How Much Water Do Roses Need? [Inc. Watering Techniques]

How much water do rose bushes need? Roses are a beautiful flower from the dicot family, and even though they grow on somewhat woody stalks, they do love water. Whether you're growing them in containers or beds, it's essential to know their requirements for care so that you can enjoy beautiful, fragrant blooms.

Close-up of a female hand spraying plant roses, How much water do roses need? [Inc. watering techniques]

Roses love water, but like many plants, there's no exact prescription for the amount of water they need. Much will depend upon your climate, your geographical location, and the variety of rose.

Let's take a look and see just what roses need when it comes to water. We'll also look at some ways to troubleshoot to keep from overwatering.

The Best Way To Water Roses

The first thing to do is to make sure your roses are planted with enough drainage. It is recommended to put a handful of gravel at the bottom of the hole you've dug for your shrub so that excess water won't pool on the roots. The second thing is to create a basin of soil around the base of your rose bush. This basin will hold enough water to allow it to soak deeply into the roots.

A tool you might consider purchasing is a soil moisture probe. You can then stick this about 2" down into the soil below your rose bush and tell immediately if it's been overwatered, is too dry and needs water, or is perfectly moist.

This one is available on Amazon.

Use Drip Irrigation For Perfect Watering Of Roses

Because roses like deep watering and prefer to keep their foliage dry, you might consider using drip irrigation to help keep them at the perfect moisture content. These hoses circle the base of the plants and only let out as much water as the ground can absorb. It will also keep water from inadvertently getting sprayed on your rose's leaves or blooms, which can lead to disease. These systems are particularly helpful if you live in a dry, hot climate. Though they may take a bit of planning to install, the reward comes by not having to worry about constant watering of your rose bushes.

This is a good intro level irrigation system that most home gardeners can install on their own. It comes with everything you need to water 700 square feet of coverage.

Click here for this kit on Amazon.

If drip irrigation feels too complicated, but you still don't want to stand there holding a hose, then you might consider a soaker hose. These hoses release water directly onto the soil and can be woven in and out between your rose bushes. You will, however, need to stay close by to turn it off when the ground becomes saturated.

This Soil Soaker hose can be found here on Amazon.

Can Roses Be Overwatered?

Roses typically love water, but like any plant, it is possible to overwater them. One of the main tricks with watering rose bushes is to do it long and deep. That means, let the ground saturate, and the water soaks into the soil about 2-3". The best time to do this is early in the morning so that the heat and sun don't steal your rose bushes' liquid. Deep watering promotes deep root systems, whereas shallow watering encourages shallow root systems.

It's important to avoid spraying the foliage when watering the rose bush. Too much moisture on the leaves can make them susceptible to disease and fungus. This is especially true on overcast days. (It is okay to spray off the foliage about once a week to get rid of any dust or mites.)

How Can You Tell If Roses Are Overwatered? 

If you worry you've overwatered your roses, there are a couple of ways to tell. If you stick your finger into the soil around your rose bush and it comes back muddy (a bit after watering), that's a sign it doesn't have enough drainage for its roots. If that's the case, you may want to dig out around it and add some mulch and gravel. Another way to tell if your rose bush is getting too much water is if the leaves start to yellow and feel soft. If they're yellow and crispy, that means they don't have enough water.

How Long Can Rose Bushes Go Without Water?

This is one of those questions that has no simple answer. Just like how much water, how long without water depends on your climate and the types of roses you've planted. Also, the season. In the winter months, your rose bushes can probably do fine going without watering as long as you're not in drought. In temperate summer climates, if your rose bushes are well-established, they can often go for a week without water if they have a deep root system and are well-mulched. In arid or exceptionally hot climates, you may not be able to go more than a day or two without water.

Your roses can be susceptible to heat stress, so if your temps are consistently in the 90-100's, you're going to want to hit them with the water hose every morning to keep them from wilting and growing sick.

In Conclusion About Watering Roses

A few tips to remember when thinking about watering your roses: start with proper planting, meaning plenty of drainage and a catch basin of soil to help retain moisture at the roots. Water deeply and check to make sure your soil is moist at least 2" down into the ground. Check your soil moisture more frequently during high heat times of the year. Try to avoid watering the foliage, and finally, use plenty of mulch to assist the soil in staying hydrated.

Good luck as you proceed with your roses. They are some of our favorite flowers, and when they're adequately grown, they can be amazingly rewarding. Between the gorgeous blooms and their incredible fragrance, they're worth any amount of work to keep them happy. If you enjoyed this article, please check out these other articles here at below:

Are Roses Deer-Resistant? [And How to Protect Your Roses From Deer]

Do Roses Need Sun Or Do They Grow In Shade?

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