“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”


As the year closes and mid-summer moves on, the garden roses need some care and attention if you want the blooms to continue into Autumn. Water is the number one essential ingredient in summer for roses. They are reasonably drought tolerant unless not completely established yet, but roses will not thrive and flourish without a weekly deep soak. The rose garden bed needs to be well-drained so that the roses are not sitting in waterlogged soil.

With so much dry, hot and windy weather this season and low to nonexistent rainfall, all roses will need extra water. Wagner’s recommends 15 litres of water early in the morning before sunrise to each rose bush’s root system at least once a week. Water all at once in high summer and consider any rainfall as an extra. If your rose garden is in a scorching dry region, it may need to be watered even more often, but deep, thorough watering is preferable to a light sprinkle.

Bucket watering system

  • Put 3-4 holes in the bottom of a large bucket 10-15 litres
  •  Fill with plain water push aside any mulch, place the bucket directly next to your rose with the bottom touching the soil.
  •  Allow to completely drain.
  • The rose will get a good deep soak that reaches the very bottom of the root system.



Rosarians recommend as well, to water twice a week with some seaweed solution. Although this is a time-consuming task, the plants respond well. I use eco-seaweed a broad spectrum fertiliser rich in trace minerals like magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron and nitrogen plus hormones to stimulate plant growth. Seaweed is also high in carbohydrates and antioxidants that will help build new growth in your plants. And one of the main benefits is that watering with seaweed solution will help plants deal with environmental stress – cold, frost, wind, heat, disease and drought or dry conditions. The seaweed solution will improve the thickness of plant cell walls and make them more resistant.

The hormones in liquid seaweed solutions are auxins, cytokinins, betaines and gibberellins that provide growth signals to plants that aid in their development. The Auxins main function is to boost balanced growth in plants. Cytokinins initiate and activate plant growth and will help roses to defy damage from frost when used regularly. The Betaines have a role in the osmotic processes in plants and will help increase the water uptake in roses (or other plants) so are very beneficial in dry conditions and for plants under stress. Lastly, Gibberellins will regulate plant processes like stem elongation, germination, dormancy, flowering, flower development, and leaf and fruit aging. 

Browned off roses in centre ready to deadhead


Deadheading is the next essential task for Summer rose care. The sooner you deadhead, the sooner a new bloom will appear. It takes approximately 56 days for a rose to rebloom. Not keen on deadheading roses? Flowering will stop if not deadheaded, and if the blooms are pollinated, then a hip will develop below the flower and produce seeds. This hip will produce a hormone that inhibits bud formation, and the rose will wait for the next season to bloom again.

“I’m tired of hearing so much about maintenance-free gardens. If you aren’t going to get out there and live with it, including take care of it, then what’s the point of gardening anyway?”

Pamela Lord

Top Up Mulch

IIn midsummer gardens need, especially in dry, hot conditions, a top-up to the mulch you laid down in Spring. Check the mulch is still acting as a weed suppressant and protecting the roses from heat and dry weather. These are the recommended mulches for roses from Wagners

  • Sugar Cane mulch
  • Mushroom compost
  • Garden Compost
  • Sheep Dags and aged Sheep Manure
  • Whoflungdung by Neutrog
Rain gauge to test moisture levels

Summer Trim

Although pruning is usually done in winter it is still worthwhile to cut some roses back in Summer. This will increase the late-season bloom. The best time for summer pruning is after a flush of flowers have finished. A summer trim means deadheading, removing dead wood, and then shaping the bush.

I love to prune my roses. That’s the one thing I really feel I do pretty well. Other things I usually, because I travel so much, leave to my gardeners who know what I love. But I do love to prune them, because you forget everything else. It’s like if you’re a painter, you can forget everything else while you’re doing it. 

Julie Andrews

Organic Spray

Diana Sargent from Silkies Rose Farm has a comprehensive rose management program that is effective and environmentally safe. To 10 litres of water add the following

  • A small scoop of seaweed solution like Eco seaweed
  • A 1/4 cup of Eco Rose or Eco fungicide
  • A 1/4 cup Eco Oil
  • 20 mls Eco Neem if in need of intense insect control
  • 50 mls Eco Aminogro

Mix all together between 3 buckets then add to a spray unit or watering can.

Or use 3 products in each spray unit. If insect levels are high, use ECO-OIL, ECO-NEEM and ECO-SEAWEED. If your roses require a boost of foliage fertilizer, use ECO-SEAWEED, ECO-AMINOGRO and ECO-OIL They also recommend

  • If fungus is out of control, use ECO-ROSE (FUNGICIDE), ECO-SEAWEED and ECO-OIL.
  • ECO-OIL is used in all spray applications but the quantity can be reduced by half during sunny weather
  • Do not spray when the temperatures are over 28 degrees
  • Spray this solution over foliage to run-off no less than once a month or more frequently at critical periods of the season or if pests and disease are evident.
  • Try to avoid spraying the rose blooms because the products will mark them.

Title quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, from The Little Prince

All content Di Baker with thanks to Silkies Rose Farm, Wagners Roses, Treloars roses and Rose Society Of Nsw

All images Unsplash with the exception of

The header image ‘Pierre de Ronsard Rose’ and the ‘Statue and roses ready to deadhead 2019 Italy’ by Di Baker

Antique Water Pump from Fine art America

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