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Friday, March 18, 2011

Rose Care

When I first started studying Horticulture I didn't really think much of Roses. To me they were just spiny, diseased and gawky looking plants with an occasional nice flower. Then I started growing them and everything changed. I discovered the many varieties of Roses from ultra fragrant to ultra vibrant. Wow! I fell in love.

These days I usually have at least one scratch from rose thorns and always have one of our Roses blooming even in the winter.
I am amazed at how tough the plants are and what they become over time. As the plants age the trunks and branches become thick and tough supporting big plants with numerous blossoms mostly in spring but on and off all the time. At this point Roses are like candy to me and I never tire of trying new varieties and pouring over catalogs. So what does it take to grow lovely, healthy Roses? Well, some fairly general stuff.

First of all- Roses are not drought tolerant. They need consistent water throughout the year.
Let the area dry out in between watering and soak deeply 2-3 times a week.

Roses need sun- at least 6 hours. Hot reflexion off building is not great for them and burns them so it is better to have them out in an open area. Climbers can be on walls but use a trellis to allow for air circulation.

When planting use lots of compost and dig a big hole. If using bareroot roses follow planting instructions carefully being sure to poke in areas around roots with your hands or a broom handle to fill in air gaps around roots.

Feed them. They like rose food or slow release fertilizer. Follow label directions and water in well so roots don't get burned. Feed roses at least once a year in early spring.

Dead head old flowers. Cut back spent blossoms to the first 5 leafed stalk consistently to perpetuate bloom.

Prune back in January. Always prune Roses in the dormant season removing dead wood, shortening canes and cutting crossing branches. For climbers leave the main canes and cut back lateral branches to 3-4 buds. Miniature roses and floral carpet roses just need a little thinning and to be cut back about 4-6" at all branch ends. Pruning revitalizes the plants and keeps them full.

Don't crowd them. Over crowding causes areas of poor air circulation where diseases and pests can live.

Choose the best quality plants. Don't buy your roses from Home Depot! Order first quality Roses from Jackson and Perkins. They are the best and will do very well in the garden.

Enjoy and love them- they like that best!