Rose gardening has given many people the impression that roses are difficult to grow and maintain. Growing roses can be challenging, but you don't have to leave it to the experts. Here is a brief tutorial on rose basics for beginners.
Roses are available in three types for planting:
Roses are defined by their growing type.
If a grafted rose is heavily pruned or cold-damaged, the rose that grows back may be of the rootstock's variety, not the grafted one you purchased. Under the same circumstances, the own-root rose will grow back true to its variety.
Bareroot roses are graded according to the quality of their growth. Grades also designate the future size and productivity of the rose. Grades are established by the American Association of Nurserymen and should be noted on the plant tag. The three grades are:
For the best of the best, look for The All-American Rose Selection (AARS) designation. These roses are judged to be the superior in disease resistance, flower production, color and fragrance. With all of the varieties available, you're sure to find a variety to fit your taste and garden style.
When planting roses, whether bare-root or container-grown, the procedure is the same as for other shrubs. Remember a few key factors that especially affect roses:
Roses are heavy feeders and need several applications of fertilizer during the growing season. Use a fertilizer formulated especially for roses and follow the instructions on the package. In general, begin feeding when new growth starts in the spring and discontinue feeding in early fall. Feeding too late will stimulate new growth that is susceptible to winter injury. Do not exceed the recommended application rate. Water thoroughly after each feeding.
Roses need a lot of water. Remember how deep you planted the rose? Water needs to reach that level to get to the roots and keep the plant healthy and blooming. Water thoroughly at least twice a week if there is no rainfall. Set a watering schedule and adjust as dictated by the weather.
Summer especially brings a need for vigilance. Even though you may see fewer flowers during the summer, cooler weather will bring more, so keep up the watering schedule. To discourage black spot and mildew, water in the morning and avoid wetting the leaves.
A three- to four-inch layer of organic mulch will control weeds, retain soil moisture and help maintain a constant soil temperature. As organic mulch breaks down, it improves soil structure and adds nutrients.
Proper pruning increases blooms and promotes healthy plants. In general, prune when growth just begins; from midwinter to mid-spring depending on where you live. Your signal is when the uppermost buds begin to swell, but leaves are yet to appear. Each variety has specific recommendations, so check yours before cutting.