Rose Care

Where should I plant my roses?

  • Roses like sun, and should receive at least six hours of full sun.
  • Roses don’t like wet roots, they should be in well-drained soil.

When should I plant my roses?

Roses are best planted in the spring, they can be planted in the fall as well, but you need to make sure that the plant has enough time to settle in before the frost.

Tender Roses

Tender roses can be grown quite easily in Manitoba, and it doesn’t take nearly as much work as most people think it does. Since tender roses cannot survive the cold winters that we have in Manitoba, a little extra care must be taken. The best way to ensure that your roses survive the winter is to plant them in a way that allows them the protection they need. By planting the rose so that the bud-union is about two inches below the surface of the soil, you are protecting this important part of the plant. The area around the bud union should not be filled in with soil, but rather with large pebbles (about 2.5cm in diameter). This ensures that the bud-union is adequately aerated, and prevents infection and disease. The bud-union is the part of the plant where the rootstalk is grafted to the flowering portion of the plant. This is easily identified as being the bulge in the stem directly above the root mass. As long as this portion of the plant survives the winter, you will still have new canes breaking in the spring.

If this method of planting is unsuitable for you, try the traditional method of protection, which is building a box around the rose and filling it with peat moss or leaves for insulation. Or try planting hardy roses, such as the varieties developed at the Morden Research Station, which have been specifically developed to withstand our harsh winters. For a full list of varieties consult your garden center.

General Care

  • Any dead wood should be regularly pruned out, as these are the entrance points for many diseases.
  • In the fall it is good to prune out any old canes that are three years or older, these no longer produce as many flowers, and are more susceptible to disease. By removing them, you encourage the plant to put forth more new canes in the spring.
  • In the spring, prune out any winter kill.

Black Spot

Black spot is a very common fungal disease that attacks roses all around the world. Although in some places (like BC) this disease is a constant and very dangerous threat to roses, in Manitoba it is relatively easy to control, due to our dry climate.


  • Black or yellow discoloration of the leaf on the top and/or bottom.
  • Raised purple-red irregular blotches on immature wood of first year canes. These later become blackened and blistered.


  • This disease is caused by a fungus that thrives in moist areas so do not water your roses excessively, water early in the day so that the plants have a chance to dry off before nightfall.
  • If possible, do not water on dark, cloudy days, these conditions allow your plant to stay damp for extended periods of time.
  • Keep dead wood pruned, as this is an entry point for many pests and pathogens.
  • Keep your plant healthy. Healthy plants are better able to fight off disease.


In all likelihood, at some point you will have to deal with an infection of this fungal disease. If handled properly, the problem can be easily remedied. The most important step is to stop the fungus from spreading.

  • Remove any infected leaves as soon a possible.
  • This infected material must be removed from the area and cannot be composted.
  • Do not allow any infected material to accumulate on the ground around the plant.
  • Dust the plant with sulfur dust.


  • Aphids: spray with insecticidal soap, or spray with a solution of two tablespoons of dish detergent, and one teaspoon of rubbing alcohol to one gallon of water.
  • Caterpillars: try insecticidal soap or the above solution, this may get rid of them, if that does not work, spray with BT.
  • Scale insects: These insects are easily detected by the small red, round bumps that they leave on the stems of the plant. The tiny insects that emerge from these scales harm the plant by feeding on the sap, weakening the plant to other insects and diseases, and eventually killing it. To get rid of this pest, root drench with Cygon 2-E.

By Dr. Bill Paton and Laura Tilley