Rose Tips and Tricks

Lady Ryder of Warsaw rich crimson red roses – modern british shrub by Harkness

By far, roses are some of the most difficult and rewarding flowering shrubs to grow. Rose colors can range from white, yellow, orange, pink, and red. Some of the most popular rose types are:

Bush Roses: these roses tend to grow quickly and abundantly. Many, are more disease resistant than the hybrid teas, floribunda, and Grandiflora varieties. Creeping Roses: these tend to grow fairly quickly and lay closer to the ground.
Climbing Roses: These roses climb like a vine and include the Georgia State Flower, the Cherokee Rose.
Hybrid Tea, Floribunda, and Grandiflora: These are the types I am going to cover in this blog. These tend to be the most finicky and disease-prone. If you put the time and effort into the reward will be big, beautiful, and wonderfully fragrant blooms.

There are several strategies that can be observed to help ensure successful rose growth. One of the easiest things to do to ensure proper location and soil composition is to grow your roses in a raised bed or containers. Choose a wide-open area that gets plenty of suns. I had the best of luck growing my rose in a container. This enabled me to control the soils and location of the rose bush.

Rose bushes grow best in an area with slightly acidic, well-drained soil that gets plenty of sunshine. The best weather to plant a rose bush is a windless, overcast day in the early Spring. Planting in the early spring allows plenty of time for the roots to establish themselves during the upcoming growing season. When planting a rose be absolutely sure to dig a hole that is large enough to allow the roots to spread out in their natural form. Roses should be planted with the bud union (where the graft is generally) above the soil in a warmer climate and no further than 1”-2” in colder climes. All roses need to be firmly planted. To accommodate this need, place the plant into the hole, fill in some soil, and pack firmly with your foot every couple of inches until the hole is filled. This forces the roots into contact with the soil around them.

During the growing season, I recommend daily maintenance and observation of your rose bushes. This allows you to be on top of the maintenance and quickly catch any diseases that roses can acquire. Deadheading rose blooms to encourage new flowers to form. When deadheading; cut the flower stalk back to the first leaf with five leaflets. Monitor your roses for disease problems throughout the growing season. Roses are susceptible to numerous disease problems (too numerous for me to cover in this blog!) but some of the most common are aphids, powdery mildew, and black spot. Any leaves with black spots can be removed and disposed of away from the bushes or you run the risk of contamination of other plants. I recommend picking up a book with pictures of the disease problems so they can be identified and taken care of.

The first year after planting roses should not be fertilized. This helps them come to terms with the soil they are planted in. In subsequent years fertilization should begin as soon as new growth is seen and should not be continued past August. I have had great success with Osmocote scratched into the soil. Fertilization after each blooming period is recommended because it encourages new blooming. Mulch the ground around your Rose’s roots to insulate them from changes in temperature and to retain moisture.

Pruning should occur late in the dormant season, after the last hard frost (be very sure of this!) and when the buds start to swell. Make sure that your pruning shears are extremely sharp and that you have invested in some thick leather gloves. Pruning cuts should be above a bud that is facing outward from the main stem. The cut should also slope away from the bud in order to encourage water to drain in the opposite direction. Regular pruning techniques otherwise apply. You want to eliminate weak branches, dead branches, rubbing branches, and branches that are growing inward. Also, prune to maintain the bush’s shape and form.

That about covers the basics of Rose Gardening, and I do mean the basics. If you have any questions feel free to ask and I will do my best to give you an answer.