Roses have a somewhat well-deserved reputation as a perplexing plant to grow but fear not, Blooming Secrets can help you to grow beautiful Roses! The best place to start is the beginning and that starts with a little research. There are all different types of Roses for a variety of purposes ranging from hedges to containers and you want to be sure you pick the right Rose for the job. After deciding which Rose is the best one for your situation and buying it there are 4 steps to follow in order to grow great Roses:

  • It’s All About the Soil! - Roses require at least six hours of sun each day but soil preparation is critical to successfully growing roses. You need to dig a hole that is about 2 to 3 times as wide as the root ball and this hole needs to be filled with good quality soil. You can purchase a soil mix that includes compost from a garden center or if you have your own compost pile you can take that compost and mix it into the soil that you previously removed from the hole. When planting the Rose you need to have the bud union, which is a knotty part of the Rose stem where the roots and the top growth meet about an inch above the soil line. 
  • Spraying Against Diseases - Planting the Rose is the fun part but now the real work begins! The Rose has earned its challenging reputation primarily for the care that is needed after planting. Roses can be impacted by a variety of fungal diseases including black spot and powdery mildew. Both of these diseases can quickly cause the plant to lose its leaves which isn’t good for the long-term health of the plant and it doesn’t look very pretty either! I’ve found that having a consistent spraying schedule is the best way to combat these diseases. I’ve tried organic sprays such as ones with baking soda or milk as the main component as well as chemical sprays and found them to be equally effective. The key is to start spraying before you see signs of the disease. If you see black spot or mildew it is too late to save those affected leaves and trying to stop the spread of the disease is difficult. I begin spraying as soon as leaves appear on the plants and spray at least every other week. I also recommend spraying early in the morning to give the treatment time to dry before the sun gets too strong and potentially burns the leaves.  
  • Battling the Bugs - If dealing with fungal diseases isn’t enough there are insects to battle too. Japanese Beatles are one of the main pests to be concerned about. You can just pick them off if there aren’t too many of them and drown them in a container of soapy water. There are also insecticides that can be used if you have bigger infestations. I don’t use the traps that can be found in many hardware stores as they seem to attract more of these foes to the battleground!
  • Fertilization - The last ongoing task that must be completed to grow great Roses is fertilization. I typically use a fertilizer that is made specifically for Roses and I scratch a little bit of fertilizer into the soil around the rose once a month. If you live in Garden Zones 3 through 7, stop fertilizing 8 weeks before you typically get your first frost. In Northern Virginia this is around the end of July, This will allow any tender new growth to mature and reduce frost damage.

So now that you know all there is to know about growing Roses don’t be afraid to try some in your garden!

Photos courtesy of Jill Mazur.

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