Summer Rose Care in Iowa

close up of a rose at pink rose with the yellow center

Roses—the queen of garden plants—can grow well in Iowa as long as you choose them well and give them good care.

• Start with naturally disease-resistant and winter-hardy rose cultivars. Good bets include those developed by Iowa State’s Dr. Griffith Buck, the Easy Elegance® series developed by Bailey Nurseries in Minnesota, and Knock-Out® roses.

• Plant in moist, well-drained, fertile soil in full sun.

• Fertilize with a general all-purpose fertilizer first in early spring after pruning, then again in June when they first flower, and then finally in mid- to late July.

• Scout regularly for diseases and insects. If problems arise, correctly identifying the issue and then treating it is crucial.

• Black spot and powdery mildew can be controlled with fungicides. Fungicides must be applied in spring and through the growing season before the problem is visible since they are only preventative. Follow package directions.

• Aphids and other insects can be controlled with a variety of pesticides.

• Deer and other animals will need to be excluded with fencing.

• Deadhead flowers regularly to encourage bloom and for improved appearance. Remove the spent flowers down to the first five-leaflet leaf with sharp, clean pruners. Stop deadheading in late summer to encourage ornamental hip production and to allow the plant to prepare for winter.

• For more information on roses, check out the following information from Iowa State University:

Rose Care in Iowa –

Common Rose Diseases –

All About Griffith Buck Roses –

— Aaron Steil, Manager of Public Programs  —  Photo Caption: Rosa ‘All the Rage’ BAIrage