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HOW TO GROW ROSES
Roses are probably the most common and beloved of flowers in the home garden. Whatever your preference for shape or color, there is a variety of rose to suit you. Roses are relatively easy to grow and there is a variety to suit your climate practically anywhere (maybe not the North Pole).
Roses may be grown from bare root, cuttings or even seed. Since there are so many varieties available and they are generally inexpensive, we will focus on bare root roses in this article. Advantages of bare root are that you have an established, healthy plant to start with. And it will produce flowers faster than starting with seed or cuttings.
Types of Roses
There are so many types of roses (literally hundreds) that it would be beyond the scope of this article to list them all. So, we will focus on just a few of the more popular, home grown rose types.
TEA: Light yellow, pink or white repeat-blooming roses with few thorns. Best in warmer climates.
HYBRID TEA: Long-stemmed flowers, this is the classic rose for cut flowers.
FLORIBUNDA: Shrub roses with clusters of continuous blooming flowers. Bushy, full, very hardy.
GRANDIFLORA: Tall, vigorous plants; very similar to hybrid teas except for their size.
MINIATURES: Smaller versions of various roses, ranging in height from 6 inches to 2 feet tall.
CLIMBERS: A mixed group of roses with long arching canes that can be trained to climb a trellises or fence.
Planting Bare Root Roses
In general, roses should be planted about 2 feet apart, depending on the type of rose you are planting. Plant in the spring as soon as the soil is workable.
Before planting, soak bare-root roses in a bucket of water for 8-12 hours to help re-hydrate the roots. After soaking, trim off any damaged or diseased roots.
Try to maintain 3-5 canes per plant, and each cane should be pruned back to 3-5 buds per cane. Any cane thinner than a pencil should be removed.
Planting holes should be dug wide enough and deep enough to easily accept the roots of the plant. Place the plant in the hole, spreading the roots evenly.
In colder areas, where freezing temperatures are common, place the plant with the bud union at soil level. The bud union is the point where a plant has been grafted, usually indicated by a small knob-like growth on the main stem. After placing the plant in the hole, fill the hole about 2/3 full of soil and add water. Do not tamp the soil. After the water has drained down, add more soil and repeat the water filling process until the original soil level has been reached. The plant will sink a little after planting which will position the bud union 1-2 inches below soil level.
In warm climates (no freeze) Place the plant so that the bud union is 1-2 inches above ground level, so that when the plant settles, the bud union will be about even to 1 inch above ground level.
Place brown paper bags over the canes for the first 2-3 weeks to "sweat" the canes. This helps encourage maximum bud break. Don't forget to remove the bags after sweating.
Care of Roses
1. Prune roses once the rose starts to show signs of new growth.
2. Cut out any obviously dead or damaged branches first. Then cut out all but four or five healthy stems, each ideally a little thicker than a pencil.
3. Cut the rose bush back by 1/3 to 1/2, depending on how tall you want it to be. Make these cuts right above an outward facing bud.
4. Fertilize roses regularly during the growing season. Roses demand lots of nutrients for best growth and flowering.
5. Roses need about 1 inch of water a week from rain or watering.
1. Mulch. Spread 1 to 2 inches of organic mulch, such as wood chips, pine needles, weed-free grass clippings or other biodegradable material.
2. Deadhead. Trim spent roses off the shrub to encourage it to produce more.
3. Spray. If your rose becomes diseased or has an insect infestation, you may want to deal with it by spraying with an organic insecticide. A common pest is aphids. Treat with a spray of soap solution (1 tablespoon of dish soap in 1 pint of water).
Fall and Winter
1. Stop fertilizing roses at least one month before your first annual frost date.
2. Protect roses as needed in late autumn, after your first hard freeze. In regions where temperatures don't fall below 20 degrees F, no additional winter protection is needed. In cooler regions mound several inches of soil over the base of the rose to protect roots from severe cold.