Rose Gardening 101


Over the thousands of years that gardening has existed, rose bushes have been a staple. Roses started being cultivated over 5,000 years ago and have been used for many purposes since. This blooming belle has been the center of early medicinal practices, ceremonies, and even as symbols in literature. This classic has not only stood the test of time with experienced gardeners, but has also become a recognizable and beloved plant by all. Now in the modern era, there are thousands of varieties and cultivars available to us to enjoy and grow in our own gardens. But, how do you start? What materials do you need? And what do roses need to grow successfully? If you are just starting out with roses, have no fear! We are here to help you understand the basics. 



When looking into starting a rose garden, you’ll want to consider the most important parts to growing plants in general: light, water, and soil. 


  • Light - Most rose bush varieties want full sun or 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. So make sure you are planting or potting up your rose in a very sunny spot.


  • Soil - Roses definitely do not like to be soggy. A well-draining soil is extremely important to keeping your roses happy. Whether they are in a container or in the ground, you will want to make sure that the soil is made to drain water efficiently and is nutrient-rich to help feed the plant's roots as it grows.

PRO-TIP: When planting your roses, make sure to also use a rose food to ensure brilliant and bountiful blooms. We love using Espoma Rose Tone for this job. This granular plant food can be added at the beginning of planting, as well as sprinkled on the surface of the root ball throughout the life of the plant.


  • Water - At planting, and in the warmer months, you may need to establish the root system by watering more often. Watering deeply and less frequently is preferred over frequent, light waterings. Make sure you are also not watering the tops of your plants where the foliage and the blooms are, only the soil, as water on the foliage can cause powdery mildew and black spot.



Understanding the needs of roses is the start of learning how they will grow best. Remember, there are a wide variety of rose types from container roses, to climbing and bush varieties. Choosing the rose that works best for your garden all depends on what your goals are. 


Some of the most popular kinds we have now are: 

  • Knock Out Roses - A signature plant here at McDonald Garden Center made to resist disease and bloom profusely.
  • Petite Knock Out Roses - Packing the same punch of the original Knock Out in a tiny package, these roses are smaller, but bloom in mass.
  • Drift Popcorn Roses - These blooms make us want to take a trip to the movies! These butter-soft yellow and creamy white petals are great to pair up with other landscape plants in the garden. 
  • Easy Does It Roses - The ombre of mango, peach, and honey tones in the Easy Does It variety are breathtaking. A classic beauty by all accounts.
  • Sunsprite Roses - This rose of sunshine is sure to blow you away with its beautiful sweet fragrance along with its bright yellow ruffled blooms. 


When you are here at our stores shopping, feel free to ask our Green Team members for anything from rose information to planting tips and more. To stay updated on all things spring gardening, check out the Garden Guru every week with new plants, products, and expert planting advice. To get inspired and grow with us, follow us on FacebookInstagram, and TikTok to dig into the joys of gardening!