Grow roses like an expert gardener

July 28, 2015

Roses are a classic look in the garden due to their many colours and varied shapes. In fact, there's likely a different type of rose bush for every occasion and location you can think of! From planting to pruning, here's the know-how you need to cultivate a gorgeous rose garden.

Grow roses like an expert gardener

Choose the type that fits your fancy

  • Shrub roses: This group includes many well-known types, such as China, damask and Old English roses, which mostly flower once a year. They're good in mixed borders and can be trained up posts. This group also includes rugosa roses, which are good for hedging and have large attractive hips, as well as ground cover roses, many of which are repeat flowering.
  • Hybrid teas: These are smaller than shrub roses, with large double blooms that are usually scented. Hybrid teas are easy to grow, come in many colours, and flower in two main flushes in the early and late summer through to the year's first frosts. They're the ideal roses for a dedicated bed but can also be mixed with other plants.
  • Climbers: You usually get larger, less plentiful blooms with climbers. They're borne on young wood the same year and make a framework of long, strong shoots that look excellent growing through a tree or on trellises.
  • Patio and miniature roses: These roses are bred for small spaces and containers. They bear small, pretty blooms but tend to be prone to blackspot and mildew.
  • Ramblers: These vigorous growers with large trusses of small flowers are borne once each season on flexible wood made in the previous year. They're easily trained, but work best around pillars and over arches.
  • Floribundas: Robust and usually unscented, they flower in profusion over a long period. They're easy to grow in a dedicated bed or in a mixed border in the same way as hybrid teas.

Techniques to plant perfectly

  • You can plant container-grown roses at any time, but plant bare-rooted roses in mid to late fall.
  • Soak the roots of bare-rooted plants in a bucket of water overnight before planting. Container-grown plants need to be watered thoroughly.
  • Trim back all stems to about 15 centimetres (6 inches) above the outward-facing buds and remove any thick, coarse roots. Take care not to damage the thin fibrous roots.
  • Most roses are grafted, and the "union" between the rootstock and the grafted stems must be below ground. However, don't plant it too deeply. You can lay a cane across the hole to help you gauge the depth.

Prune like a pro

The methods for pruning roses vary according to their type, but pruning is an essential practice to encourage strong growth and abundant flowers. Here's how to prune different types of roses.

  • Shrub roses: Prune these every two years. Thin out and trim back any untidy growth in the early winter or spring to leave strong new shoots. Remove all dead wood and old, weak stems. You can use sharp shears for this.
  • Climbers: Immediately after blooming, trim back any shoots that have flowered to new buds: don't wait until energy-sapping hips form. Then, in the early winter, cut spindly, dead, and diseased wood back to strong new shoots. Prune back old shoots that haven't produced any new growth by about half.
  • Ramblers: In early fall, cut some of the old flowered shoots ("canes") down to ground level, leaving new growth springing from the base. If there aren't enough new shoots to maintain the shape of the plant, leave more old stems in place, but cut back to a strong shoot higher up.
  • Hybrid tea, floribunda and patio roses: Cut out dead wood and remove weak or crossing stems, then cut back to healthy buds in the late winter. Prune hybrid teas and miniatures to 10 centimetres (4 inches), and floribundas to about 30 centimetres (12 inches).

Roses are amazingly beautiful, but not very hard to maintain. These tips will make it even easier to plant and care for a breathtaking rose garden.

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