Rose Growing Made Easy: My guide to rose gardening and what roses need to grow and flower the best all season long.
Growing healthy roses is simple and easy actually, as long as you take into consideration the 5 basic needs of all roses: sun, soil, water, fertilizer and informed rose selection.
Although all five needs are important, the most fundamental is sun. Roses simply will not flower without sun, no matter what you do.
SUN Roses are sunloving plants, and the more sun the happier they are. Lots of sun is the key to rose growing made easy for sure.
Rose Growing Made Easy:
All roses grow best with at least 6-8 hours of direct, un-filtered sun every day during the season.
A few roses will tolerate less, but with only four to six hours of sun per day, there is more potential for disease and also decreased flower production, often as low as 50% of normal bloom.
Less than optimal sun also results in spindly growth, and leaves the rose plant open to attacks from pests and diseases.
Rose plants rely on the energy provided by sunlight to convert water absorbed from the soil, and carbon dioxide absorbed from the atmosphere, into sugars and starches from which all carbon-based life, both animal and vegetable is made.
Almost all life on earth is supported by chlorophyll, the component of plants that you see as green pigment.
SOIL What is soil? Soil is a complex mixture of weathered rock, decomposed organic matter, and living organisms.
Rose Growing Made Easy:
Soil provides the anchoring medium for the roots, but soil also acts as a huge sponge, absorbing and distributing water so that a plant's root system can access this vital liquid regularly.
A sort of symbiosis occurs between soil and plants because the plants protect and preserve the soil they live in by helping to lessen erosion and eventually becoming part of the biomass that enriches that very spot of earth.
Soil provides essential things such as minerals and nutrients, which are disolved in the water and then absorbed by the root system.
You'll need to amend heavy clay soil with either homemade compost or commercial planting mix.
The organic humus in these products will help to improve the tilth of the soil so that very fine clay particles form larger clumps that will allow water and air to move through the soil.
Conversely, soil with a high ratio of sand will also need amending with compost or planters mix to help retain more moisture and nutrients.
Just about any soil will benefit from mixing 50% compost into the planting soil at planting time.
WATER Roses require a steady regular supply of water for optimal growth and flowers production.
Rose Growing Made Easy
In many regions, natural rain can meet their water needs, but in times of drought, lack of rainfall, or in drier areas, it will be necessary to supplement with irrigation.
Your garden needs 1 to 2 inches of water per week to keep roses happy and blooming.
That amounts to about a thirty minute run of the hose or sprinkler per week.
It's always best to water early in the day so that if the rose foilage gets wet, it has a chance to dry before the evening thereby lessening the chance of promoting rose diseases.
Repeat-flowering roses demand a steadier supply of water to help ensure continuous production of flowers, so bear that in mind when selecting re-blooming rose bushes for your garden.
Basic DIY test kits can be bought at most garden centers, or you can click on the link in the previous sentence.
The three macro-elements all plants need in relatively large amounts to maintain healthy growth are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
By law, fertilizer packages must list these three ingredients as their percentage of product weight.
Roses demand a great deal of nitrogen, and most rose foods contain at least 10 percent if nitrogen by weight.
I look for rose fertilizers with a bit more nitrogen, say around 15 percent, or so, because it makes my roses very happy.
It's well worth spending a few minutes reading fertilizer labels at the garden center to find the product that meets your plant's needs.
Repeat-blooming roses will appriciate regular feedings between bloom cycles to help flower production along.
I recommend two feedings of a dry fertilizer, the first feeding after pruning, but wait until the bush is starting to leaf out, and the second feeding in summer.
I supplement the dry fertilizer with a liquid fertilizer between the applications of the dry type, every 3 weeks or so.
Personally, I prefer timed-released fertilizers as these products continually feed your roses over three to four months.
They release their nutrients at a slow pre-determined rate based on temperature and moisture.
When using timed-released products, just be sure they are mixed well into the soil and covered with mulch so that they will be able to react with your watering and the chemical makeup of your soil.
SELECTION: Rose growing made easy depends on making informed choices when purchasing your roses.
The placement of your rose bushes is vital for growing healthy, happy long-lived roses.
Before you buy, do some research to see if the rose you are thinking of growing will thrive in your area.
For example, is your choice more winter hardy or summer hardy? Will it be subject to diseases or pests specific to your growing zone?
Do some homework by checking with local public gardens. Ask your nurseryman for advice, and check out local gardens in your community to see what their owners experiences have been with the rose cultivar you are contemplating buying.
There are so many easy to grow roses to choose from, so there is no reason to fight Mother Nature.
Keep in mind that many cultivars will not survive the harsh winter conditions of many regions without protective winterizing measures.
Gardeners in hot areas, hardiness is more a matter of wether the rose will survive the heat, not cold.
Many winter hardy roses simply refuse to grow in the hot arid desert soils.
In warm regions, such as the deep South, rose growing made easy will happen when gardeners plant old garden roses because they can survive the South's unique growing conditions.