Rose care is easier than you think—anyone can grow them successfully.
Rose Care: A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Roses
Plant your roses in a sunny location with good drainage. Fertilize them regularly for impressive flowers. Water them evenly to keep the soil moist. Prune established rose bushes in early spring. And watch for diseases like powdery mildew or black spot. To help gardeners who may not have grown roses before, Bedard shares some of his expert tips for successfully growing the queens of the flower garden.
You can purchase roses already potted in soil or as dormant bare-root plants. Each type has its benefits. They can also be purchased at local nurseries throughout the growing season, allowing you to plant them when climate conditions are ideal. Bare-root roses, which arrive dormant, offer the widest selection of varieties, but also require more TLC in the months after planting. Photo by: Weeks Roses. One of the biggest advantages of bare-root roses is the greater selection of varieties available.
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Unlike container roses, however, bare-root plants need to have their roots soaked overnight in water before going in the ground, and the roots must be kept moist the first few months after planting. There are numerous classes of roses, ranging from micro-miniatures to grandifloras and from groundcovers to climbing roses, with some classes containing hundreds of varieties.
While it may be tempting to fill your rose garden with a wide assortment, you are likely to end up with a disorderly array and too many plants for the space. See our Tips for Buying the Perfect Rose. Limiting the number of rose varieties you grow will help you avoid creating a disorderly and mismatched array. For the best show of flowers and the healthiest plants, rose bushes should receive six to eight hours of sunlight daily.
In especially hot climates, roses do best when they are protected from the hot afternoon sun. In cold climates, planting a rose bush next to a south- or west-facing fence or wall can help minimize winter freeze damage.
Roses also thrive when planted in well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. In heavy clay soil, mix in compost , peat moss, and other organic matter to improve drainage. The best time to plant roses is in the spring, after the last frost, or in the fall at least six weeks before the average first frost in your area. This gives the roots enough time to burrow into the soil before the plants go dormant over the winter. Bare-root roses are typically available only in early spring and should be planted soon after you bring them home.
Roses growing in containers give you more flexibility in planting time and can go into the ground whenever climate conditions are agreeable. The size of the hole in which you plant your roses is one of the key factors to getting them off to a good start. If you are planting several rose bushes together, space them at least 3 feet apart to give the plant ample growing room as it matures. When planting roses, dig a deep, wide hole that allows for proper drainage and leaves room for root growth. Mix a generous amount of garden compost, peat moss, or other organic matter with the soil that was removed from the planting hole.
Use some of this mixture at the bottom of the planting hole and place the rose bush in the hole. Fill the hole partially with the soil mixture and add a slow-release fertilizer.
Water thoroughly, and then finish filling the hole with the remaining soil. Water again, then mound loose soil around the canes to protect the rose while it acclimates to its new site. To produce an impressive show of flowers, a rose bush needs to be fertilized regularly.
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Organic methods provide a slow, steady supply of nutrients. Monthly applications of compost, composted manure, and other organic and natural fertilizers, such as this organic fish emulsion , work well.
Organic amendments also help to encourage beneficial soil microbes and a well-balanced soil pH. Slow-release fertilizers, like Jobe's Organic Fertilizer Spikes , supply the right balance of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and other minor nutrients and also give rose bushes the nourishment they need for optimum growth. Whatever type of fertilizer you use, be sure to follow the product label for quantity and frequency of application. Roses do best when soil moisture is kept uniform throughout the growing season. The amount and frequency of watering will depend on your soil type and climate.
Roses growing in sandy soils will need more watering than those in heavier clay soils. Each petal is divided into two distinct lobes and is usually white or pink, though in a few species yellow or red. Beneath the petals are five sepals or in the case of some Rosa sericea , four. These may be long enough to be visible when viewed from above and appear as green points alternating with the rounded petals. There are multiple superior ovaries that develop into achenes.
Roses: Planting, Growing, and Pruning Roses | The Old Farmer's Almanac
The aggregate fruit of the rose is a berry-like structure called a rose hip. Many of the domestic cultivars do not produce hips, as the flowers are so tightly petalled that they do not provide access for pollination.
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The hips of most species are red, but a few e. Rosa pimpinellifolia have dark purple to black hips. Each hip comprises an outer fleshy layer, the hypanthium , which contains 5— "seeds" technically dry single-seeded fruits called achenes embedded in a matrix of fine, but stiff, hairs.
Starting A Rose Garden – Caring For Rose Bushes
Rose hips of some species, especially the dog rose Rosa canina and rugosa rose Rosa rugosa , are very rich in vitamin C , among the richest sources of any plant. The hips are eaten by fruit-eating birds such as thrushes and waxwings , which then disperse the seeds in their droppings. Some birds, particularly finches , also eat the seeds.
The sharp growths along a rose stem, though commonly called "thorns", are technically prickles , outgrowths of the epidermis the outer layer of tissue of the stem , unlike true thorns, which are modified stems. Rose prickles are typically sickle-shaped hooks, which aid the rose in hanging onto other vegetation when growing over it. Some species such as Rosa rugosa and Rosa pimpinellifolia have densely packed straight prickles, probably an adaptation to reduce browsing by animals, but also possibly an adaptation to trap wind-blown sand and so reduce erosion and protect their roots both of these species grow naturally on coastal sand dunes.
Growing Information on Roses
Despite the presence of prickles, roses are frequently browsed by deer. A few species of roses have only vestigial prickles that have no points. Roses are best known as ornamental plants grown for their flowers in the garden and sometimes indoors. They have been also used for commercial perfumery and commercial cut flower crops. Some are used as landscape plants, for hedging and for other utilitarian purposes such as game cover and slope stabilization.
The majority of ornamental roses are hybrids that were bred for their flowers. A few, mostly species roses are grown for attractive or scented foliage such as Rosa glauca and Rosa rubiginosa , ornamental thorns such as Rosa sericea or for their showy fruit such as Rosa moyesii. Ornamental roses have been cultivated for millennia, with the earliest known cultivation known to date from at least BC in Mediterranean countries, Persia , and China.
Most are double-flowered with many or all of the stamens having mutated into additional petals. In the early 19th century the Empress Josephine of France patronized the development of rose breeding at her gardens at Malmaison. As long ago as a collection numbering over one thousand different cultivars, varieties and species was possible when a rosarium was planted by Loddiges nursery for Abney Park Cemetery , an early Victorian garden cemetery and arboretum in England.