Harkness Potted Rose
Harkness Gift Wrapped Rose

What is a bare root rose?

A bare root rose is one that we have grown in a field for 18 months and are supplied without any soil, hard pruned and often have no foliage. We lift the roses out of the fields in Autumn as the plant is entering its natural dormant season. When a bare root rose is delivered, the only care needed before you plant it is to keep it moist and in a cool place.

Will my bare root come gift wrapped and include a gift message?

No, the rose will not be gift wrapped. Also, if a gift message was added we do not include gift cards with a bare root rose, as stated on the world of roses website at the time of purchase.

When to plant a bare root rose?

When a bare root rose is delivered, the only care needed before you plant it is to keep it moist and in a cool place. Bare root roses can be planted between October and April but avoid planting in waterlogged or frozen ground.

What to do when I receive my bare root rose?

Immediately remove the bare root rose from all packaging and rehydrate the roots by soaking them in water for an hour. Time your soaking so that you can leave the roots in water until the minute you’re ready to plant your rose.

What to do if I am not able to plant my bare root rose straight away?

Immediately remove the bare root rose from all packaging and store somewhere dark, cold (No more than +5C) and damp. The rose will need to kept moist at all times. i.e spray with water daily until you’re ready to plant. We do not recommend this and is best to plant the rose as soon as possible.

How to plant my bare root rose?

Step 1. Rehydrate the roots.

Step 2. Dig a hole in the soil big enough to fit the roots in. Approximately 40cm x 40cm

Step 3: Place the rose in the hole whilst sprinkling a little planting mixture on the roots (rootgrow). We recommend the rose sits a couple of inches below the rim of the pot or alternatively below the top of the hole.

Step 4: Fill in around the rose with compost and gently firm. Finally, water your newly planted bare root rose generously, allowing moisture to penetrate the soil and roots.

(When planting,  try not to bury the green stems)

What is a potted rose?

A potted rose is exactly the same as a bare root rose, just it has been planted in a pot with compost and our planting mix. Potted roses are great for adding instant colour to your garden during the summer months.

What is a floribunda rose?

Floribundas are stiff, bushy, upright roses characterised by clusters of flowers, that flower repeatedly from summer through autumn.

What is a hybrid tea rose?

Hybrid teas produce large, shapely flowers from high-centred buds on long, straight stems. They produce one flower per stem, making them great for using as cut flowers. Flowers usually appear in three flushes between summer and late autumn.

What is a patio rose?

A patio rose is a miniature floribunda rose that can come in a variety of styles. Patio roses do not require too much maintenance and are smaller than the average rose

What is the difference between a climber and rambler?

Climbers generally have large blooms on not too vigorous, rather stiff growth and most repeat flower. Ramblers are in general, much more vigorous. They will produce great quantities of small flowers, although most do not repeat flower.

Most climbers are best for walls, trellises, arches, obelisks whereas ramblers are generally better for growing into trees and covering pergolas or large structures such as garages or sheds.

Can I plant where a rose has been planted previously?

We suggest that you avoid planting a rose in the same position but if you decide to then remove as much soil as possible and replace with new compost.

How much space should I leave between roses?

We suggest planting roses approximately 60cm apart.

What should I do if I have received my potted rose but not ready to plant it?

We recommend planting potted roses as soon as possible. However, if you are unable to plant immediately, roses can be kept in their pots quite happily for two months or more. Just keep them watered appropriately.

How to plant my potted rose?


  • Ensure the ground is frost-free and viable.
  • Use a mix of John Innes No.3 potting compost, multi-purpose compost and good quality planting mixture.
  • Remove any stones or weeds from the soil mix if planting in the ground and ensure the rose has enough space.

Step 1: Before planting your rose, remove all plastic packaging/wrapping and rehydrate the rose by watering generously.

Step 2: Dig a hole big enough to hold the roots. If planting in the ground, we recommend breaking the soil at the base of the hole.

Step 3: Sprinkle a little planting mixture at the bottom and place the rose in the hole. We recommend the rose sits a couple of inches below the rim of the pot or alternatively below the top of the hole.

Step 4: Fill in around the rose with compost and gently firm. Finally, water your newly planted rose generously, allowing moisture to penetrate the soil and roots.

Rose Care

What compost would you recommend using when planting a rose?

Use a mix of John Innes no.3, all-purpose compost, and good quality planting mixture. Remove any stones or weeds from the soil mix if planting in the ground and ensure the rose has enough space.

Why are leaves falling off my roses?

Lack of water – watering is the most important aspect of looking after your rose. Especially, in the first two years.

Feed Feed you roses more often as nutrients will drain through your soil very quickly. Adding well-rotted horse or cow manure will improve the soil structure, at the same time as adding fertility.

Disease – Look at your freshly fallen leaves and see if they have any signs of black spot, rust, or powdery mildew. If no signs of the following, then most likely cause is a lack of water.

Tips for pruning roses?

  • Pruning is essential for long term health and should be carried out in February when the rose is dormant.
  • The first prune of Hybrid Tea and Floribunda roses should take back 3/4 buds from the base.
  • Climbers, Ramblers, and Shrubs should be taken back about 6 inches from the ground on the first prune.
  • Pruning is easy, with the rule of thumb for established bushes to be pruned a 1/3 of its original size in a frost-free period from mid-February – March.
  • Always prune out any weak or weedy growth.
  • Roses can be trimmed back after they finish flowering in November to stop wind-rock, but main pruning is done late winter/early spring.

    Tips for maintaining roses?

  • Water your roses regularly. Make sure it gets a least 2 inches of water a week. (Deep soaking is much better than frequent, shallow watering).
  • Throughout the blooming cycle, feed your roses consistently and use fertiliser to support healthy growth.
  • Deadheading will keep your roses looking attractive and encourage more blooms.
  • You can cut off dead/damaged wood, misplaced stems, or even suckers anytime of the year.
  • Cuts must be clean, so keep your secateurs sharp. For larger stems, use loppers or a pruning saw.

Common types of pests?

Aphids – tiny insects, including greenfly, that multiply quickly on buds and young tender shoots. They leave a sticky residue on the stem or leaf called honeydew. Spray the plant with diluted washing up liquid on a cooler day and then wash the solution off after 15 minutes to avoid damaging the plant. Or if you can put up with them for a while, nature will restore balance as ladybirds, small birds and other predators consume them. As a last resort you could use an insecticide.

Caterpillars – part of the larvae family, and they love eating their way through plants. They munch on leaves with a giant appetite. Whilst they won’t kill your roses, they do leave bite marks and holes in the foliage and flowers petals. They may inflict short term harm, but they do feed the birds, and the leaves will be replaced in time. Remove them by hand when you see them, but be warned, they are great at hide and seek as they blend in incredibly well!

Rose leaf-rolling sawfly – causes tightly rolled leaves on wild and cultivated roses, not to be mistaken with weed killer damage! The rose leaf rolling sawfly lays her eggs on young foliage before injecting the leaves with a chemical that causes them to curl protectively around her eggs. No more than a week later, the eggs hatch into green caterpillars that begin eating what is left of the leaves, resulting in skeletonised foliage. Affected leaves should be picked off before the young caterpillar larvae have hatched and started to feed. Pesticides are unlikely to work.

Rose slug sawfly – grazes on the underside of rose leaves causing them to turn brown and dry up. Damage from light infestations can be overcome and should not affect the vigour of the plants. Pick the larvae off by hand and try to encourage predators into your garden such as birds and ground beetles. If you are experiencing large numbers of larvae, you may want to consider spraying with organic pesticides.

Red spider mites – When they’re at work on your roses, it will look like they are covered in spider webs. This veil like webbing provides protection from predators for the mites and their eggs. The leaves will discolour and become limp and pale before falling. Spider mites normally appear in gardens because the use of insecticides has killed off their predators. They are sometimes hard to detect until the infestation has spiralled into large numbers. They thrive in warm, airless conditions, particularly in greenhouses or conservatories. The easiest solution is to move the plant outside and regularly spray it with water. The red spider mites should take a disliking to their new habitat and move on.

Rabbits – These common garden pests love feasting on rose bushes – they are not as innocent as they appear! Undeterred by thorns, young rabbits devour the new tender shoots that are within their reach, whereas older rabbits will even strip the plants of their bark and munch on the higher stems causing major destruction. Creating a fence around your roses with chicken wire is the easiest way to keep the bunnies out, although it is not the sightliest solution. There are chemicals which can be sprinkled the ground around the roses to help keep rabbits away too, but these are never completely effective.

Deer – in rural areas of the UK or if you reside near open countryside, you may find deer venturing into your garden in their search for food. Unfortunately, roses are one of their favourite things to eat as they consume the buds, blooms, foliage and even the thorny stems. The best way to keep them out of your garden, or at least away from your roses, is to erect perimeter fencing and netting. These need to be relatively tall and robust to stop the deer squeezing their way through it or jumping over it. Alternatively, hedges could be an effective barrier so long as they are tall and solid enough.

Thrips – These tiny brownish yellow winged insects attack the foliage on a rose and can take over entire plant. They live in the buds and blooms of the roses, feeding on the sap within the petals. They can increase in numbers very quickly and can be a difficult pest to deal with.

Use an effective insecticide and try to control the infestation as quickly as possible.

Common types of diseases?

Black spot – common rose disease caused by a fungus that can do serious damage in a season. Easy to identify, round purplish or black spots usually develop on lower, old leaves. The leaf turns yellow around the spots and drops off. Normally seen from mid-July and throughout the summer months. If left untreated, plants become stunted and produce fewer flowers that are paler in colour and the plant may lose most of its foliage if severely infected.

Try to plant resistant varieties but if black spot does occur, remove the infected leaves to help increase ventilation, and prune the plants to keep the centres open. Use Sulphur Rose and a fungicide spray as a preventative measure and to control black spot effectively, even on resistant varieties. A regular wash with the hose is also recommended as this will wash the spores off the plant. To prevent reinfection the following year, collect up fallen leaves and burn them where possible. In Autumn/Spring, use a diluted disinfectant, such as Jeyes Fluid or similar, to drench around the plants as this will help to kill the spores living in the soil.

Rust – Orange coloured spots appear on the underside of old leaves in early summer. When rust is particularly severe, orange spore pustules will turn brown and then black, the leaves turn yellow and fall off. Rose rust will attack the whole plant apart from the roots and petals. This disease thrives in warm damp conditions and rust spores can lie dormant over winter on fallen leaves or in the soil. To treat, pick the infected leaves and burn them before spraying the plant with a fungicide. Gather up fallen leaves and wash the plant when it is in its dormant stage to avoid reinfection the following year. Start your spraying regime early and repeat regularly.

Stem Canker – Rose canker often appears on the canes of rose bushes and is easy to identify easy. Look out for black splotches or gnarled, swollen lesions with dead and furling bark. Canker will usually show itself on mature plants with old wood where there has been exposed tissue from previous damage, rarely seen on younger well-tended roses. If canker appears on a stem which is expendable, simply remove it. However, it will often appear in awkward places that make it difficult to prune away. If you are desperate to keep the rose in your garden, cut away the damaged tissue with a sharp knife, carefully removing layers until only clean pith is left. Cover the scar to prevent further infections from entering. If the rose is not important, the easiest solution is to dig it up and burn it.

Tips for beating pests and diseases?

Tip 1 – Air Circulation – Allow your roses enough room t0 breathe and don’t plant them too close together, overcrowding them.

Tip 2 – Vigour – Natural vigour gives resistance to disease. Feed and water the roses well and plant them in good soil.

Tip 3 – Selection – Choose varieties with good, natural resistance. The newer varieties are tested to be disease resistant and may be an easier option to grow successfully. Shrub type roses typically need few chemicals applied to them yet bloom beautifully. Whereas Hybrid Tea roses are more susceptible to disease and need to be sprayed before the growing season begins.

Tip 4 – Observation – Get to know your plants, wander around the garden observing. Look for early warning signs of stress to the plant (a precursor to disease), disease that appears, or insects.

Tip 5 – Cleanliness – Don’t leave old leaves, wood or plant material lying around. Disease often starts on the leaves that are damaged (and therefore weak), or on bits of broken plant on the ground.

Tip 6 – Humidity – Too much humidity at night provides the environment for disease to start. It is best not to water in the evenings.

Tip 7 – Age – As roses age they become more prone to diseases. Think about changing plants after 10 years or so if they begin to decline.

Tip 8 – Prevention – There are some sprays that act as a preventative is applied before any disease is seen. We regularly spray our roses with the following chemicals and recommend these for home use too. Rose Clear, Bug Clear, Uncle Toms Rose Tonic, Liquid Seaweed and Sulphur Rose Tonic.

What would you recommend using for feeding roses?

Uncle Tom’s Tonic – A fantastic, easy to use product that acts as a tonic/rose feed to promote new strong and healthy growth. Uncle Tom’s is a natural and safe product which is perfect for gardeners who don’t like to use chemicals within their garden.

What would you recommend using for killing/preventing black spot and other diseases?

Fungus clear – Systemic protection & control of blackspot, powdery mildew, & rust. It will protect plants & new growth for up to 4 months.

What would you recommend using for killing/preventing green fly and other pests?

Bug clear – A contact and systemic action insecticide offering a broad spectrum of pest control for flowering plants. Protects for up to 3 weeks.


The Harkness Rose Company
Briar Patch Nursery
Ickwell Road
Upper Caldecote
SG18 9BS

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Monday - Friday: 9am - 4.30pm

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