A rose is a rose is a rose
Throughout history the Rose has had many meanings. It’s divided the great houses of Royal England, and was a symbol of revolution during Scotland’s quest for independence. They stand for love, friendship, purity, and sometimes, giving a single rose can mean more than all the roses in the world.
Growing roses commercially is a multi-million dollar a year business, but what if you want to grow your own to enjoy all gardening season long?
Roses have long been known to be a bit temperamental. They have special needs and when those needs are met, they flourish. Following these easy steps will help you grow the best roses you can and enjoy this ancient flower.
There are so many characteristics to consider when choosing the perfect rose for your landscape or garden. There is color, of course, but also fragrance, petal count, plant form, hardiness zone, and various growing characteristics such as disease-resistance. And there are so many varieties to choose from.
Hybrid teas are the world’s most popular type of rose by choice due to their color and flower form. Their single flowers are usually found at the end of long stems which makes them popular as cut flowers.
Most hybrid tea bushes tend to be somewhat upright and grow 3 to 6 feet in height, depending on the variety. The hybrid tea rose is considered a modern rose and came about from a cross of the hybrid perpetual rose and the tea rose. The hybrid tea roses hardiness exceeds that of the parents and so it has become a very popular rose bush. Most of the hybrid teas have a wonderful fragrance, that fragrance being mild to powerful. When we think of roses, the Hybrid Tea is what most comes to mind when we think of cut flowers.
As per their name, Grandiflora roses are a true elegant blooming beauty, a cross between a hybrid tea rose and a floribunda rose. This variety has truly picked up the best parts of both parents, with high centered hybrid tea like beautiful blooms in clusters on long stems, excellent for cutting for bouquets. Grandiflora roses have also gained the hardiness, good repeat blooming and cluster bloom production of the Floribunda rose. The Grandiflora rose bush likes to grow tall and will usually exceed all other roses in height, other than the climbers. As with the hybrid tea and other classifications of roses, Grandiflora’s love the sunshine and also love to be fed and kept well and watered.
(Floribunda Latin for “many-flowering”) is a modern group of garden roses that was developed by crossing hybrid tea with polyantha roses. The idea was to create roses that bloomed with the polyantha profusion, but with hybrid tea floral beauty and color range.
The first Floribunda roses possessed characteristic of both parents. Typical Floribundas feature stiff shrubs, smaller and bushier than the average hybrid tea. The flowers are often smaller than hybrid teas but are carried in large sprays, giving a better floral effect in the garden. Floribundas are found in all hybrid tea colors. Today they are still used in large bedding schemes in public parks and similar spaces.
David Austin Roses are bred by crossing old garden roses with more modern roses to achieve the superb fragrance, delicacy and charm of the old-style blooms combined with the repeat flowering characteristics and wide color range of modern roses. Some English varieties are extra vigorous in warm areas as very large shrubs and some may want to become semi-climbers.
Shrub rose bushes are defined by the American Rose Society (ARS) as “A class of hardy, easy-care plants that encompass bushy roses that do not fit in any other category of rose bush.” Some shrub roses make good ground covers while others work well to form hedges or screening in the landscape. Shrub rose bushes can have single or double blooms in many different colors. Most of the shrub rose bushes will bloom repeatedly and bloom very well if properly cared for. This category of roses includes the ever popular Knockout and Drift Rose varieties.
Select a planting location for your rose that gets at least 6 hours of sun and has good drainage. Roses, like most plants, like to be kept moist but will not tolerate “wet feet”. Planting your roses a little above grade and amending our heavy clay soil will help to improve drainage. Roses should be planted 36”to 42” apart and in an area that allows for good air flow. Planting on an inside corner of your home or fence may restrict airflow enough to promote the growth of fungus that flourish in these environments. Make sure your plants have access to water. Watering by hand at the root or a soaker hose is the preferred method, but if they are under a sprinkler system, try to water early morning to allow excessive surface moisture to evaporate during the heat of the day.
Once you’ve found the perfect location, dig your hole a little deeper than the root ball or to the bottom of the graft, and 2 to 3 times the circumference. Scrape off the top soil layer first and put off to one side then dig out the remainder of the hole to accommodate the root ball. Mix in a ratio of 1/3 to 1/3 to 1/3, the top soil you set aside, the clay you removed, and a good “rose friendly” soil amendment. We highly recommend Back To Nature Blend. Back to Nature Blend is a mixture of composted cow manure, cotton burr compost, alfalfa meal, and humic acid to feed the soil. Add to this mixture, ¼ cup of Magnesium sulfate, ½ cup of granulated lime, and 3 cups of Espoma Rose Tone. You now have the best planting medium to give your roses the best start possible.
We carry a wide variety of roses that can be broken down into two categories. “Own root” and “Grafted”. The Grafted type rose simply means that hybrid rose cane has been grafted onto a stronger more disease resistant wild rose root stock. This is very common and should not deter you from buying this type of rose. Own root simply means this rose is grown on its natural root system.
Your hole is dug, your soil is mixed, and you are ready to plant. Do not try to remove your rose from a plastic container. With younger plants the root system has not expanded enough to hold all the soil together. The best way to remove the rose from the pot is to take a sharp pair of scissors and on the side at the bottom of the pot, cut the plastic connecting the drain holes. Tilt the pot to the side and remove the bottom of the pot. Put a small amount of the potting mixture in the hole and while placing your hand over the bottom of the pot, place rose in the center of the hole. Cut the plastic pot from the top to the bottom but do not remove. Fill in the hole around the rose keeping the soil loose. Once the hole is filled, pull up on the plastic to remove the remainder of the pot without disturbing the soil around the roots. Your goal is to plant your rose a little higher than the existing grade with the graft or knuckle at or just above the soil line. Now give your rose a good watering allowing the loose soil to compact on its own. Add more of your mixture to fill any voids. If everything went as planned, your rose will be about 1” to 2” above grade with the grade angling up to the plant, and not down.
Caring for your rose
Roses are prolific bloomers therefore they are heavy feeders”. For the first growing season, feed your roses with a good well balanced organic rose food like Espoma Rose Tone. Rose Tone contains organic products that are formulated to promote strong, healthy roots that can support the growth above ground to give you the foliage and blooms you want. Once your roses have become established, you can feed with synthetic food but we still recommend adding amendments like those found in Back To Nature Blend to keep the soil and roots healthy. Either way, the number one recommendation for roses is keep them fed. As always, follow manufacturer’s recommendations on all products.
Treat roses for insect and disease early in the spring before new growth begins to show. We recommend using Ferti-Lome 2-n-1 drench. This product contains both an insecticide and fungicide to give your roses a fighting chance against the most common threats. The disease we see the most is called Black Spot. It is a fungus that grows on the leaves of roses and once it starts is difficult to control. The best way to control black spot is to make sure the rose is planted with good air flow and to start spraying proactively with a systemic fungicide. Staying ahead of insects and fungal diseases will keep your roses looking healthy long into the growing season.
Rose Rosette Disease (RRD) has been making an unwelcome appearance in landscapes across the United States. A virus carried by an eriophyid mite, this disease can affect all cultivated roses, including shrubs, hybrid teas, floribunda, grandifloras, and miniatures. Researchers and breeders are hard at work developing solutions to combat RRD. In the meantime, there are many steps landscapers can take to help prevent its spread. Basic planting and pruning habits are the best defense against RRD. The number of cases over the years have dropped significantly due to many uncared for and infected plants being removed and destroyed. We encourage you to carefully cut us a sample or bring us a picture of any concerns you may have. Keep in mind, if you believe you have a disease on any plant; dip your pruners in bleach or alcohol before making another cut on a plant.
Pruning your roses
Pruning promotes growth. Every cut results in healthy growth that will eventually bear flowers. Pruning also determines plant shape. Every cut causes growth to head in a specific direction. If you want your rose to grow a certain way, you can position cuts to coax growth toward that shape. Annual pruning helps deter disease. When you prune to remove older or crossing stems in the center of the bush, you make it easier for sunlight and air to reach between branches. Increased air flow and sunlight dries wet leaves more quickly, which helps prevent disease outbreaks. Pruning keeps a rose healthy. Whether canes are diseased, damaged or dying, a simple snip eliminates the problem and encourages remaining stems to grow stronger.
What You Need To Prune Roses
For basic pruning on recently planted roses, you only need leather gloves to protect hands from thorns and a pair of sharp hand pruners (bypass pruners are best). If you have more mature roses, you’ll likely also need a pruning saw and loppers. If you’re dealing with very thorny canes, look into rose gloves that extend beyond the wrist to protect against scrapes.
Roses are a welcomed addition to any landscape. While many homeowners shy away from roses, those who are familiar with the benefits do not shy away because of the extra care they take. As always, we encourage our customers to call or stop by if they have any questions or concerns. It’s a great day here when a customer full of pride brings us a beautiful rose they have grown in their garden.
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