Rose bushes are beautiful, but they have a reputation for being hard to take care of. At Millcreek Gardens, our Tree and Shrub experts think this is unfounded. Cultivating rose bushes in Salt Lake City does take some effort, but you will undoubtedly feel it is well worth it when your beautiful rose bush bursts into bloom this summer.

What do you need to know about growing rose bushes in Utah?

outdoor plantsrose bushes

Choose a Sunny Spot

Roses love sun. But this is Utah, so you don’t want to overwhelm them. Select an area where your rose bush will get six to eight hours of sunlight a day — but not all during the hottest parts of the day. Keep an eye on a few different spots in your yard for a few days and make notes so you’re sure you choose the best place.

Dig a Big Hole

Did you know that for trees and bushes, the size of the hole you dig should be about twice as wide as the size of the root ball? Skimping on the size of the hole can impact your rose bush’s health and growth.

As the weather heats up in the summer, you might want to add a bit of mulch around your rose bush to help it retain moisture. Leave a space right around the trunk, however, to reduce the risk of rot.

Water & Feed

You should water a newly planted rose bush at least every couple of days, ensuring the soil stays damp. As your rose bush grows and matures, you can cut back watering to about once a week. Water your rose bush at its stem near the ground — don’t pour water over the top of the bush where the leaves and buds are. Wet rose bush leaves are vulnerable to fungus. Our rose experts recommend using a drip irrigation system to keep roses happy and to water more wisely.

Fertilizer is more important for rose bushes than for many other plants. Buy a fertilizer at Millcreek Gardens that’s specially formulated for roses, such as Rose-Tone from Espoma or Dr. Earth’s Rose and Flower fertlizer. Both are organic and can be used throughout the whole year! F     ollow the directions for fertilizer carefully. Too much fertilizer can burn your rose bushes and too little can leave them small and stunted. It’s also a good idea to add a fertilizer high in Nitrogen to the base of your roses as winter begins so the plants have something to feed from when they wake up in the Spring.

However, don’t fertilize a new bush — it’s too traumatic. Only fertilize established rose bushes.


Pruning is another crucially important step in cultivating rose bushes. Without regular pruning, your rose bushes with grow to be spindly and have few blooms. In Utah, most roses bloom especially well in May and September, but with proper pruning, they can bloom all summer long.

Rose bushes should be pruned in spring to encourage new growth and blooms for summer. Prune branches just above an outward-facing bud and cut the branch at a slope — this makes it easier for water to run off. Make sure to have a sharp pair of clippers or hand pruners to get the job done.

Best Garden Store in Salt Lake City

If you want to try your hand at growing roses, stop in and talk to the rose experts in our Tree and Shrub department at Millcreek Gardens. We’d love to help you choose a rose bush and advise you on how to take care of it. Come see us today!