Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Planting and Growing Roses

For those of you who have always heard that roses are too hard to grow, I have good news for you! They really don't take nearly as much work as is rumored. I plant roses in Florida and have had very good luck with them. I thought maybe I could share a few tips and possibly increase the rosebush population! I think the most important thing is getting the right kind of roses. In Florida, the best kind is fortuniana root stock roses, grown in pots. They are grown specifically for Florida's soil and climate conditions, so they are hardy year round, regardless of rainy season or dry. A garden center or nursery is more likely to carry the right kind than the local hardware store is. At our local garden center they cost about $20.00. This may seem high, but they are guaranteed for a year, and I can attest to how beautifully they grow and bloom.

Once you've decided on which rose bushes you want, you've got to find the perfect spot to plant them. They really need at least six hours of sunshine a day directly on them. If you plant them where they will be shaded all morning by your house, or half the afternoon by a tree, they won't do as well. Ours went crazy once the tree in our front yard was taken down by Hurricane Wilma! I miss our tree, but one of the roses is about 8' tall by 8' around now, so it is practically a tree itself! Also, your roses need to be 4' apart. That way they get air flow, plenty of sun, and they don't share any mites, mildew or black spot as easily!

Water the rose thoroughly with root stimulator. Next, dig a hole 12" deep and 24" wide. This is very important. The roots get lazy and won't grow in to the surrounding soil if it is too tightly packed. If you dig a big enough hole, the roots will have room to expand easily and will be strong enough to go further. Mix the following ingredients well, in a wheelbarrow: One cubit foot of of organic compost, one cubit foot of Black Cow Manure, one cubic foot of the soil you are planting in, out of the hole you dug, one cup of bone meal and 1/4 cup of super phosphate. Mix well with a shovel or hoe. Fill the hole half way with the mixed soil. Place one hand across the top of the pot and turn the rose upside down. Place the other hand on the bottom of the pot and remove your rose carefully. Put the rose in the middle of the hole and make sure the soil around the rose is level with the top. Don't cover the stem and graft. Fill the hole with the mixed soil. Water slowly, then fill again if needed. Now you may want to place a mulch mat tree ring around the rose to help with weeds. On top of that, you can put decorative rocks if you like. We put paving stones around each rose in a pattern as well, as more protection. We like mulch or a pretty ground cover between the roses, but of course you can always do rocks all around as is popular. If you don't want to do these things, at least make sure you don't let mulch, grass or weeds get up close around the bottom of the rose. The rose will like to drain well and not be smothered with anything.

About three weeks after planting, you'll want to begin fertilizing. I use Bayer Advanced Rose and Flower Care. It is a fertilizer and insecticide all in one. I pour a capful of the granules around each rose bush every six weeks or so, and it works really well. One time when things were very dry, I got some mites on the rose leaves, and I had to spray a fungicide on them, but that killed them and I've never had them again. Other than this, I water them if it isn't raining enough, and deadhead them. And of course, pull any adventurous weeds that get past all my barriers. As for deadheading them, the old way of cutting back to the first branching out isn't necessary. I snip off the old rose right behind the neck, and the bushes bloom much more prolifically then they ever did in the past. If there is ever a cane growing under the graft, I snip it off right to the root, but otherwise I only prune to shape a little. If a branch grows out across the path, I prune it at an angle so the new growth will go up, for instance. Sometimes the bush will be covered with roses, then they will be spent, so it kind of ebbs and flows that way, but different bushes bloom at different times, so I truly do have roses year round. I hope you'll try it too. The world can always use more roses!

3 comments:

Nicola said...

Hi, thanks for visiting our blog, Four Friends and a Blog. And thanks for the positive comments about homeschooling, it's always good to hear how they "turn out" when they grow up!

LOUISE @ HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS said...

Hi Rosezilla, thanks so much for putting me on to the Extreme Ironing Bureau. I know most people will go to any length to get out of doing the ironing, but not go to any length to actually do it! x

LOUISE @ HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS said...

I only have two types of rose in my garden, one a cerise pink rugosa shrub variety which I either just leave to get on with it, or cut right down to the base at the end of flowering and a climbing rose, which last year I had to give a very hard prune back as it was spreading everywhere, although this has lovely sweet smelling pale pink blossoms which are lovely. Thanks for all the rose nurturing tips. x

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