Grow beautiful roses in your garden by following these helpful tips originally published by the Asheville Blue Ridge Rose Society.
1. Roses are not hard to grow
Many roses, both old and new, are disease resistant and easy to care for. There are many different kinds of roses with diverse sizes, shapes, and colors. Many are fragrant. All are beautiful and work well in combination with other plants.
2. Roses like full sun—at least six hours a day
If you do not have six hours of sun, there are roses like Hybrid Musks that are reportedly more shade tolerant. But for fewer problems and better blooms, grow your roses where they will get lots of sun. Roses particularly like morning sun which helps dry dew off their leaves which, in turn, may lower the risk of black spot. Diplocarpon rosea, the fungus which causes black spot, requires three or four hours of contact on wet leaves to infect.
3. Roses like a rich, well-drained soil
Work lots of organic material (compost) into your soil along with soil conditioner. If you have doubts about drainage, dig a hole large enough to plant your rose, fill it with water, and see how quickly it drains. If the hole has not emptied in an hour, you need to improve drainage or your roses will not prosper. Roses like to drink but do not like wet feet.
4. Planting roses
When planting container grown roses, dig a hole at least half again as wide as the container and ideally twice as wide. Plant the rose to the depth it is in the container. If it is a bare root rose (not in a container) with a graft site (many hybrid teas are grafted), dig a hole deep enough to have the graft at or just below the soil line and wide enough to accommodate the spread-out roots. You will need a mound of soil in the middle of the hole for the rose to sit on. Soak bare root roses overnight before planting. You can trim damaged or extremely long roots before planting. Resist the temptation to fertilize at the time of planting, although you may want to add a phosphate-rich material like bone meal to promote root growth. Remember to water and mulch your roses after planting and keep them watered during the first growing season.
5. Roses like to eat
Many roses bloom continuously from May until frost. To do this, they need lots of nutrients. You can buy rose specific fertilizers but any good quality, well-balanced fertilizer will do. Fertilize according to directions in the spring and at least once during the summer. Do not feed your roses after mid- to late August. You want your roses to become dormant for the winter and feeding will promote growth. Remember to water after fertilizing. Roses require water to absorb nutrients.
6. Roses like to drink
Roses want one to two inches of water a week when it’s hot. They prefer not having their leaves get wet when they are watered, although you can give them a “bath” early in the day if the weather has been very hot and dry. This cleans the leaves and washes away pests. Soaker hoses are a practical and efficient way to water roses. Mulching will help with moisture retention.
7. Disease control
Roses are prone to the same pests as other flowering shrubs and also to black spot. Many rose growers look for disease resistant varieties which are increasingly plentiful. Since certain roses do well in certain regions, contact your local rose society to learn which roses thrive in your area. Good garden hygiene and healthy roses will help prevent problems. Buy good stock and clean up dead or fallen leaves and debris. Some growers use only organic products or chose not to spray at all. If you choose to spray, spray on a cool cloudy day to prevent leaf damage and follow directions carefully. It is a good idea to spray dormant roses and surrounding soil with lime sulfur during the winter. This will help eradicate fungal spores and prevent black spot during the growing season.
8. Pruning roses
Much has been written about pruning roses. Basically you want to keep your roses at a size where they bloom freely and fit into your garden. However, you need to cut out dead, diseased, or damaged canes in early spring and whenever else they occur. Pruning to open the center of the rose bush allows for better air circulation within the rose and helps prevent black spot. Climbing roses require special pruning. Contact your local rose society for help in managing these.
9. Wintering roses
Trim your roses back to about three feet if they are very tall or sprawling to prevent wind damage. Make sure climbing roses are securely attached to their arbor or pillar. Mulch well. If you have roses with grafts, make sure the graft is well covered with soil and mulch.
10. Learn more
The Asheville Blue Ridge Rose Society is available to help you learn more about choosing and caring for roses. Visit their web site at www.ashevillerosesociety.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. The Buncombe County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers are also a good information resource and will have a program on new garden roses at the County Extension Office, 49 Mount Carmel Road, Asheville, on July 21, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Article provided by Judy Deutsch, Extension Master Gardener Volunteer, with permission of the Asheville Blue Ridge Rose Society.