Roses FAQ



Q.  Can I shift a rose at any time of the year?
A.  Yes, particularly if care is taken to follow this procedure:
* Heavily prune the rose leaving newest 45cm canes – if a climbing rose, canes can be up to 1mt in length
* Dig the rose with a sharp shovel – roots should be trimmed to fit pot or prepared new planting hole
* For potting:  use a 50cm tub and premium potting mix
For planting:  ½ mt x ½ mt rough hole forking root penetration holes in sides, compost and soil backfill
Complete the shift by applying Natrakelp Liquid Seaweed immediately then weekly for the first six weeks using a watering can with a sprinkler (rose) all over the plant – we guarantee success using this method!

Q.  Can I dig around the rose bushes?
A.  Never, ever dig around your rose bushes – if you have an invasive weed problem, dig the rose out completely, remove the weed and replant later.   A well mulched rose garden should not ever need to be dug and digging close to roses can cause the root stock to become active and start growing.

Q.  Can I plant a new rose in the same location as one I recently dug out?
A.  Yes, you can!  However, it is very, very important to rejuvenate the soil prior to planting the new rose.  If you have time to let the soil take a spell for 6-8 weeks, that is ideal.  In the event that isn’t possible, take at least four heaped shovels of soil out of the hole and place on the compost heap.  Place another four shovels of soil from the hole into the wheelbarrow and mix in compost and rockdust (Rose Marvel is great if you don’t make your own compost).  Fork the base and side wall of the planting hole and start replanting your new rose as per the rose planting instructions.

Q.  When should I prune my roses?
A.  Depending on where you live!  Most cities and towns are warm enough to start pruning in the early Winter weeks of June.  Cooler zones might wait until late July-mid August.  In the very cold zones (like here at Silkies Rose Farm, Clonbinane) we can get severe frost to minus 5 three nights in a row late October;  this will damage new growth on early pruned roses (while the Clematis laugh at it!!!).   We do year-round moderate pruning in some beds.
We are currently conducting rose pruning trials where the roses will not be heavily pruned until late Summer-early Autumn to reduce frost damage – stay posted for updates!

Q.  How often and what should I feed my roses?
A.  A half-handful of high quality complete organic fertilizer every 8-12 weeks and regular doses of ‘Natrakelp’ Liquid Seaweed whenever you get the urge but no less than once a month!

Q.  How much water do the roses need?
A.  Regular, consistent watering reduces plant stress and therefore, an automatic watering system which delivers 20 litres per plant per week is ideal.  If you are handwatering roses in the rose garden, count to 20 (slowly) while holding the hose at the base of each rose and you’ll get about 20litres per rose bush pretty accurately – doing it regularly is the key!!  Roses in pots require daily watering!  NEVER water your roses in the evening – the rose leaves stay wet overnight and create fungus problems.

Q.  I live in a unit and want to grow roses … how?
A.  Locate a sunny position on the balcony or in the courtyard;  roses will flourish with morning sun in preference to hot afternoon sun;  purchase self-watering pots 50-60cms diameter – Greensmart Pots are ideal because you could plant two roses per pot and have room for seedling flowers as well!  Always purchase top quality potting mix and with regular feeding and applications of ‘Natrakelp’ liquid seaweed, your potted roses will give you enormous pleasure for many years!  Root-trim and re-pot every couple of years into fresh potting mix.

Q.  What plants can I grow around the roses?
A.  Any number of varieties of annuals and perennials will enhance your rose garden planting.  To discourage pests, many people plant garlic and other herbs – if flowers are your thing, a border of catmint, lavender or rosemary add to the fragrance of the rose garden.  In the rose garden below the front verandah I grow lilliums, anemones, penstemons, catmint, calendular, daffodils & jonquils, rock cyclamen, grannies bonnets,  silverbeet, a clump of daylilies, love-in-a-mist, an Italian parsley border and other ‘stuff’ I don’t know the name of but have nurtured since we took over this garden 13 years ago!  Guess what, there’s still room for weeds!!!
Back on topic … the most important thing to remember about growing any type of other plants in your rose garden is to allow good air circulation around the roses by keeping all the other plants trimmed.

Q.  I only have three hours of sunshine – which rose can I grow there?
A.  We unequivocally will not sell you a rose for that site!  Roses require no less than 5 hours of direct sunshine every day – roses will stress without the sun and never reach their full potential – find a shade-tolerant plant for this location in your garden!

Q.  Can you please show me the thornless roses?
A.  The ‘Iceberg’ series of roses are almost thornless, ‘The Children’s Rose’ and ‘Firefighter’ have thornless flowering stems and the beautiful climbers:  Renae, Crepuscule, Pinkie, Zepherine Drouhin and Mme Alfred Carriere are pretty much thornless.  I usually recommend that gardeners should wear protective gloves when managing the roses and from experience, don’t worry about the little people, they soon work out that not all pretty things should be touched and when the ball goes into the rose bushes, they’ll call DAD … he’ll call MUM!

Q.  How do I plant climbing roses along the fence/shed as a screen?
A.  Climbing roses are an ideal screening plant which, once established, require very little maintenance.  Some climbing roses are more suited to this situation so we therefore recommend consultation before you plant.  Consideration should also be given to the ongoing maintenance of the structure against which the climbing rose will be placed and therefore, constructing a ‘frame’ of ‘star posts’ with reinforcing mesh slightly away from the structure will not only allow good airflow around the climbing roses but allow space for ongoing maintenance of the fence or shed.

Q.  Which roses are suitable to grow as a hedge?
A.  There are so many questions within the answer!  How tall/short?  How wide/narrow?  Mass colour display/picking roses?  One colour/varieties?  With the modern shrub roses, gardeners now have a choice of roses which are suited to hedgerow planting – you decide the colour, specify the height and width and we’ll supply the exact variety to match your specifications and you really should appoint qualified consulting rosarians when choosing the right rose for your individual situation – remember, this rose hedge will be enjoyed by many for more than thirty years!

Q.  Why do Silkies Rose Farm guarantee their roses?
A.  Because we grow the highest quality roses and there is no substitute for quality and a 100% guarantee when you continue to grow the roses to our specifications … Our grower, Brian, doesn’t grow a “sow’s ear and turn it into a silk purse”, he grows the silk purse of roses!  We have been growing roses for 30 years and we take the time to offer you advice, consultation and supreme service!  Take a quick look at our genuine customer testimonials and you can be sure, when you buy our roses, you’ll enjoy the experience!!!

Q.  How do I take cuttings of my roses?
A.  If you have a bit of a ‘green thumb’ and like to be creative in the garden, you’ll enjoy the novelty of taking cuttings of your roses.  Here’s how to:
* Cut a rose cane where the flowers are finished but where the buds have not broken into new growth;
*  Trim pencil-thick 20cm lengths and remove foliage;
* Dip cuttings into hormone powder/honey/vegemite or nothing and push into soil/potting mix;
* Water in with Natrakelp liquid seaweed and depending on weather conditions, light water daily;
From my experience, most cuttings die from either under or over-watering since it’s a very fine line and a mini hot-house is ideal to grow cuttings but then disease problems can be an issue.  Have a go anyway and share your cutting-grown roses with family and friends – take care not to sell them at the local school fete because they might be covered by Plant Breeders Rights or Trademark which means they are illegal to sell without the plant tag since the breeder is entitled to a royalty payment for every plant sold!!!

Q.  Why do Silkies roses perform better than other roses I have in my garden?
A.  Believe it or not, this is a very, very common question from our customers!  Our roses are grown and maintained using the highest quality organic products made in Australia and we (Graham mostly!) are always researching newer and better ways to enhance our growing methods.  When you follow our growing instructions you too will grow beautiful roses, organically, naturally!

Q.  What is the best mulch to use around roses?
A.  The highest quality mulch is definitely lucerne which comes with a price tag to match!  Next in line is pea straw which can come with peas to match!  Both lucerne and pea straw are legumes and nitrogen-fixing which means that when they break down in your soil, they add humus to the soil and are highly recommended, especially when establishing a ‘new’ garden.  Should the cost of lucerne/pea straw inhibit you from using them liberally, we suggest that they be used only around the drip-line of the rose bushes and any of the other mulch products be spread over the whole of the garden bed.

6 Replies to “Roses FAQ”

  1. Reading about mulch and also about not digging around roses, I have mushroom compost around most of my new roses. Is this ok instead of lucerne? Also I just dug wide deep holes for each rose and planted in mushroom compost or black magic compost and was going to weed around them as needed. Should I cover whole area where roses are with lucerne or mushroom compost to suffocate weeds rather than digging them out?


  2. Also, I have a standard Eden /PDR in a large self watering pot that I want to grow around a veranda post then horizontally along veranda either side of post. Can I do this or are canes going to be too stiff? Will it work only as a pillar rose around the post?


  3. I’ve seen some people when planting new bare rooted roses cut back the stems above roots by two thirds before planting. I didn’t do this. Should I do so now 2-3 weeks since planting? Seems ruthless but if it’ll give me a stronger healthier bush perhaps I better snip away?!?

    1. Definitely the way to go and yes, if you didn’t do it when you planted your new roses, just do it NOW and yes, they will produce the most amazingly sturdy watershoots which will become the branches of your new roses which carry masses of flowers! Enjoy … Diana

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