No other flower carries as much mystique as the rose. Unmatched in symbolism, beauty and boldness, roses hold a special place in our lives. Everyone loves roses. They have a magical quality about them that hints of sweetness, perfection and strength. But they also have the reputation of being difficult to grow. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, even a novice gardener can reap the rewards of growing these hardy perennial plants.
Choosing the perfect rose
Roses come in many sizes, shapes, colors and clusters for every conceivable occasion and purpose. Try one of these suggestions:
- Miniature roses can edge a walkway
- hybrid teas in a bouquet will impress a loved one
- multifloras are the perfect size for a flower girl’s posie
- climbing roses will decorate the side of a house while providing heady fragrance for those relaxing on the porch swing
Buying a rose
Roses can be bought “bare-root” or “container-grown”, and it doesn’t matter which way you buy them.
Characteristics of Bare Root:
- Early in the season you can find these at local garden centers and nurserys
- Not established in any soil
- Don’t have foliage or blooms when purchased
- Usually less expensive than container-grown plants
Characteristics of Container-grown roses:
- Can be found through the growing season
- Plants come in all stages of growth, some with blooms some with out
- Roses love sunlight! Choose a cheery spot that gets plenty of sun, preferably early in the day. The morning sun helps dry the foliage faster to avoid growth of diseases such as black spot or powdery mildew.
- Spacing counts! Place the bushes slightly apart (at least 24 inches) gives the plants room to grow and allows the wind to “air dry” the foliage as well.
- Good soil makes a difference. For strong root growth, it’s always a good idea to improve the soil in a garden. For great results, try soil for roses, which is enriched with bone meal to help promote healthy roots. If you are just adding one rosebush to an existing garden bed, simply mix garden soil for roses in the soil from the planting hold.
- Roses should be planted so that the bud union (that knobby swollen part at the base of the stem) is at ground level (or 1 inch below in northern climates). Usually, this means that the hole should be 12 to 15 inches deep and 15 to 24 inches wide.
Feeding your roses
Feeding and watering your new garden additions will ensure an abundance of exhibition-type roses. Rose foods which are high in phosphorus and low in nitrogen, will encourage the best blooming activity. Because this is a water-soluble plant food, it can feed your roses two ways – through the roots and through the leaves. This dual action allows for quick penetration and fast results. Regular feeding of new and established plants throughout the growing season will guarantee cascading blooms on climbers and prized roses that will be the envy of all the neighbors.
Reaping the harvest
Cutting roses is good for you, and it’s good for the plant. “Pruning” a rosebush can provide dining room table displays of beautiful tea roses, while at the same time, encouraging new growth for the plant. If you want to keep the blooms on the bush, you can wait until they have finished their splendor before pruning.
Roses provide satisfaction to the gardener, beautiful bouquets for the house, and visual interest for the garden. A simple, thoughtful start and regular feeding and watering are all it takes to produce a multitude of America’s most magical flower.
Roses love sunshine. Choose a spot where they’ll get at least 6 hours of sun a day, particularly morning sun. Make sure air circulates freely around your planting area(–)don’t plant near large trees or shrubs or right next to the house.