Fertilization and irrigation

  • Give lime once a year in the autumn. Before the growing season and after the first blooms, fertilize with an organic slow-release magnesium NPK fertilizer e.g. DCM rose fertilizer or DCM mix 2. Magnesium ensures beautiful glossy leaves.
  • To prevent diseases, ensure optimal growth: sufficient but not too much water and fertilizer, and remove fallen leaves.
  • Irrigate roses moderately but regularly. In summer, water the garden preferably in the morning so that everything dries quickly; in the evening, water only at the base of the plant to prevent leaf mould (at night the plant does not dry quickly enough).
  • Prevent dehydration. Recovery after dehydration is very difficult or even impossible. Replacement is often the only option.
  • No fertilizer should be given after mid-July. The roses then continue growing too long, causing branches to go into winter unripe. It increases the chance of frost damage.
  • The rose varieties sold in Holland and Belgium are rated good to very good on winter resistance. For extra protection, plants can be earthed up in autumn. They can also be covered with old stable manure (horse or cow manure) or compost, which can be dug under later in spring.

Pruning and cleaning

A golden rule in rose cultivation: Pruning ensures flowers and growth! So dare to take up the scissors!

Regular and targeted pruning is important to keep your roses strong and healthy. Only then can you enjoy beautiful new blooms every year.
There are basically two pruning periods: in spring before the shrub starts to sprout and after flowering.

Always prune above a bud that points in the direction in which you want the new branch to grow.

We can divide roses into two groups: once-flowering roses and continuously flowering roses. Once-flowering roses bloom on 2-year-old branches, continuously flowering roses bloom on one-year-old branches. For pruning, this makes a big difference. Large-flowered roses, Floribunda and modern shrub (landscape) roses are almost all continuously flowering, as are most recent climbing roses.


1 Spring pruning

The purpose of spring pruning is twofold: to rejuvenate the bush and to shape the bush. Spring pruning is especially important for continuously flowering roses and differs per rose type.

Shrub roses

Choose up to 4 or 5 strong, preferably annual branches, well distributed throughout the bush. These form the base for the shrub during the next growing season. Then cut all other branches down to the ground.
Next, on strong growers such as large-flowered and Floribunda roses, prune back the remaining branches to 2 to 3 buds and on smaller varieties such as patio and Polyantha roses to 4 to 5 buds.

Continuously flowering landscape roses

In principle, spring pruning is not necessary for landscape roses: they can continue to grow for several years and if they get too big they can be cut back at 15 cm, possibly by machine. This creates a dense vegetation that suppresses weeds well and requires little maintenance, ideal for public greenery, but less suitable for most gardens. Landscape roses can also be treated as common shrub roses and pruned in the manner described above.

Rugosa species can be regarded as continuously flowering landscape roses. They can be pruned annually or whenever they have grown too large for their purpose.

Standard roses

Standard roses are pruned in the same way as shrub roses; choose a maximum of 5 well-spaced strong branches and cut away the rest down to the stem. Prune back the remaining branches to 3 to 5 buds depending on the variety.

Continuously flowering climbing roses

Climbing roses are in fact espalier roses, they do not climb by themselves but have to be tied to, for instance, a climbing frame, rose arch or pergola.
Climbing roses usually need 2 to 3 years to develop a good structure. During spring pruning, secure the strong branches and cut back any side branches to about 2 buds. Remove all weak branches. When a good structure has been formed, tie down the main branches, shorten them if necessary, and cut the side branches back to 2 buds. Tie down strong new branches to replace the older main branches. Make sure that the main branches do not cross each other.

2 Pruning after flowering

The purpose of this pruning is to promote reflowering; the plant does not need to expend energy producing hips. Cut off the spent branch above a bud pointing in the desired direction about halfway down the branch. Thin and diseased branches can also be cut away.
If hips are desired in autumn, the spent flowers should obviously not be removed.


Once-flowering climbing roses

The most important group of once-flowering climbing roses are the Ramblers, very strong growers that flower very profusely once a year. Some – mainly older – varieties climbing roses flower only once a year.
During the first 2 years, the structure grows strong as in the group of continuously flowering climbing roses.

In this group of roses, the main pruning moment is after flowering. The plant can then spend the rest of the year making branches on which a new profusion of flowers appears the following year. Cut off spent branches up to 1 to 2 buds of the main branch. If necessary, secure some strong new ground shoots to replace the old frame branches, and cut off the rest of the ground shoots.

During spring pruning, branches that are too long can be shortened and, if necessary, old frame branches can be removed.

All this is very laborious and difficult to do, especially with Ramblers, because at great heights a lot of flower branches have to be cut away.
An alternative is to cut the shrub into shape with hedge shears and let it grow freely. If too much thin and dead wood develops after a few years, the shrub can be cut back to 15 cm above the ground after flowering. The plant can then make new shoots of several metres on which flowers grow the following year. After 2 years, it will be a full-grown shrub again.
Weeping standard roses (standard roses on which a climbing rose is grafted) usually also flower once only. The most beautiful hanging varieties are once-flowering climbing roses. They are pruned equal to once-flowering climbing roses.

In recent years, continuously flowering Rambler roses have been bred, but they have given up vigour to do so.

Once-flowering landscape roses
Once-flowering landscape roses (wild roses, botanical roses) basically do not need pruning. The hips are an important ornamental feature and the spent flowers should therefore not be removed. For rejuvenation, one or more of the old structural branches can be removed during spring.

In autumn, the branches of shrub roses can be shortened to knee height. This prevents damage, e.g. during heavy snowfall.

Always remove fallen leaves. These may contain spores of pathogenic fungi that can infect new leaves in spring.

If branches emerge from the ground (or from the stem of standard roses) with a different colour and/or shape of leaves, then this is wild growth from the rootstock. These branches should be removed as completely as possible; they hinder the growth of the rose.

Want to learn more about the rose? Visit the Rose Knowledge Centre, part of De Rozenhof, with a substantial library of rose books.
On this website you will find a digital rose encyclopaedia with photos and characteristics of

Op 25 mei is De Rozenhof vanaf 13.30 uur gesloten in verband met een bruiloft.