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Growing Roses


I have attempted to perfect the art of growing roses for over 7 years now and every year I learn a new do or don't. For someone who prefers plants which fend for themselves after the initial tender loving care, I am amazed that I am inspired to keep trying. Roses are the type of plant that if you follow the rules to the letter, growing them is easy. If you neglect one aspect of their growing needs, you are punished with a disease-ridden, insect-infested mess.

It is critical to choose the right location for roses. They like full sun, preferably all day. They need a rich loamy soil which drains well. Slight variations from this makes them more susceptible to pests. If your roses are struggling, you can move them in the spring or fall.

Some roses are easier to grow than others. A gift to Canadian gardeners was the introduction of the Explorer Series of roses. These climbers and shrub type roses, which all bear the name of an explorer, were bred to withstand Canadian winters and are resistant to most pests. More and more of these wonderful varieties are being introduced into my garden.

Shrub and climbing roses are ideal for the perennial or natural-style gardener. These blend well with other plants and provide a season long display of colour and interest. Gardeners who are truly hooked on roses will begin to randomly build structures on which to plant climbing roses.

Hybrid tea and grandiflora roses are tender perennials which are often planted in their own bed. If not protected properly from the cold, they will perish over winter. They are also host to many insects and diseases which attack when the rose is under stress. You must keep a constant surveillance to fend off the pests. Most gardeners will carry an arsenal of rose dusts and sprays to protect this worthy plant from black spot, chewing caterpillars, aphids and beetles.

Roses are often purchased as bare root plants packaged in plastic bags containing moist peat moss. They also have a waxy feel to the stems since they will have been sprayed with a protective wax before being put in winter storage. Before planting bare root roses, soak them in a bucket of sun warmed water for a couple of hours. This will plump up the roots and get them ready for growing in the soil.

Roses are usually grafted onto a hardy rootstock. The graft union is the swollen, knuckle-like part of the plant just above the roots. It is important to protect this part of the rose because if the graft is killed then you are left with the undesirable rootstock which will not flower. Plant the rose so that the graft union is just above the soil line. This graft must be protected over winter by a heavy application of mulch.

Hybrid tea roses are best pruned in the spring. Roses flower on the new growth each year, so every spring can be looked upon with new hope. A properly pruned rose will have 3-4 strong shoots measuring no more than 5 inches growing from above the graft union. The leading or top bud should face away from the centre of the plant. The developing buds will then grow outwards and will not cross the other shoots.

Climbing and shrub roses are pruned less aggressively, leaving a network of older stems which form the structure of the rose. Flowering shoots will emerge from the older stems.

Roses should be fertilized three times a year. Apply a granular rose fertilizer such as 6-9-5 just after pruning and removing the mulch in the spring. Rose fertilizer should be high in phosphorous which is good for flower bud formation. Bonemeal, 2-14-0, is another excellent rose fertilizer. In the month of June, top-dress the roses with a higher nitrogen fertilizer, such as 14-4-8, to keep the plant robust and promote a constant flush of flowers. In July, apply a high phosphorous rose fertilizer again.

After the first frost hits in the fall I put heaps of compost in the rose bed. When I am confident that the growing season is over, I will rake the compost close to the plants so that the graft union is protected under about 12 inches of mulch.

Daisy Moore, 1998.




Other summer garden tips:

(click on the tip you want to read)


Extreme Conditions
Growing Roses
Summer Lawn Care
Propogation by Cuttings
Sources of Native Plants
Making Sense of Fertilizer Labels
Annual/Perennial Combinations
Climbing Plants
The Dry Garden
Ornamental Grasses
Chooosing A Good Gardening Book
Companion Planting
Preparing the Compost for Fall Use
Getting the Most out of your Vegetable Garden
Repairing Lawns From Summer Stress
All About Grubs
All About Onions
Useful Herbs for the Home Garden
Screens and Hedges




Home  |  Garden designs  |  Naturalized gardening  |  Help with your garden  |  Garden Tips Spring  Summer  Fall  | Contact Daisy


Daisy Moore 2005