Growing Roses to Rave About

Growing Roses to Rave About

Roses are such a staple in the garden and one of the most often considered bushes to plant when you want beauty both in the garden and on the table.  Their fragrance is often delightful and their perfect petals are unmatched by any other cut flower.  Roses remind us of so many wonderful things:  love, peace, and friendship, to name a few.

Though roses have several magnificent qualities, they also need adequate care and have specific requirements to ensure that they remain glorious.  Especially in the Pacific Northwest, where we have rain more days than not, it is important to take good care of your rose bushes.  Following are some helpful hints on fertilization, insect and disease control, and pruning to assist you in growing sensational roses.

General Rose Care:


Fertilization is synonymous with production in roses.  Plants must be fed if they are to remain healthy and produce good blooms.  You replenish the nutrients consumed by the plant when you fertilize.  When choosing a rose food, look for a complete plant food with all essential nutrients.  An excellent rose fertilizer is Espoma Rose-Tone 6-6-4.  It is available in 5 lbs. and 25 lbs. bags for your convenience.  Feed established plants monthly from the beginning of the season to the middle of September.  Apply approximately ¾ cup around the base of each plant and scratch it into the top inch of soil.

Pink Roses - Al's Garden and Home in Portland, OR

Insect and Disease Control

It is important to take care of your roses by preventing insect damage and diseases that can destroy your plants.  Fungal diseases are prevalent in our area because of the rainy conditions, so it is a good idea to use a fungicide to prevent mildew, black spot and rust.  An excellent systemic product that tackles both insect and disease control and offers rose food is Bayer 3-in-1.  This fantastic product requires no spraying, but rather is mixed in a water can and then poured on the soil around the base of the rose.  Apply it every six weeks during the growing season for lasting protection.  The entire plant, even the new growth, is fed and protected against insects and disease.


Pruning cuts away the parts of a rose bush which experience has shown to be unproductive, thus throwing all the bush’s strength into satisfactory shoots.  Pruning improves appearance, stimulates growth, and controls the quality and quantity of bloom.  Prune your roses when the buds are swelling or opening at the cane tips but are still dormant lower on the cane.  Generally, mid February until the middle of March is the optimum pruning time in the Willamette Valley. 

Use scissor-type, bypass shears when pruning.  Cut approximately ¼” above a bud eye.  Cutting closer will injure or kill the bud, and cutting farther away will leave a section of dead cane to attract insects and disease spores.  Pruning to an outside bud will force growth outward, opening the center of the bush to sunlight and air circulation.

Right now at Al's is the best time to come in and shop for roses. Beginning of February we have the best selection we will have during the year! An added bonus is that it is an amazing time to plant them to give them a jump start on growing. Stop by any Al's location and see what we have to offer!

Grow some inspiration by shopping our Online Rose Selection


  • Betty Naidis

    Does the Bayer 3 in 1 kill bees if they get pollen from the roses?

  • Jan Lewis Slavid

    Doesn’t Bayer’s 3 in 1 kill bees?

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.