Basic Tips for Rose Gardening

Rose gardens are the pride and joy of many homeowners and communities. Caring for them, however, takes time and a few expert tips. When selecting new roses to plant, you should look for several distinct factors. Buy plants that are at least two years old. And be sure they are both field grown and have buds. If your new addition is in a tar pot, it is possible to transplant it most times throughout the year. Otherwise the prime time for planting in colder climates is late Winter and early Spring. You can, and should of course, refer to your local climate zone for more specifics. You must make sure there is no more chance of frost, and that the soil is not frozen, at the time of planting. If you live in a warmer climate, such as Florida, then you can plant during Fall and Winter.

The National Gardening Association notes, “A rose in a container can be planted any time of year, weather permitting (that is, ground isn’t frozen, etc.). It is best to plant in the spring and fall so the roots have a chance to make a home for themselves before they are stressed by extreme cold or heat.”

“But can I plant during Summer?” you ask. Certainly! Simply take extra precautions to keep the plant well-watered, and the roots moist. Plant your roses at least 24 inches apart, in order to give them room for growth. If you have purchased bare roots plants, then be sure to rehydrate the roots before planting. This can be facilitated by setting the roots in a bucket of water for 8 to 12 hours.

Rose Magazine reports, “If you have received bare-root bushes from a mail order nursery or have some healed in from winter storage you may want to soak them in a bucket of water for a few hours before planting. If you have purchased your roses in containers, you do not have to pre-soak them before planting.”

There are specific diseases and pests you must keep a look out for in your rose garden. One of these is black-spot, characterized by tell-tale black half inch black spots on the upper leaf surface. Eventually, if left untreated, the leaves will turn yellow and fall away. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Pest Management office says, “Black spot is one of the most common and important diseases of roses throughout the world. It is caused by the fungus Diplocarpon rosae. Black spot will cause a general weakening of the plant so that progressively fewer and fewer blooms are formed if the disease is left unchecked. Plants so weakened are increasingly subject to winter injury.” Like most fungi, black-spot needs moisture to thrive.

Consider planting your roses in areas that get lots of direct sunlight. And remove diseased leaves as soon as you recognize them. As your roses progress through the seasons, there will come a time for pruning. The majority of pruning is done in the spring. It encourages new growth, keeps your plant healthy, and allows you to control the size and shape of your plant. The University of Illinois recommends the process of “deadheading.” This means simply removing faded flowers before they turn to seed. You should do this all throughout the summer, as often as needed. They note, “The standard recommendation is to cut the flower stem back to an outward-facing bud above a five-leaflet or seven-leaflet leaf.” For more detailed information on rose care, consider reading “Roses: Placing Roses, Planting & Care, The Best Varieties by Sunset Books, which is endorsed by the American Rose Society.

by Carla Hill at

Published July 20, 2010


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