You Can Do It: Shrub Rose Care

Shrub roses are breath-taking rose bushes that come in all shapes and sizes. “Shrub rose” is often used to describe roses that generally do not fit into any standard rose classification. Many shrub roses are exciting because they have a natural disease resistance and capture the greatest traits of the hardiest rose varieties, and then mingle those qualities with modern continuous-blooming bushes that offer assorted fragrance, color, and flower forms. The ‘Knock Out®’ rose series, for instance, are shrub roses that have become the quintessential flowering landscape shrub because of its non-stop bloom and low maintenance needs. Like grandiflora roses, shrub roses can be good functional tools in the landscape; hiding unsightly utility issues on property while delivering uninterrupted flowering all season. They come in red, white, pink, yellow, orange, and multi-color flowers that bloom in summer.

Shrub Rose Planting

Plant the shrub roses in rich, organic soil that is well drained. Amend soil with rotted manure, compost, and worm castings to improve soil or raise beds if there is a lack of drainage. Some varieties of shrub roses will tolerate a bit of shade, but they prefer full sun. Understanding the mature size and nature of its growth is important when planning the garden so that you will not crowd the shrub. Soak quite deeply after planting, watering several times a week after initial planting.

Mulch the soil with a 2- to 3- inch layer of compost or organic matter. Fertilize with organic rose fertilizer at planting time and in the spring or fall. Shrub roses are hybridized for disease resistance, so they have very little pest or disease problems. Hand pick any Japanese beetles or caterpillars.

Shrub Rose Maintenance

Maintenance issues with shrub roses are primarily related to pruning. Wait until after the first year’s growth to prune back vigorously as it will take longer to recover. Cut dead canes out of the plant in spring. After second- or third-years growth, prune the plant back with a hedge trimmer by 1/3 or as much as 1/2 in early spring to reinvigorate growth.

Essentially, the modern shrub rose is one of the easiest shrubs to plant in the garden and very easy to maintain for homeowners and landscapers alike. Download iScape now and learn how you can place roses in the landscape. Easy, powerful, and fun – iScape it!