Rose Gardening: From Cultivating to Pruning
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Published by TOP4 Team
The rose is a classic garden flower. Used as a symbol of love, beauty, passion – even war – its delightful fragrance, countless colours and shapes still earn it a place in any garden, from the borders to a trellis or pergola.
Planting and caring for roses is not as difficult as it may seem. If you’re armed with a sturdy pair of gardening gloves to protect you from their thorns, some secateurs and patience, your garden can soon include a wide variety of roses that will delight you and your visitors.
The original rose species and natural rose hybrids grow wild in most Northern Hemisphere, temperate climates. Developing the double flower and, eventually, modern hybrids with a high, pointed centre in which ancestral floral characteristics are almost totally submerged.
Potted plants are available to plant throughout the year. Bare-rooted roses are available in winter and should be planted by the end of August.
- Soak bare-rooted plants in a bucket of water with added seaweed tonic for several hours before planting. This helps alleviate transplant shock.
- If there are any damaged roots, cut them off cleanly before planting.
- Plant roses so that the graft area is just above the surface of the ground. Usually a change in colour on the stem shows the depth at which the rose was planted at the nursery. Plant at this depth.
- Create a mound of soil in the bottom of the planting hole. Spread the roots over the mound and backfill, firming the soil around the roots.
- Use a seaweed tonic when planting or transplanting to give roses a great, natural boost.
- Pay attention to the distance between plants: it should usually be 40-45cm; 20cm is adequate for dwarf roses, while climbing roses need at least 1.5cm.
- Provide roses with at least one botanical companion, as fragrant flowers or herbs will help keep many pests away. Examples are lavender, rosemary, thyme, French marigolds, chives, garlic and onions.
- Remove any winter protection from roses on a cloudy overcast. Too much sun and warmth can give the plants a shock after their winter’s rest.
- Fertilise roses in early to mid spring.
- Use water-soluble fertilisers only when the weather is damp.
- Nurture roses with manure and water. Add a large plant pot of dried manure to 8 litres of water and leave to soak for a couple of days. Dilute the liquid so that it will give the colour of weak tea and pour on the root area.
- Rake finely chopped banana skins into the soil to provide the plants with lime, magnesium, sulphur, nitrogen, potassium, phosphate and silicic acid.
- Water roses thoroughly but not daily during dry periods. Depending on the plant’s size, during a drought a rose will need 10-20 litres of water per week to produce luxuriant flowers.
- Never water roses from above as this could result in fungal diseases.
- Prevent fungal diseases by spraying roses in the morning with a solution of 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in 4 litres of water. Add 2-3 drops of liquid soap to blend the solution more effectively.
- Stop fertilising roses at least 1 month before the first frosts are likely to occur. Fertilising for too long into autumn encourages roses to produce tender new growth that will get nipped by the cold.
- In frost-prone regions, keep bush roses from lifting in the winter by covering the root area with compost. Tie large bush or climbing roses with string to keep them from breaking in the wind or under a heavy load of snow.
Prune roses properly to encourage growth and the formation of buds.
- Wear gloves and use good secateurs. It’s easy to injure yourself when cutting climbing or bush roses.
- Twist off suckers that sprout from the ground at the base. They look different from the main plant.
- Remove prunings immediately from the garden as they can be a haven for insects and disease pathogens. Add this garden waste to the household rubbish rather than the compost pile, since many disease pathogens can withstand even the high temperatures inside the compost.
- Cut back bush roses by about a third in summer to produce bushier growth and autumn flowers.
If you need professional help in maintaining your garden, consult one of the top gardening services.