Top tips for caring for roses from Hever Castle’s Head Gardener

June 21 2019 | Garden

Hever Castle’s Head Gardener shares his top tips for caring for roses.

The roses are out at Hever now (a week earlier than usual) and the gardening team are busy feeding, watering, deadheading and talking to them.

Neil Miller shares his top tips for caring for roses so that they flower and last all summer long.

He says: “People have commented to me in the past “roses look after themselves, don’t they?” But this is a myth. We do need to lavish love and attention on them and I even like, on occasion, to take a leaf out of the Prince of Wales‘ book and have a chat to my roses. As I deadhead their spent blooms, I utter a few words of encouragement. I have also been known to whisper to them as I water.”

One of Neil’s top tips for caring for roses is using an all-purpose rose feed at the beginning of the season and after the first blooms.

If it is another dry summer another of Neil’s top tips for caring for roses is mulching around the plant to keep the moisture in.


Neil says: “Quite often, people are put off of growing roses because they’re worried about greenfly, blackly or black spot. When it comes to greenfly and blackfly, we leave them at Hever – we don’t treat. We may run our thumb and forefinger across the leaves, but more often than not we let nature work its magic, and we find that birds and insects clear the greenfly in days for us.

“Black spot is a different matter – it’s a fungal problem and one that needs treatment in the form of chemicals from your local garden centre. Prevention though, is better, so make sure that you remove any leaves with black spot and don’t let them fall or collect around the base of your plants. Once removed, burn the leaves – definitely don’t put them in your compost bin.”

Deadheading is another top tip for caring for roses a well as watering under the leaves early in the morning or late in the evening to prevent the leaves being scorched.

Neil’s last top tip for caring for roses is making sure your roses can breathe and have good air circulation around the plant. Bad circulation promotes fungal infection.

• Find out more during one of the free garden tours during Hever in Bloom (25-30 June) here