Rose Gardening Tips & Resources

Roses are one of the most popular flowers in the United States and are also one of the oldest flowers in cultivation. There are more than two thousand different varieties of rose due to the fact that they are easily cross bred. These different species of roses are normally grouped into two different categories, old roses and modern roses. Old roses include the varieties that were developed or discovered prior to the hybrid tea rose being introduced in 1867. While modern rose varieties tend to offer a broader range of flower forms, colors, and all season blooms, old rose varieties generally offer a stronger fragrance, greater disease resistance, and more interesting and complex blooms. There are several things that should be taken into consideration when choosing a type of rose to include in your garden.

Because there are so many different types of roses, selecting a variety for your garden can be an overwhelming task. There are, however, several considerations that can help to make the process of selecting roses easier. One thing you will want to consider is growth habitat. You will want to know what the flowers of the plant will look like in order to determine if it will fit with your garden. Hardiness is another thing that needs to be considered when choosing roses. Anyone who lives in areas that experience cold weather seasons should look for varieties that are hardy and can survive the cold. Anyone who lives in areas such as the south, that stay warm year round, need to look for rose varieties that are not sensitive to heat and humidity. Old roses in particular, usually only have one bloom a year, but there are varieties that will bloom all summer long so consider bloom time when picking roses.

Disease resistance is another factor that should be taken into consideration. The old rose varieties tend to be more resistant to disease and are better for people looking to avoid the use of chemicals. On the other hand, hybrid tea varieties are very prone to disease and can be very difficult to grow without the use of many different sprays and chemicals. If you are planning to grow roses for cutting, another thing that should be considered is stem length. Many varieties of rose have shorter, weaker stems, and are not ideal for cutting and displaying in a vase.

How to Care for the Roses You Select

Roses are quite particular and require specific care to keep them healthy and thriving. While care will vary depending on the type of rose, there are some basic care tips that can be followed.

Sunlight - Most rose varieties require six to eight hours of sunlight each day. If you live in cooler climates, plants should be placed along a fence or wall that is facing south or west. The fence or wall will help to protect the flowers from winter damage. In hot climates, roses should be planted in an area where they can have some protection from harsh afternoon sun.

Soil & Fertilizer - Roses require rich soil that is moisture retentive, and good drainage. Soil should have a pH level somewhere between 6.5 and 7. If the area where you live has wet, heavy soil, it may be better to plant your roses in raised beds. Compost with high organic content should also be added to the soil. Roses are heavy feeders and will need a steady supply of phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium. These necessary nutrients can be provided through the use of granular or liquid fertilizers but regular applications of manure, and compost should provide your plants with all of the nutrients they should need.

Water - Roses tend to require more water than many other common landscaping plants, especially during the time that the plant is establishing its roots. Drip irrigation is normally the best way to water roses as this method allows water to be concentrated at the root zone, where it is most needed.

Pruning - Pruning is necessary to maintain healthy plants. Weak, dead, or sickly stems can increase the chances of disease. Pruning not only decreases the chance of the plants developing a disease, it also allows for increased air circulation to the center of the plant. Pruning also helps to stimulate plant growth and reblooming. Ideally, scissor pruners should be used to achieve the cleanest possible cuts.

Winter Care - If you live in an area that experiences cold weather, it is best to choose rose varieties that are hardy and can survive the winter without the need for special protection. The hardiness of the rose variety you choose will determine what steps should be taken for winter protection. Generally, the base of the plant should be covered with about a foot of mulch or soil, and the canes should be covered with some type of insulation.

Dealing With Pests - There are many varieties of rose that are disease resistant, and these are recommended for beginner rose gardeners. The best way to prevent disease and pests is to avoid these problems to begin with. Keeping foliage dry, maintaining air circulation, and removing dead or diseased foliage should help keep plants healthy and pests away. If you do run into persistent problems with pests, there are several different organic insecticides that can be helpful.

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