8 clever tips for planting roses in your garden

July 27, 2015

Roses are one of the most fragrant and popular flowers that you can plant in your garden. Here are eight clever tips for selecting and maintaining your roses.

8 clever tips for planting roses in your garden

1. Select the perfect rose

When choosing a rose, look for more than pretty flowers. Also look for low maintenance and which rose is best suited for your climate.

  • Most shrub roses — such as David Austin, Medilland, rugosa, and other so-called shrub or "landscape" roses — tend to be more disease- resistant and cold-hardy. They also have an attractive, bush-like shape.
  • To thrive in your garden, a rose must like your climate. So you must choose a variety compatible with the particulars of your area.
  • You need to know how cold-hardy the rose is and how much summer heat it can withstand. Also consider whether your climate is arid or humid.
  • Consult a Temperature Zone Map and a reputable nursery in your area for guidance on choosing suitable roses.

2. When to plant hybrid tea roses

Choose hybrid tea roses only if a classic rose shape and excellent cut flowers are important.

  • Hybrid teas, as a rule of thumb, tend to be more prone to disease and less cold-hardy.
  • They also are leggier looking.

3. Know the bloom habits

Check the bloom habits of the rose you have in mind.

  • Nearly all roses have a flush of bloom in early summer.
  • Some then stop while others bloom again, some just once and others so often they seem constantly in flower.

4. How often to fertilize

For the best display of blooms, fertilize roses at least every few weeks.

  • There are special fertilizers for roses, but a general-purpose fertilizer will do.
  • Using too much can result in lots of leafy growth but not many flowers.
  • Stop fertilizing two to three months before the first frost. Fertilizing after that point only encourages tender new growth that may be winter-damaged.

5. Cut the roses after blooming

Once a rose has bloomed and the flower is fading, clip it off just above the first five-leaflet leaf. This deadheading will encourage more blooms.

  • Make all cuts at a 45-degree angle, slanting downward toward the centre of the bush, and about 0.5 centimetres (1/4 inch) above an outward-facing leaf bud. This encourages new growth outward.
  • How far you cut back rose canes depends on the rose. Many climbing roses bloom only on old wood — the canes that grew last season and earlier. Cutting them back too far would prevent blooming. If a rose blooms on new wood, cut it back by about one-third.

6. Sunshine and water requirements

  • Roses need at least six hours of sun a day, and they like rich, well-drained soil that has been worked to a depth of at least 45 centimetres (18 inches).
  • They require 2.5 centimetres (one inch) of water per week with as little as possible splashed on their leaves.
  • A 2.5 to 7.5 centimetre (one to three inch) layer of mulch around them conserves moisture and prevents soil-borne disease.

7. Using mulch

Protect most roses with a 10 centimetre (four inch) layer of mulch where winters are mild.

  • In colder areas, most roses need to be mounded: put two or three spadefuls of compost or good-quality topsoil on the base of the plant to protect the roots from freezing.

8. Protecting roses

  • Wrap tender roses with burlap, and tie in place with twine in the coldest parts of the country.
  • Remove the wrap in very early spring.
  • Gently push away the mulch and mounded soil in midspring when new growth begins.

Many people shy away from maintaining roses, but keeping them healthy might be easier than you think! Consider these tips and you can create a thriving rose garden in no time.

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