Our romance with the Rose goes back thousands of years. Symbols of love and beauty, they have become a favorite plant of gardeners around the world. At times considered difficult to grow, roses today exhibit greater flower production, improved disease resistance and beautiful fragrance. They come in sizes and shapes to suit any landscape purpose, whether that be a formal rose garden, part of a mixed border, twining up a trellis, or showing off in a container.
The diversity of roses is simply astonishing. With a long history dating back centuries, roses have undergone many transformations to be the beautiful blooms we enjoy today. Breeding efforts in recent years have combined the virtues of the old garden roses with the modern rose classes, resulting in the myriad of beautiful and easier-to-care for choices we enjoy today!
CARE & MAINTENANCE
To perform their best, roses prefer a full sun location, meaning 6 or more hours of sunlight each day. They need a soil rich in organic matter, and consistent and regular watering. Roses are heavy feeders and a monthly feeding with an organic fertilizer such as Rose-Tone will provide the necessary nutrients to ensure the largest number of flowers. Roses should be fertilized from May until the first of September. As fall approaches, stop fertilizing as you do not want to encourage new growth which may not have time to harden off before the cold weather arrives.
Pruning need not be difficult or intimidating. In very early spring as the leaf buds are beginning to swell, use a sharp pair of hand pruners to remove dead and crossing canes. The rule of thumb is to shorten the canes by one-third, but if you want to reduce or contain the overall size of the rose, now is the time to cut it back hard. Make your cut a half inch above an outward facing bud. This will direct new growth to the outside of the plant rather than into the center, allowing sunlight and air into the center of the plant.
During the season, spent blooms should be removed, again with clean and sharp hand pruners, to encourage further flower development. For many years it was thought that you had to cut above a five-leaflet compound leaf but this is now proven to be unnecessary. Simply prune back to the next leaf break, regardless of how many leaflets there are.
Many roses appreciate winter protection to keep them uniformly cold all winter, preventing the damaging effects of alternate freezing and thawing. Wait until a hard frost has caused most of the leaves to fall and even until the temperature has dropped into the teens for several nights. Remove any foliage or other debris on the ground that might harbor disease for the next season. Prune long canes that might whip in the wind but in general, pruning at this point should be kept to a minimum.