Planting and feeding roses

When to plant your roses
Now — spring to early summer. Because most roses bloom most magnificently in spring, so you can see them in bloom to choose which one you want to buy.
Winter is the time to buy bare root roses, ones that have been dug out of the ground when they are leafless. But you can also buy roses in pots at any time of the year, and plant them. Just remember to keep them moist for a few months after planting, especially if it's very hot, or even give them a temporary shade cloth shelter for a month or two in a very hot climate, till their disturbed roots recover.
What to feed your roses
A good mulch. Lucerne is the classic rose mulch and roses really do brilliantly with it. You can buy bales of lucerne, or much easier, compressed lucerne in various forms.
Sugar cane mulch is also good for roses, as is pea straw, but not tan bark or any mulch that takes ages to break down, as earwigs will love it and then climb up and eat your rose buds. Stick to mulches that break down fairly fast and stay moist, and replace them when they look thin.
Rose tucker: you can buy special rose food, or use a good organic mix like Dynamic Lifter or Charlie Carp or any of a dozen others. I like old hen manure, stuff that's broken down so it doesn't pong and won't burn the roots. A seaweed based foliar fertiliser — one that's applied to the leaves — will also help prevent black spot and help the rose cope with cold and heat too.

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