Tips for Growing Roses
As a service to our readers, we bring you a list of rose gardening tips, to help make your roses the “Best on the Block”. Roses are the worlds favorite plant and it has been that way for centuries but lately, with our busy lives and the ever smaller garden, gardeners have started to shy away from what is being perceived as, ‘difficult to grow successfully’.
These rose gardening tips have to be general but we hope they will make rose gardening the pleasure it should be. Please adapt the suggestions for your particular climate. Any rose growing tips must always take into account each persons particular growing zone, and your own gardens micro-climate.
Our rose gardening tips are divided into two parts. The first deals with plantings in outside rose beds and the second deals with plantings in containers; whether they be oak barrels, pots, cement planters, urns, old wheelbarrows or old boots! We hope to add to them. Your suggestions are always welcome!
Rose Growing Tips for the Rose Bed
Location for planting is everything! It should be easily worked and drain well. No puddles and lots of fiber.
They need sun. Six hours a day in the growing season, but when temperatures hit the high 80’s be prepared to provide some shade protection as the blooms will wilt and lose color.
Pick the correct rose in the first place to avoid problems later. Is it the correct size for the space? Is it disease resistant? Do you want easy-grow or a show bloom rose? Has it room to climb if it’s a climber? How does it rate on the ARS scale? Do some homework and give you and the rose bush a fighting chance!
Plant in a hole twice the size of the root ball. (More on bare root next!) Add fiber and a small handful of fertilizer. Make sure the joint between the branches and the root ball is at ground level…slightly deeper if you live in an area with VERY cold winters. Pack the soil in the hole with your heel. Soak well with warm water…. press with your heel to eliminate air pockets and water again.
Bare root roses should be soaked in a bucket of water (or a wheelbarrow full!) for at least 12 hours before planting. Then plant the same way except for making sure the roots are spread out in the hole like a fan.
Bare root roses are generally planted in the fall and root ball roses in the spring but this will depend on your climate zone.
If you have a choice, bury some soaker hoses between the bushes. Then you can water well, without getting water on the leaves.
Cut the blooms for decoration and remove any that die on the stem. Cut the dead ones just below the bloom (appropriately called ..deadheading!) until all on the one stem have been removed, and then take that stem back a little. Small bushes take about 6 inches while the bigger ones can take an arms length.
Add a small handful of fertilizer twice a year. Once in spring to get them started and once mid-season to ensure late blooming. Never apply fertilizer in the fall as you will need your roses to go dormant for a time.
Colder climates, say zones 6 and below, need a blanket. Not a real blanket but a blanket of soil, manure, leaves, straw or whatever, to mound up around the base of the stems for winter protection against the cold. Northern Canada gardeners completely bury theirs for protection!
In spring, remove your mounded ‘blanket’if you have one and prune away the dead wood stems. Also cut back all the stems to about 24 inches, and try to cut just above an outward facing bud. If you can grow forsythia in your garden this will tell you when to prune in the spring….just wait for the yellow forsythia flowers to begin opening, and away you clip!
Tips For Growing Roses in Containers
Make sure you fill your containers with good, fresh soil. Ideally it should be 50% number four potting soil and 50% good quality garden soil plus a handful of rose fertilizer. Do not use all garden soil or all potting soil because the former tends to be heavy and hold way to much water and the latter has no “body” to hold the nutrients.
Make sure you have drainage holes in the base of the container and that they do not become blocked.
Containers should be about twice the size of the plants root-ball. They need room to grow and have enough soil to hold the nutrients required.
Place the containers where they will get good sunshine but be ready to move them when the mid summer sun hits the high eighties. Hot, scorching sun will dry out the pots and the blooms will lose color.It is a good idea to have movable pots on wheels, for these exact reasons.
Move the containers against a south facing wall during the winter. If you live in an area that has extreme winters you may have to cover the container with leaves or straw, for the winter.
Make sure you leave a few inches from the top of the soil to the top of the pot. This allows water to sit for a short while as it percolates through the pot.
If the container is made of clay, soak the outside of the pot as well because water is drawn from the root-ball out through the walls of the clay pot.
Do not forget that roses (especially miniatures) can be grown successfully in hanging baskets! Just make sure the basket is big enough to hold a good amount of soil and that you prune out the upward growing stems and encourage the side ones.