Out in the yard, roses are starting to arrive and are ready for planting! We’ve been getting lots of questions from you all, asking about rose care, and we’re here to help! Roses often get a bad reputation as being tricky, but they’re often much simpler than you’d think.

The most important thing with roses is to plant them in full sun. Roses want to bake, so make sure they’re in a good and sunny spot and not in a place where they’ll get wet. They only need to be watered every third day or so – let them dry out well in between – and make sure they aren’t near a downspout or boggy spot but rather one that is well-drained.

To get your roses started off right, put down some fresh Van Wilgen’s Mulch (available in both bulk and bags!). Apply a three-inch layer of mulch around roses to keep moisture in and keep weeds at bay. You’ll just want to keep mulch three inches from the canes of the rose. You’ll also want to fertilize your roses monthly using a slow-release fertilizer, such as Espoma’s Rose-Tone until about September.

As you start to see blooms, it’s important to deadhead them as the flowers die in order to encourage them to re-bloom.

If you have a known insect or critter problem in your yard, insect control products, as well as deer and/or vole repellents, can be used preemptively. Additionally, as the season progresses, if new disease or insect problems arise, we have a full lineup of products that can treat these issues. Stop by or give us a call and we’ll be happy to help you identify the issue your roses are facing and find you the right solution!

With a little patience and TLC, you’re sure to have beautiful roses that thrive!

stacey tips art 1Roses need a little TLC. I know Van Wilgen’s gardeners are dedicated to giving their plants the very best care and we at Van Wilgen’s are here to help. Let’s start at the very beginning, from the day you bring your new, thorny family member home from Van Wilgen’s. Everyone works hard to keep our roses in tip-top shape so they go happily from our garden to your garden.

TLC Tip #1: Water! Container roses here at Van Wilgen’s are watered every day. You need to do the same, especially if you cannot plant your new rose right away. Once roses are planted in the ground, you need to continue watering. 3X’s per week is a good rule of thumb. Set your hose or soaker hose at the base of the rose at a slow trickle. This will give your roses a deep root soaking. Slow & steady wins the race in the case of watering.

TLC Tip #2: Plant! Plant your rose with Jump Start. Jump Start is an excellent root stimulant. Mixed with water and poured all over the root ball, the high phosphorus and B vitamins in Jump Start push root growth to help your rose establish itself more rapidly and reduce transplant shock. Amend your soil with Van Wilgen’s Premium Planting Mix and we will warranty your rose for 1 year.

TLC Tip #3: Fertilize! Approximately one week after planting your new rose plant, follow up with Rose-Tone by Espoma. It provides your roses with an organic, slow-release feed, they will gobble up. Continue to feed your beautiful roses every month through September.

TLC Tip #4: Mulch! Mulch is marvelous for roses. It helps hold in precious moisture that roses need and keeps weeds from stealing the rose’s nutrients but don’t put the mulch right up to the canes. Give them a little breathing room.

TLC Tip #5: Be Proactive! Bayer All-in-One Rose & Flower Care is the perfect product to use if you want to get ahead of the game. Apply this systemic product to the soil at the base of your roses once every month. It protects your precious roses from diseases such as black spot & powdery mildew, insects such as Japanese beetles & Aphids, and it gives a little burst of fertilizer. Customers love this product and your roses do too.

TLC Tip #6: If you must be reactive…We have many great insect controls and fungicides to take care of common rose problems such as Rose Sawfly & Black Spot. We have great conventional products like Bayer 3-in-1 Insect, Disease & Mite Control. This will knock out Sawfly & Black Spot in one. Copper Fungicide & End All will also be of great help for organic gardeners.

TLC Tip #6: Clean Up! Dead head spent blooms, remove dead canes down to the ground, trim off damaged canes, and remove sucker growth. Keeping your roses cleaned up throughout the season, will keep them energized and healthy.

TLC Tip #7: Prune! The best time to prune roses is in the early spring. Leave approximately 18 inches of canes when cutting back. Cut about ¼ inch above the bud eye (reddish or brownish bump on a cane).

TLC Tip #8: Love! Talk to your roses. Tell them how much you love them. Thank them for all the beauty they provide you. Give your rose a kiss. “Oh, stop it! Don’t think of me as weird. I know you all do this when no one is looking!”

We want you to have beautiful roses. Roses that thrive make everyone happy. Remember there is not just one method of caring for roses. There are several. What works best for one rose owner, may not work as well for another. When it comes to roses, there are some basics and there are some tricks. Most of all, a little patience and TLC are key to beautiful roses.

In this guide, I am going to refer to conventional(C) and organic(O) methods. Neither is right or wrong. It is just nice to have choices. In my opinion, a mix of the two is best for overall rose care.

Let’s start from the very beginning…


Planting Products (C): Van Wilgen’s Jump Start + Van Wilgen’s Premium Planting Mix = The combination of these two products is perfect for planting roses.

Planting Products (O): Van Wilgen’s Root Boost + Soilution Compost = Combining these two organic powerhouses will start your roses off right.

Note: If soil is compact, add Gypsum or Greensand to loosen the soil up.

Note: If soil is sandy, add extra compost to help bind it.

WATERING NEWLY PLANTED ROSES: Watering is key to a successful establishment.

Note: Follow the Rule of 3 = Water 3X’s per week for the first 3 weeks.

Note: Avoid overhead irrigation. Watering roses at a slow trickle or using a soaker hose at the base of the plant will establish a deeper root system and reduce disease.

Note: After the first 3 weeks of watering, switch to 1X per week = 2 inches H2O per week is ideal.


Fertilization Products (C): Van Wilgen’s All-Purpose Slow Release Fertilizer = Use every 2 months, March – September

Note: Bayer’s All-in-One Rose & Flower Care not only provides disease & insect control but provides light fertilization too. It should be used in conjunction with fertilizer & applied every 6 weeks, April-September.

Fertilization Products (O): Espoma’s Rose-Tone = Use 1X per month, March – September

Note: Could supplement with foliar sprays of Van Wilgen’s Fish & Seaweed or Root Boost every 2 weeks through September. They will never burn and will provide extra nutrients for these heavy feeders.

Note: A little trick is to use Monterey’s Epsom Salts 2X per year. 1X in the spring and again in early summer. The magnesium pushes extra root growth.


Mulching Products (C): Any type of mulch from Pine Bark to Cedar would be fine for mulching roses. It depends on what you like the look of. Apply a 3-inch layer of mulch around roses to keep moisture in and keep weeds at bay. Keep mulch 3 inches from the canes of the rose.

Mulching Products (O): Sweet Peet is an excellent mulch for roses. The aged horse manure and moisture retention provided by Sweet Peet really keeps roses healthy. Apply Sweet Peet at 1 inch deep. 3 inches of Sweet Peet will hold too much water.

COMMON DISEASES ON ROSES = Black Spot, Powdery Mildew, Botrytis, Canker, Rust:

*Black Spot: black fringed spots, yellow halo, leaf yellowing, leaf drop, purplish blotches on canes, blistered blotches on canes

*Powdery Mildew: begin as chlorotic or red patches on leaves; turn to white, powdery growth on buds, canes, leaves; distorting, twisting & curling of leaves, shoots, & buds; buds fail to open

*Botrytis Blight: grayish, brown fuzzy growth on canes, buds, flowers; tan flecks/patches on flower buds & petals; sunken, tannish cankers on canes

*Canker: canes only; begin small, yellow to dark-red spots; grow larger to brown with reddish-brown centers; distinctly dark from healthy, green tissue; wilting & death beyond the cane

*Rust: infects all green parts; small, orange pustules; premature defoliation;

Disease Control Products (C): Daconil, Bayer All-in-One Rose & Flower Care, Bayer 3-in-1Insect, Disease, & Mite Control

Note: Begin applications with Bayer All-in-One Rose in April. Apply 1X per month April – September

Note: Begin applications with Daconil in May. Apply 1X every 2 weeks as needed.

Disease Control Products (O): Neem, Rose RX 3-in-1, Copper, Garden Fungicide (Sulfur), Serenade

Note: Begin Control with Neem/Rose RX 3-in-1 in early spring. It works well as a preventative but not as a curative.

Note: Begin use of organic fungicides before the disease starts. Begin in May. They may be applied 1X per week.

COMMON INSECTS ON ROSES = Rose Sawfly, Japanese Beetle, Aphids, Mites, Thrips:

*Rose Sawfly: aka Rose Slug, small, green with orange head, looks like a caterpillar but it is not, turns rose leaves into a brown windowpane

*Japanese Beetles: brownish/green metallic color, feeds in clumps, skeletonizes leaves, eats buds and flowers leaving a ragged appearance

*Aphid: pear-shaped, small, green to red to gray, sucks juices out plant distorting & curling leaves and new growth, clusters on buds and new shoots

*Thrips: tiny, yellowish-brown, scrape the surface of leaves and flowers, cause stippled yellowing of leaves and browning edges of flower petals

*Mites: nearly imperceptible, 8-legged, sucking insects, whitish-yellow stippling on leaves, light webbing if the infestation is heavy enough

*Rose Scale: white to gray waxy bump is adult, sucking insect, girdles canes

Insect Control Products (C): Bayer All-in-One Rose & Flower Care, Bayer Dual-Action Rose & Flower Care, Bayer 3-in-1 Insect, Disease, & Mite Control

Note: If you begin systemic treatments with Bayer All-in-One Rose & Flower Care in the spring, you may not have any serious insect problems. The product lasts in the rose, providing a full month of insect control. Foliar sprays provide excellent insect control but may need to be applied 1 to 2X’s per week.

Insect Control Products (O): Safer Insect Killing Soap, End-All, Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew, Rose RX 3-in-1, Neem, Japanese Beetle Killer

Note: Organic insect controls can be very effective but may need to be applied more often than conventional insect controls. They must make contact with the insect to provide good control.

Side Note: Don’t forget about Deer Control. The earlier you begin applying repellents, the less likely they are to start their feeding habit on your roses!

Side Note: Don’t forget about Vole control if they are an issue in your yard. Planting with Vole Bloc and using Vole repellants may be necessary.

Side Note: Try Triple-Phosphate for an extra bloom burst. A little goes a long way!


Come see us at Van Wilgen’s. We would love to help!