A rose garden will make a beautiful addition to any yard or landscape, giving lots of color and fragrance. Roses have been giving a reputation for been fussy and hard to care for, this couldn’t be any further from the truth. In fact, roses can be grown successfully with ease even by the novice gardener.
Many people believe that roses must be pampered with regular fertilizing and weekly sprays, but this is only true for the exhibitor entering their plants into a show. The average gardener that just likes to look at the pretty flowers can easily grow roses without all the fuss.
Before starting your rose garden, it’s a good idea to get familiar with the different types of roses.
Hybrid Teas – This is the type of flower that everyone pictures when they think about what a rose looks like. The long individual stem and classic spiral center makes the hybrid tea roses the most popular of the rose plants.
Climbing Roses – These are usually repeat bloomers and can grow to be 10 – 12 feet tall. There are so many different climbers available it is difficult to describe them all.
Floribundas – These are commonly called cluster roses because of the fact that there will be two or more blooms on each stem. Floribundas are considered an excellent landscape plant as most varieties grow from 2 – 4 feet tall. There are some floribunda varieties that grow larger, these are known as Grandifloras.
Shrub Roses – These can have growth habits from low ground cover types to large hedge types, and are usually very winter hardy. Some of the shrub roses have a colorful fall hip display.
Mini Roses – These roses have all of the characteristics of large roses, but they are much smaller in size. Most varieties grow 14 inches tall, but you can find miniature climbers with smaller leaves and flowers that grow to around 7 feet tall. Miniature roses are not house plants, but will survive nicely indoors with proper light and moisture.
Now that you know about the different varieties, it’s time to pick the type, or types, you want and start planting.
When growing roses, the variety you pick is extremely important. There are literally hundreds of different varieties of roses, but not all of them will grow well based on your climate and soil type. Choose varieties that are best suited for your area and buy them from a reputable nursery.
It is best to plant roses in the fall making sure there is plenty of time for root development before the ground freezes, or in the early spring as soon as the ground is workable. Dormant plants are preferred unless they are container grown or mini roses.
If you are transplanting a rose, be sure to wait until the plant is dormant, and prune it back to 1/3 the size.
Choose a place that receives at least 5 – 6 hours of full sun, though there are a few shrubs and climbers that will grow in a more shaded area. Morning sun or afternoon sun? Morning sun is best as it dries the dew on leaves and helps to prevent mildew and fungal problems.
Dig a hole about twice the size of the root ball and loosen surrounding soil. Add some compost to the hole, I put fish bones or old uncooked fish into the hole before adding the compost but this can attract unwanted wildlife if not buried deep enough. Spread the roots over the compost, position the crown at or slightly below soil level. Refill the hole with a mixture of half soil half compost, firm the soil around the plant and water well.
Newly planted roses need to be water often, if the weather is hot they should be watered every couple of days.
Roses that are watered regularly do not need much fertilizer to grow, in fact a well watered rose will grow better than one treated with a bunch of chemical “foods”. Organic fertilizers can be used if your plants are looking droopy. Compost tea, sea kelp, and fish fertilizers are great organic foods for your roses. Generally, you want to stop any feeding after mid July, the plants need to use up the nutrients in the soil and harden up for winter.
Mildew and blackspot are the two biggest problems with roses. Sunshine and air circulation are your most important defense against disease and insects. Make sure you have plenty of sunshine and space your plants out to provide good air flow and you will have minimal problems.
Aphids can be a problem in the rose garden, but they are one of the lady bugs favorite meals and will be eaten in no time once the lady bugs have found them. If there are no lady bugs around you can buy and release them in the rose garden.
Growing garlic in your rose garden will help to repel many of the insects that cause problems with roses, and adds an interesting look to the garden.