Roses need a sunny position, with at least 6 hours per day. They also need good drainage, and plenty of organic matter in the soil. To minimise the risk of fungal diseases, ensure that there is plenty of airflow around the roses – they don’t like to be crowded out by other plants.
To plant a bare-rooted rose, dig a nice wide hole that will easily accommodate the roots without bending them. Add some well-rotted compost or manure to the soil. Form a mound in the bottom of the planting hole, and spread the roots over the mound. Adjust the height of the mound so that the grafting point is level with the soil surface. Fill the hole with soil and drench with seaweed solution to stimulate root development.
According to the Queensland Rose Society, you should then not water for 2 weeks.
Roses are heavy feeders, so fertilise frequently throughout the year. A little bit often is better than lots all at once. Use an organic complete rose food, cow manure, Searles 5 in 1, or Healthy Earth fertiliser.
Spray fortnightly with a liquid seaweed fertiliser to help prevent fungal diseases.
Roses are pretty drought tolerant. As with many plants, a deep watering once a week is better than a light sprinkle every day, because it will force the roots down into the soil.
Don’t go digging too much around your rose bushes – any deeper than 5cm may cause damage to the top-most roots.
Pruning can seem a bit daunting, but it’s really easy. Cut flowers or remove spent blooms 5mm above an outward facing leaf node to promote more flowers. Remove any dead or diseased wood whenever you notice it.
Spray with certified organic Eco-Rose to control powdery mildew and black spot if required. Aphids find the soft new shoots and buds particularly attractive. Blast them off with a hose, or squash them, or spray with Eco-Oil. Plant some ladybird attracting plants such as yarrow nearby, because these babies can eat prodigious numbers of aphids.
Good companion plants for roses include chives, marigold, scented geraniums, parsley and thyme, which may help ward off aphids. Lavender, sage and catmint are also beneficial. Plant companions at least 30cm away from the roses so that you don’t disturb their roots. Make sure you only plant low growing things close to the plants, and keep the taller things further away.