Help & FAQs

Q: What is the difference between a climber and a rambler? 
A: 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. There are exceptions to both these rules: for instance Malvern Hills and The Lady of the Lake are repeat-flowering ramblers whereas Cecile Brunner Climbing is a once flowering climber with small flowers.

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.


Q: What is the difference between a potted and a bare root rose? Which is best? 
A: When ordering from us you have the choice of buying our roses as bare roots or in pots. Neither option is superior, it is simply a matter of personal choice. Whichever option you choose, your roses are guaranteed to bloom next summer – and for many summers to come.

Please note: ramblers, once flowering Old Roses and species roses all flower on mature wood and therefore may not flower in the first year after planting.

Availability period: November – May

Bare root roses are dormant plants, dug up from the field and shipped without soil. They are the ideal choice if you’re purchasing a large number of roses, as they are very lightweight and are therefore easier to handle in the garden.

Availability period: All Year

Potted roses are the very same roses as bare root roses. After each rose is dug up from the field, it is planted into a 6 litre pot, with our specially formulated planting mix. They are ideal for adding instant colour to the garden during the summer months, as well as making thoughtful gifts throughout the year.

Q: Which roses can I grow in the shade? 
A: Please click here to see a list of roses that are ideal for shade.


Q: Which are the most fragrant roses? 
A: Please click here to see a list of our most fragrant roses.


Q: Do you have any thornless roses? 
A: Please click here to see a list of virtually thornless roses.


Q: Which roses can I grow in a pot? 
A: Please click here to see a list of roses that are ideal for growing in pots and containers.


Q: What should I do if I’ve received my bare root roses but I’m not ready to plant? 
A: If less than 3 weeks delay…

Store in a frost-free, cool place such as your garden shed or garage. Bare root plants will keep for up to three weeks tightly sealed in the paper sack and polythene bag without a problem. You may see new growth, particularly for orders delivered in March or later - this is a good sign.

If more than 3 weeks delay…

If you are expecting a longer delay before planting it is worth considering heeling in your plants. To do this, simply remove your plants from their paper sack and polythene bag, leave in their bundle tied together and dig a hole large enough to take the roots of your plant. Replace the soil to cover the roots. Water if conditions are going to be dry


Q: What should I do if I’ve received my potted roses but I’m not ready to plant? 
A: 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, as long as they are watered appropriately. The amount of watering required will depend on the time of year. See table below:

January Water once a week
April Water every day, except on days of heavy rain
September Water twice a week, unless weather is unreasonably warm or dry
November Water once a week


Q: When's the best time to plant roses? 
A: Aside from times of extreme weather, roses can be planted at any time during the year. The extreme weather conditions that we advise against planting in are when the ground is frozen, water-logged or during a drought. Often people ask, ‘when is the best time to plant’, but as long as you avoid the conditions mentioned, there really is no one best time to plant.


Q: How do I plant a rose in a large pot / what compost do I use? 
For best results, your pot should be at least 16” (40cm) deep and 16” (40cm) across. It is surprising how much difference a larger pot will make to the performance of your rose. As the growth of your rose is determined to a large extent by the size of the root, we always recommend as large a pot as possible. A larger pot will also retain moisture for longer, which is key to a healthy vigorous plant.

For the best results, we recommend a good quality peat based compost preferably with a slow release fertiliser, such as John Innes No. 3.

Step 1: Place small stones to cover the base of your pot to about 2” (5cm) to aid drainage.
Step 2: Hold your plant in the pot and see where the roots reach down to. You will want to cover all of the roots with compost.
Step 3: Remove the rose and fill with compost to this level.
Step 4: Place the plant back in the centre of the pot and add compost around the plant covering the roots. Aim to have the top of the roots about two inches below the top of your pot.
Step 5: Water well with about 5 litres of water


Q: How much space should I leave between roses? 
A: We suggest planting roses approximately 2' (60cm) apart.


Q: Can I plant where a rose has been planted before? 
A: If possible, we suggest that you avoid planting a rose in the same position. However, if you do decide to plant in the same location we recommend removing as much soil as possible and replacing with soil from a part your garden that has not grown roses before or buying top soil. As a guide, this needs to be a minimum of 2 feet deep (60cm) and 2 feet wide. Deeper and wider is better. We also recommend using our own David Austin Mycorrhizal Fungi to aid root development.


Q: Am I watering enough / overwatering? 
A: Please see our page on the Basics of Rose Growing to find out more about watering your roses.


Q: How often do I need to feed my roses? 
A: Please see our page on the Basics of Rose Growing to find out more about feeding your roses.


Q: How often should I spray my roses and with what? 
A: Please see our page on the Basics of Rose Growing to find out more about spraying your roses.


Q: When should I prune my roses? And how? 
A: For advice on pruning English Shrub Roses, please visit our page How to Prune an English Shrub Rose

For advice on pruning English Climbing Roses, please visit our page How to Prune an English Climbing Rose


Q: My rose has white powder on the leaves. What is this and is there a problem with the rose? 
This is most probably powdery mildew, a fungal disease of the foliage where a superficial fungal growth covers the surface of the plant.

Powdery mildew is caused by a certain combination of weather conditions. New young leaf growth is often more susceptible, until they have formed a hard surface that you find on a mature leaf.

Powdery mildew can also be caused by lack of moisture at the roots. For more information on how to water your roses, please visit our page on the Basics of Rose Growing.

This is not a disease that will kill your plant. However, it does risk deforming foliage and making your rose less attractive and possibly less vigorous.

Spraying – use Rose Clear

Mulching - will help to conserve the moisture in the ground. Apply this in April to retain what moisture is in the ground.


Q: My leaves are covered in black spots - what’s wrong? 
A: Most likely, your rose has been infected by a fungal disease known as black spot.

We advise treating black spot as soon as detected by spraying with Rose Clear


Q: My leaves are going yellow - what’s wrong? 
A: The cause is most likely to be either a lack of water or a lack of feed and possibly a combination of both. See Watering section for a guide to watering. See Feeding a Rose section.


Q: I bought roses from you last year and followed your planting instructions but they have not flowered. Why? 
A: The most likely cause is that it is a once flowering variety which will only start flowering in its second year in your garden, on older growth. Most of the true Old Roses (Gallicas, Damasks, Albas, Centifolias and Mosses), the ramblers and the species, and a few other assorted varieties, come under this heading. For the same reason that they won’t flower in your garden in the first year, they will also refuse to flower if you prune them too hard, so do cut them back relatively lightly.

If you haven’t bought one of the above, please ring us.


Q: The blooms on my rose tend to hang their heads. I thought that roses were meant to have upward-facing flowers? 
A: All roses take a few seasons to reach their mature shape and size. Large-flowered varieties, in particular, tend to get better over their first two or three years as the stems become thicker and provide greater support for their heavy blooms. Correct pruning is important where this problem occurs - see Pruning section. Feeding is also important - see Feeding Roses section. Follow the instructions carefully and do not overfeed, as this can produce more vigorous soft growth which can make the problem worse.

If you’re desperate for our more upward-facing varieties, we recommend Charlotte, Darcey Bussell, L. D. Braithwaite, Molineux, Port Sunlight, Queen Of Sweden or Sophy’s Rose. However, we do encourage gardeners to try some of the roses with nodding blooms as the effect on the mature shrub can be really delightful.


Q: My ‘fragrant’ rose has no smell? 
A: It is important to smell the flowers when fully open at different times of the day as the strength can vary greatly due to a number of factors such as temperature, sunlight, age of flower etc.

We find that most of our varieties have increased fragrance in warmer weather. Conversely, when the weather is cold fragrance is much reduced.

All the descriptions of the fragrances given in the catalogue, and on the website, are provided by an independent perfume expert who has been in the perfume trade all of his life and is well respected throughout the country. He does state that some fragrances such as the myrrh and tea are not picked up by some people.


Q: My flowers don’t open - what is wrong? 
A: The most common reason for blooms not opening is prolonged periods of damp and rainy weather. This is more likely to happen where you have blooms with a very high petal count.

In all other cases the most likely issues are a lack of water or feed or a combination of both. See Watering and Feeding sections for a how-to guide


Q: My flowers don’t last - what is wrong? 
A: You will find in general, the less petals the shorter the flowering time. This is usually compensated for by a higher number of blooms.

The main cause will be poor vigour, particularly when a rose is young. The solution is to make sure you feed and water well - see appropriate sections


Q: My rose is not the same colour as the catalogue/website photo? 
A: Please note that colours may variety depending on climates. The bloom colour commonly varies throughout its flowering period. Most blooms will fade with age.

Rose colours will vary with varying weather and growing conditions. High heat and strong sunlight will tend to fade colours. When a rose is not getting sufficient sunlight, less than 4 hours a day, this may also effect colour.

We normally find colours are stronger during the first flowering season of the year. This is when temperatures tend to be slightly lower and blooms have a longer time to form


Q: Why are the leaves falling off my rose? 
Watering is possibly the most important aspect of looking after your rose, particularly in the first two years. See our section on How to Water for more information.

Where soil is poor, which usually means it is very sandy, it is very likely that your soil will lack fertility. You will also need to feed 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.

Take a look at your freshly fallen leaves and see if they have any signs of black spot, rust or powdery mildew. If there are no signs the most likely cause a lack of water.


Q: My rose has got seven leaves. Is this a sucker? 
A: No. While most of the hybrid teas and floribundas have just 5 leaves, many of the roses belonging to the other groups have 7, 9 or even more leaflets. There are no hard and fast rules to distinguish a sucker but generally the leaves have 7 leaflets and are a rather pale green, as are the stems which are often smooth with few thorns. If they flower they will have 5 petals and will be a very pale blush white. Suckers come only from the rootstock on which the garden rose is budded and so will only come from below the bud union. The young growth from some roses can be very vigorous and look out of character and rather sucker-like, so do check carefully before cutting these otherwise you may well ruin the plant.


Q: What is the difference between a David Austin shrub or climbing rose for the garden and a David Austin cut rose? 
A: The difference is in their breeding programme - the collection of David Austin cut roses has been bred specifically for floristry and they are commercially grown in greenhouses. Unfortunately, they are not available to purchase as plants to grow outside in the garden.

However, the differences stop there. The cut roses have been directly inspired by David Austin’s acclaimed English Roses for the garden, and since 1995 David Austin and David Jnr have been working together to create this new range of cut roses. These 17 cut rose varieties are specially tailored to withstand the rigours of weddings and special events while retaining the extraordinary beauty and fragrance that set David Austin Roses apart from any other


Q: Where can I purchase David Austin cut roses for my wedding or as a gift bouquet? 
A: The David Austin cut roses are available from all good florists across the country. If your florist does not stock David Austin cut roses, they will be able to special order from their regular wholesaler. We always recommend that you give as much notice as possible to your florist so that they can order well in advance.

Alternatively, you can also contact The Real Flower Company who offer David Austin cut roses as well as retail bouquets and a wedding collection. For further information visit


Q: Do you have a brochure or further information about David Austin cut roses? 
A: We have a dedicated cut rose website, which provides details of each of the cut rose varieties:

You can also request a free brochure from the website and follow us on social media @davidaustinweddingroses.

We have published a book called ‘David Austin Wedding Roses’ that showcases some of the many magical moods that these exceptional cut roses are capable of creating with full colour photography of inspirational arrangements, atmospheres and wedding styles. It provides a host of bouquet ideas, colour themes and decorative designs. If you are a bride-to-be, floral designer or simply love roses, this is a book for you:

You can also contact us by calling 0800 111 4699 or sending your enquiry by email to


Q: How do I give feedback about my experience with David Austin Roses? 
A: You can contact us on 0800 111 4699, email or leave a review on our Trustpilot page. If there is an issue you would like to discuss please do contact us.