-February. However, if you are in the north, wait until March instead. Cut out any dead, diseased, rubbing, and crossing stems.

Hybrid Tea

Cut back the strongest remaining shoots to within 25-30cm of the soil level. Then, shorten back any less vigorous shoots to 2-4 buds, 5-10 cm from the base.


Cut back the strongest remaining shoots to within 25-30cm of the soil level. Next, prune back any less vigorous shoots less severely.


Aim to do this in Mid-February in southern regions of the UK, and March in the north. Then hard prune any wayward upright growths to within your allocated space. Next, reduce any strong shoots by about 1/3. Finally, shorten side shoots back to 2 or 3 buds each.

When do you transplant them?

This is technically possible at any time of the year. However, it is best for your rose if you wait until your rose is dormant, between late October and February.

Once you have transplanted your rose in, water it well to help it establish.

How do you deadhead roses?

Deadheading roses means removed the faded flowers, which allows the plant to divert energy from rose hip production to producing more flowers.

For repeat-flowerers, take off each flower from the cluster as its petals begin to fall. Try to do this with secateurs, or by pinching out. Once every flower on the cluster has finished, then you can remove the stem.

Alternatively, for single-flowerers, snip off the flowerhead and around 15cm of the stem. Cut just above a strong, healthy leaf.

For a rambling rose, you can prune the flowerheads straight after flowering has finished.

Deadheading a rose

Which roses produce rose hips?

The best roses for rose hips are ramblings roses, and climbing.

Because these rose types produce the largest volume of flowers, they have the highest potential to produce more rose hips than other rose types.

Rose hips, in case you’ve never tried them, are in the same family as apples. They taste much tarter than crab apples when they are eaten raw!

rose hips

There is a rose in any colour or style to suit your garden space. If you have any questions about this or any other plant you want me to do a video on, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and leave a comment below one of my Google Questions videos.

Find out my answers to Google’s most asked questions about Agapanthus:

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