Roses are esteemed by a great number of people for being the true jewels os the garden; and as such, the growing of roses is the goal of many a gardener. By the same token, however, many assume that because these plants are so beautiful and majestic they must be difficult to cultivate. In actuality, roses are no more troublesome than any other garden flower, and they can flourish if the proper steps are taken and they are given a measure of gentle care.
The most popular and well-known roses are the hybrid teas, with their long stems and spiral center to the flower. Some gardeners attest that floribundas produce a richer and stronger perfume, however. These kinds of roses bloom from June until the onset of a hard frost. Shrub roses are probably the most hardy variety: they can endure cold winters, and are very resistant to disease. Mini roses are truly a marvel. They exhibit many of the characteristics of other roses but on a much smaller scale. All and all, there are hundreds of varieties of roses available at any given time. Only a handful of these, however, will be ideally suited for the particular climate your experience and the type of soil you have. For this reason, it’s a good idea to research of inquire at a nursery about the most suitable roses for your area before you begin trying to grow them.
Your first consideration in choosing your planting site should be the available sunlight. Roses require anywhere from 5 to 8 hours of sunlight daily, though some shrubs and climbers are able to thrive in more shaded areas. You will also want to plant your roses in well-drained soil. Though they need to be well watered, constant moisture can cause root rot or even drown them. If you can’t find a good natural area of your landscape, you might consider planting in a raised bed or mix some small stones into your planting holes to help with drainage.
The best times to plant roses are in the fall or early spring. A hole that’s 2 feet in circumference and 2 feet deep will be adequate for large roses; a hole half this size will suffice for minis. Soak your roses’ roots overnight in a bucket beforehand. Then, fill the first half of the hole with composted soil and/ or manure. Water this thoroughly. Fill the remainder of the area, around your rose plant, with soil and fertilizer and then compact it (to remove air pockets). Fertilizers that work well with roses include bone meal, sea kelp and fish fertilizer. The soil that roses grow in should be fertilized twice per growing season. Most garden centers also offer all purpose rose foods, which many gardeners find to be completely sufficient for the plants’ needs.
Water your roses once a wekk – deeply, and at the roots. Avoid wetting the leaves, as moisture there can promote fungus like mildew and blackspot. For this reason, it may be wise to water in the morning, so that the sun has a chance to evaporate what moisture does get on the leaves. You may need to increase the regularity of your waterings when it’s particularly hot and dry outside.
Keep an eye out for signs of disease and/or pests. Aphids and Japanese beetles are two insects that commonly plague roses. You may be able to control these pests without resorting to insecticides, however. A good spray with a garden hose can kill off aphids (they’re tiny and frail) – but again, do this when the sun is out and the leaves will have a chance to dry. Insects like ladybugs are also helpful in a rose garden, as aphids are a staple of their diet. Garlic plants can serve as a deterent for Japanese beetles.
For upkeep, it’s beneficial to have some good pruning shears and gardening gloves (remember, the rose is beauty with thorns). Cut any damaged or dead branches and dead or dying stems as soon as you notice them.
Most roses are hardy and can endure exposed and windy places. However, they’ll benefit in the winter months if you protect their roots with a small pile (about 5 or 6 inches) of straw, wood chips, or some other kind or organic mulch.