Rose care is easier than you think, provided that you follow a few simple tips and tricks. To help you on your way, we’ve pieced together this care guide for roses to tell you all you need to know.
Planting your roses in a sunny location that ensures good drainage, fertilizing them regularly to promote impressive flowers, and watering them evenly to ensure the soil is moist, are among the key actions to take. When it gets to early spring, prune established rose bushes and keep an eye out for diseases like powdery mildew or black spot too.
If you’ve been afraid to start your own rose garden, you’ll be pleased to know that roses are just as easy to care for as other flowering shrubs. Modern rose bushes are as beautiful as they are resilient and can thrive in a wide range of growing conditions.
Know your roots
You can purchase roses either as dormant bare-root plants or buy them already potted in soil. Each type has its advantages. If you’re new to the world of rose growing, container roses are a better option and are easier to plant and establish quickly. They can also be purchased at a variety of local nurseries or at online florists throughout the growing season. This will allow you to plant them when climate conditions are ideal.
One of the biggest benefits of bare-root roses is the larger selection available. In addition, bare-root plants are a convenient and economical way to order plants online that you otherwise can’t find at a local garden center. Unlike container roses, bare-root plants do need to have their roots soaked in water overnight before being placed in the ground, and the roots must be kept moist the first few months post-planting them.
For first-time rose growers, a potted rose may be worth the additional cost, especially if you are looking for a particular rose variety. Just rely on our care guide for roses to ensure you don’t forget any of the key growth stages.
Don’t overdo it
There are various classes of roses to choose from, which range from micro-miniatures to grandifloras to climbing roses and ground covers, with some classes boasting hundreds of additional varieties. While it may be tempting to fill your rose garden with a wide assortment of different varieties, it’s, in fact, a good idea to stick to the one type, as if not, you may end up with a disorderly display and too many plants fighting for space. A few well-chosen varieties will give you far more satisfaction than an assortment of mismatched plants that don’t complement each other.
Pick the right location
For the healthiest blooms and the best show of flowers, it’s important to pick a spot that receives six to eight hours of sunlight per day. In particularly hot climates, roses thrive well when they are protected from the hot afternoon sun. In colder climates, plant rose bushes next to a south or west-facing fence or a wall, as this helps to shelter them and can minimize winter freeze damage.
Roses also enjoy rich, well-drained soil that is high in organic matter. For best results, combine peat moss with heavy clay soil or other organic matter to improve drainage. In lean, sandy soils, add compost to the mix as this will help to retain moisture near the plant’s roots.
Time it right
The best time to plant roses is during the spring, after the last frost. Alternatively, plant your roses when the leaves begin to fall and at least six weeks before the average first frost in your area. This will allow the roots enough time to bury into the soil before the plants go dormant over the winter months.
Bare-root roses are traditionally available in early spring and should be planted as soon as you bring them home. Roses growing in pots offer much more flexibility when it comes to planting time as you can place them into the ground whenever the climate conditions are agreeable. For best results, plant your roses on a cloudy, calm day as planting on a sunny, hot day or during high summer heat can cause them unnecessary stress.
One of the key points in our care guide for roses relates to how you plant them. If you wish to get your roses off to a good start, and irrespective of whether you are planting pot roses or bare-root roses, you need to dig a hole that is both deep enough and wide enough to accommodate the plant’s roots. It also needs to allow for good drainage – roses don’t like wet feet. If you are planting several rose bushes side by side, it’s important to space them at least three feet apart to give the plant plenty of growing room as it matures.
Combine a good amount of garden compost, peat moss, or another type of organic matter with the soil that was taken from the planting hole. Use a little of this mixture at the base of the planting hole before placing the rose bush into the hole. The plant’s crown should sit at ground level in milder climates and around two to three inches below ground level in colder climates.
Fill part of the hole with the soil mixture and add a slow-release fertilizer to the mix. Water thoroughly, and finish by adding the remaining soil. Water again, then mound loose soil around the canes to protect the rose while it adjusts to its new home.
To create an impressive show of blooms, a rose requires plenty of high-quality fertilizer. Organic methods ensure a slow, solid supply of nutrients. Monthly applications of composted manure, compost and other organic and natural fertilizers. Organic adjustments also help to boost beneficial soil microbes and create a well-balanced soil pH.
Slow-release fertilizers supply the correct balance of phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium and other nutrients that give rose bushes the nourishment they require for the ultimate growth. For newly planted bare-root shrubs, add organic amendments to the soil when planting, then wait until after the shrub has shown its first flowers to apply full-strength fertilizers so that you don’t burn the new roots.
Roses thrive when soil moisture is kept consistent throughout the growing season. The frequency and amount of watering will depend on the soil you use and the climate you live in. Roses planted in sandy soils require more watering than those planted in heavier clay soils. Hot, windy, and dry conditions will also dry out roses quickly. When watering roses, use a soaker hose for best results, as this will help you to deliver water directly to the roots while avoiding the leaves.