Roses are not only the quintessential romantic flower but a wonderful plant for your garden. The number of varieties is astounding with some being more picky to care for than others. Shrubs and some crawlers are pretty hardy while others need more attention and care. Here, we’re going to go over some tips to help you grow the most beautiful roses, no matter the variety.
Planting and Space
When choosing a place for a new rose plant, make sure it gets as much sun as possible. At least 6-8 hours worth. Some can handle partial shade, but generally, the more sun, the better. Roses can be bought as rootstocks or in containers. When planting them in the ground make sure your hole is bigger than the rootball but no deeper. Roses need lots of space to keep air circulating around it. This keeps the plant healthy and more free from common diseases. Roses love at least 3 feet of space around them to breathe and grow. It’s best to plant in mid to late fall or early spring. New plants should not be planted until after the threat of freezes has passed. The ideal kind of soil for roses is fairly extensive so it gets its own section next.
Roses want a rich soil that has lots of room and is well-draining. It is important that roses stay well watered to best produce the most blooms. The ideal pH for the soil should be around 6.5. It should also be rich in nutrients. You can do this with chemical rose food available where plants are sold, or with natural ingredients from your kitchen.
If you need to raise the pH of your soil try coffee grounds, or fruit and veggie peels. Bananas and alfalfa are especially touted as being beneficial to roses. If you need to lower the pH it’s best to do so slowly over the course of a few months. However, you can also add eggshells, ground seafood shells, or hardwood ashes. If you choose to fertilize, or if your plants need an extra boost it’s best to do it once in early spring and then once more mid-Summer. Finally, always surround your roses with mulch. It keeps the soil healthier and keeps moisture in around the roots and away from the rest of the plant.
Roses LOVE water at their roots. This encourages deep root growth, making the plant more hardy and better at soaking up nutrients. The leaves and flowers should be kept fairly dry though so they don’t promote diseases and mildew. The plant itself should only be sprayed down to remove parasites or rinse away parasite spray after it’s sat for a while. New rose plants need to be watered often to promote growth and get their roots established. Hardier old growth can sometimes survive on rainfall alone, though watering more often will encourage more blooms.
Roses should always be pruned. This is what encourages more growth from the plant. It’s best to do a full pruning early in the spring after the threat of freezing has passed. Cut away anything dead and trim back living branches. Keep in mind how you trim the living parts of the plant so that it doesn’t get crowded. As mentioned above, roses need lots of air circulating around the whole plant. If two branches grow too close together it can make them sick.
If you have a continuously blooming rose plant, deadhead any faded blooms to promote new blooms. Everlasting blooms that bloom once and last a few months can be trimmed back after they die. Trim the stem back to the first leaf. Sometimes this trimming will result in the stem splitting and producing two blooms! It’s best to stop any and all pruning a few weeks before the first freeze of the year. You don’t want to encourage new growth that might freeze and damage the plant.
In winter only the roots need to be kept safe. Keep the base covered in mulch and you can even wrap plastic around the base of the plant if you want. The rest of the plant and goes dormant, literally freezing for the winter.
There are many rose varieties these days are bred to be not only beautiful and fragrant but also disease-resistant. Look for the Buxom Beauty, Caribbean Dawn, or Red Finesse. Still, many fall prey to fungal infections or bugs. For most fungal infections like the common Blackspot, you’ll need a good anti-fungal spray from a plant store. You can even use a copper spray as a natural anti-fungal agent. First, you need to cut away the most infected parts of the plant. Then cover the entire plant in your anti-fungal spray. Tops, bottoms and all around. It may not look great that season, but once the infection is cleared the rose will have great growth in coming years.
For most bug problems, like Aphids, if there aren’t too many you can try and wash them away with a good stream of water. Then you can use a commercial insecticide made for that purpose and cover the whole plant. A simple homemade spray can be made to protect the plant. Mix together one tablespoon of dish soap, one tablespoon of vegetable oil, and mix in a gallon of water and spray on the plant. Let it sit for a few hours then rinse the plant with a spray of water.
If you end up spraying the plant with water, keep an eye on it to make sure it dries properly. Leaving the leaves and flowers wet can encourage other diseases like Powdery Mildew and Botrytis Blight. These will require further treatments such as cutting away diseased portions of the plant and spraying it with antifungal medicine.
Keeping Roses Beautiful
Roses are beautiful and often times fragrant plants that are a wonderful addition to any garden. It’s not too difficult to make sure they are happy and healthy. And once they are, they will reward you with plenty of beautiful flowers. Be sure to note any particularities of your specific type of rose, plant it in a sunny area with rich soil it loves, and keep it pruned and deadheaded. Keep it happy and you’ll never have to buy a bouquet of roses again!
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