Tips for Growing Roses

Protecting Roses from Pests and Disease

Some types of roses are more disease-resistant than others, but there are steps you can take for all roses to avoid pests and disease. Read on for tips.

Shrub roses are easier to maintain and are more resistant to disease.
Shrub roses are easier to maintain
and are more resistant to disease.

  • Choose shrub roses over hybrid tea roses for low maintenance and disease resistance. Look for the following brands of high-quality shrub roses: David Austin English roses (from England), Town and Country Roses (from Denmark), Meidiland Romantica roses (from France), rugosa roses (developed from Oriental Rosa rugosa), and Explorer roses (extra-hardy hybrids from Ottawa Experiment Station in Canada).

  • Take good care of your roses so they will stay pest- and disease-resistant. Roses can be susceptible to a wide variety of problems, especially if they are growing weakly. Make sure they have well-drained, fertile soil. Water roses during dry weather and mulch them to conserve moisture. Prune to ensure each cane receives sun and good air circulation. With this kind of treatment, problems will be few and far between.

  • Control black spot by planning ahead. Black spot, which marks leaves with black spots and then kills them, can spread up the plant and cause complete defoliation. Its damage is not pretty! But it can be avoided. Buy disease-resistant roses, including many of the landscape roses, polyantha roses such as 'The Fairy,' and even disease-resistant hybrid tea roses like 'Olympiad.' Sprays with baking soda can prevent black spot infection. Even disease-resistant shrub roses can benefit from this in extra-humid or wet weather.

  • Rake up and destroy any leaves infested with black spot. This helps eliminate spores that would otherwise reinfect healthy leaves.

  • Plant around rose bushes with low or medium-height fragrant herbs such as mints, sweet marjoram, oregano, thyme, bush basil, and German chamomile. These herbs provide an attractive cover for the barren bases of many roses and release an odor that can screen the plant from rose-eating pests. They will also provide a nice harvest for the kitchen. Forget about eating the herbs, however, if you spray the rose with chemicals unsuited for edible plants.

Although hardier roses have recently been bred to avoid some of the problems associated with this flower, you'll still want to be mindful of the basic care tips offered in this article to ensure those beautiful blooms come back again and again.

Improved Cultivars of Disease-
Resistant Rugosa Roses
Use these roses to help prevent disease:
  • 'Blanc Double de Coubert'
  • 'Fru Dagmar Hastrup'
  • 'Linda Campbell'
  • 'Topaz Jewel'
  • 'Alba'

Want more gardening tips? Try:

  • Gardening Tips: Learn helpful hints for all of your gardening needs.
  • Annuals: Plant these beauties in your garden.
  • Perennials: Choose great plants that will return year after year.
  • Gardening: Discover how to garden.