Rose care guide: December

This rose care guide will ensure that your roses stay happy this December, especially if you’re going on holiday

Related: December’s gardening to do list

roses in containers

Granny’s Delight

If you’re going away for two weeks or more, spray with a cocktail of Ludwig’s Insect Spray combined with the fungicide Chronos. Make sure your irrigation system is working or arrange for your roses to be watered in your absence. Move roses in containers into a shady area if they are to receive less regular watering.

If you’re staying at home, continue to groom your roses by dead heading spent flowers and removing inside-growing shoots and twiggy growth.

Watering: Keep to the watering schedule, depending on how much rain has fallen. During hot, dry spells water daily. Hosing down the plants at midday helps prevent rapid transpiration.

Fertilising: If you’re going away, only fertilise on your return. Increasing the amount of fertiliser will not improve the growth of your plants and is more likely to burn the roots and leaves.

Pest and disease control: Continue the fortnightly spraying programme. This is the time that brown, night-active chafer beetles make an appearance and chew away on leaves. Spray the leaves in the afternoon with Karbaspray or Garden Ripcord or powder them with Karbadust or Blue Death. Alternatively install a light trap (see below on making a light trap).

Read more: Eco-friendly pest control for your garden

Other tasks: Remove spent flowers and disbud hybrid teas by removing the side buds so the main bloom develops into a good quality flower. When picking roses for your home, only remove 50 percent of the blooms; this ensures a good balance of leaves on the bush and does not put too much pressure on the roots.


At night, place a bucket half filled with water among your roses. Add some oil and float a few candles on the water’s surface. The light will attract chafer beetles and they’ll fall into the bucket and drown or be smothered by the oil.