Wagner’s Rose Nursery is one of the largest and longest running rose nurseries in Australia.
We have put together some of your most common questions, with our answers.
Do you have any questions for Brian? Please send us an email and we'll do our best to help you.
“What’s the best variety of rose for the humid and hot weather we have in QLD?”
Heat and humidity are two of the biggest challenges of growing roses particularly in coastal areas of Queensland, however in general, all roses perform exceptionally well in the warmth.
Tea roses – the ‘old’ roses which are part of the Heritage Rose family- are considered one of the best suited roses for this climate. They shouldn’t be confused with the Hybrid Tea rose or Modern tea rose which both come under the title of ‘Modern Roses’.
The forerunner of the Tea rose was originally brought to Europe from China around 1810, which may indicate that they have been bred for these conditions.
They have excellent heat tolerance, are highly resistant to pests and diseases and reward with repeat flowering during winter (the dry season) if pruned after flowering in the hot summer months.
We recommend Tea Roses such as Duchesse de Brabant, Mutabilis, Lady Hillingdon, Monsieur Tillier, Lorraine Lee, Marie van Houtte and Mrs BR Cant.
Also China rose varieties perform well, and all the Icebergs and Knock Outs.
Inland areas in Queensland are all good for roses as it’s not as humid.
With the hot conditions they will require loads of watering and care should be taken that they aren’t affected by burn during extreme heat conditions.
A full listing of recommended roses for growing in Queensland can be found at the Queensland Rose Society at http://www.qld.rose.org.au/recommended.html.
“Are some roses better suited to sand or clay, or well drained or poorly drained, or full sun or part sun ...?
Or do all roses pretty much require the same conditions?”
In short, the majority of roses prefer full sun, however there are some that may grow in part shade, like Fabulous, Gallipoli Centenary Rose, all Icebergs and Knock out varieties.
Roses prefer a lighter soil that is well drained, particularly as they love water.
If it’s heavy soil and they are regularly watered the plant’s roots become boggy and wet and the plant will struggle.
If you do have heavy soil you can apply some gypsum to lighten it up and add plenty of nutrients.
The challenges with sand are that there are very few nutrients and the soil dries out quickly.
However, rugosa roses perform exceptionally well in sand.
“I am changing the rose garden and would like to give some of my roses to a friend.
What is the best way to remove them from the garden?"
Just like we are doing in the Nursery, June and July are good months for digging out roses.
It’s a perfect opportunity for making changes to your rose garden, as the plants are dormant and are very robust.
The soil should be reasonably moist so digging out the roses is straightforward.
Dig around the rose, allowing at least half a metre space from the main plant.
Gently ease the rose out of the ground, ensuring that the root ball is kept intact. Once out, the rose can be pruned back to its main stems, removing any thin or diseased stems.
You can also trim the roots to around the same length as the rose itself.
For transporting the rose, place a couple of handfuls of moist peastraw, lucerne or other type of mulch around the roots and wrap up with newspaper.
However without doing this the bareroot roses should be fine for up to a month provided that they remain constantly damp, ideally in damp newspaper or a plastic sleeve, and not exposed to sunlight or wind.
Your roses are then ready to pass onto someone else.
The roses should be planted into their garden as soon as possible – and watered in well – to allow them to recover from their uprooting.
“I have recently prepared a new bed for planting roses.
Which type of mulch is the best?”
For newly prepared beds, mulch helps retain moisture levels especially during warm, windy autumn days, and can also minimise the damage from frosts by creating a thermal layer between the soil and the plant.
Mulches come in various forms but we suggest using bean or lucerne, or a bark based organic mulch, all of which have a coarse characteristic.
Finer mulches such as sawdust or woodchips can have a drying effect and are often detrimental to the plants.
Allow at least 20 - 30 centimetres space around the base of each plant, otherwise during extreme heat the mulch will reflect the sunlight onto the plant which will burn it and it could die.
A solid soaking prior to applying the mulch will make sure they’ve had plenty of water.
Remember if you’re adding a slow release fertiliser this should be done prior to watering as it is too potent and can cause burning if applied directly onto wet soil.
“What is the best way of looking after roses in pots?
Do they require any different treatment to those in the ground?”
Gardening with roses in pots can offer a world of opportunity for those people keen to create their own slice of rose garden heaven in smaller spaces.
There are many roses ideally bred and suited for this very reason, and most come under the heading of Miniature / Climbing miniature, Ground cover, Floribunda shrub roses or Patio roses of 60cm/2ft high.
Indeed, with the exception of large climbers, most roses can be grown in pots.
Here are a few pointers to get you started:
“How and when do I prepare the bed for my new roses?”
April is a good time to start preparing the garden bed for the new bareroot roses you receive in winter, as there’s plenty of time for the bed to decompose.
First, determine which type of soil you are dealing with.
The best type of soil for planting roses in is loam – it’s essentially a mix of organic materials (compost, old animal manure, leaf litter), inorganic materials (soil), water and air.
An easy way to test for the quality of loam is to take a handful of soil, squeeze it and it should generally stick together.
If your soil isn’t quite at the right consistency, don’t panic. It’s an easy process, but just takes a bit of time.
First add loads of organic matter to the bed, as it will only do great things for your rose garden.
This could include decomposed compost, leaves, dried vegetable matter or grass clippings, mixed in with animal and bird manure – like chook and pidgeon in small quantities: it’s very strong but also very good - or if you don’t have access to that, a healthy dose of blood and bone.
Adding gypsum and liquid seaweed into the mix will go a long way to adding nutrients to the soil.
Liquid seaweed in particular is an excellent soil conditioner and can be applied weekly – it will have the added bonus of feeding the worms which will do all the decomposing work for you.
Next, till the soil in the rose bed, making sure not to disturb the roots of any existing plants in the bed.
Finally, mulch the area with pea straw or lucerne hay.
With weekly watering the patch will ‘bed down’ and decompose nicely providing the perfect home for your new bareroot roses.
“How do I keep cut roses lasting longer?”
Many people ask us how to make their cut roses last longer in the vase.
By following a few simple tips your roses should last at least a week longer than usual.