Roses are easy to grow and remarkably tolerant. It is only necessary to get a few basic points right and you will have good results. However they can respond well to some extra care and attention by being more floriferous and healthy. The following is intended to help you to make the right selection and give you a brief guide to planting and looking after your roses.
Choosing a Variety
Your choice of rose is very personal. Make sure that the dimensions of the rose suit its position, be aware that the size referred to in the website will vary depending on the soil type, local climate, fertility and moisture and the way you prune your roses.
Select a site with at least a few hours of sun each day where the roots of the rose will not be in competition with the roots of other plants, especially trees. The exception to this rule is the ramblers which grow well near to trees. In warmer areas some shade from the ravages of the afternoon sun can be highly beneficial.
If you have the space English Roses, Old Roses and other Shrub Roses look superb planted in tight groups of three of one variety. They will then grow together to form one dense shrub, which will provide a more continuous display and make a more definite statement in the border. We suggest planting approximately 18 inches apart within the group. Adjacent plants of neighboring varieties should be planted approximately 3 feet away. For hedges, plant fairly close together approximately 18 inches apart for maximum effect.
Roses will grow in a wide range of soils, but whatever type they do appreciate good soil preparation. The addition of a generous quantity of well rotted manure or garden compost before planting will help to ensure strong growth.
On arrival, plant as soon as possible. If they are unpacked but not planted ensure that they are soaked and wrapped back up securely. Never allow the roots to dry out at any time prior to and during planting. Before planting soak the whole plant in water overnight. When planted, the base of the canes (bud union) should be about 4 inches below ground level in cold winter areas and at ground level in mild winter areas. Water in well and mound the base of the canes with about 6 inches of compost, soil or bark chippings until the plants leaf out. We recommend the use of Start at planting time.
Regular watering is essential, the rose will be stronger, healthier and, most importantly, produce more flowers. Depending on your climate and the time of year it is recommended that deep watering should be done at least once a week and often more frequently.
Roses, especially the repeat flowering varieties, need a generous supply of nutrients regularly through the growing season although this should not be applied too close to the onset of winter. Slow release or organic fertilizers applied to the ground are the most effective; however foliar feeds are also valuable for a quick effect and to help keep the leaves healthy.
Mulching with organic matter (a very wide range is available) is a very important part of rose growing, helping to conserve water, keeping the ground cool and feeding the microorganisms and worms in the soil. It should preferably be well rotted and, if it starts to disappear during the season, be reapplied.
Growing in pots and containers
Roses look excellent grown in pots but be sure to choose varieties that are not too vigorous and select a pot that is as large as is practicable. The compost can dry out very quickly so do check they have sufficient moisture every day. Potting compost has limited nutrient content therefore feed regularly. In cold winter areas protect the rose well.
The best way to keep your plants free from pests and diseases is to choose disease resistant varieties and to grow them as well as possible. Depending on which region you are in and the varieties you grow, some spraying may be beneficial especially early in the growing season. As there are different chemicals and different laws in many of the states, it is best to seek local advice from your garden center, nursery or local rose society.
How to prune your roses