Roses are hardy plants so can cope with unfavourable conditions. However, in order to thrive groundcover roses prefer a sunny spot in a well-drained fertile soil. Some will cope with partial shade.
Ground cover roses will cope with life in a large container as long as it's generously sized and the compost soil-based.
Ground cover roses make the perfect gift. With such a long flowering season and neat habit when young, they look tempting at the garden centre when container-grown. If purchasing as a potted plant don’t be tempted to leave plants in their sale pot. Pot on to a much larger pot or plant directly in the garden.
Bare-root plants are purchased in autumn and winter – this is often how specialist nurseries send out mail-order roses. Plant bare-root roses on a dry, frost-free day as soon as possible. Dig a hole at least twice the depth and width of the root ball and add in some well-rotted organic matter. Tease out the roots and place the plant in the hole. Ensure that they are planted at the same depth as they were in the pot, or look for a soil mark on the plant as a guide.
Backfill and firm in place with your heel and water in well.
As ground cover roses sprawl across the soil, they may root as they grow. It tends to be the relatives of Rosa wichuraiana that behave in this way. The easiest way to propagate them is to look for a rooted stem in spring or autumn and cut the stem free of the parent plant, dig up the new roots and pot on.
To encourage stems to root, pin a section of stem to the ground and cover it with soil.
Roses should not be planted in the ground were another rose previously lived. Rose replant disease is a little understood problem, but plants often struggle to thrive.
As with all other roses ground cover roses can be prone to black spot, aphids, dieback and powdery mildew. However, good garden hygiene will reduce the risk of infection. Clear up fallen leaves and prune with clean secateurs.
As many ground cover roses are modern varieties a large number will display a resistance to common rose problems.
Shrubby types require very little, if any, pruning. Prune out dead, diseased and damaged wood in March. Some gardeners simply run a pair of garden shears over the plant after flowering.
For the rambling types, which throw out stems that spread metres, pruning may be required after flowering. Reduce the length of stems by cutting just above an upward-facing bud. This will keep the plants in their allotted space.
Where space is not an issue you can get away without pruning regularly.