Roses

Roses

What's in a name?
That which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet.”
- Shakespeare


Roses and people have a few things in common. First, no two are alike. Each one bears its own scent, shape and size. No two have the exact same coloring. Some have more thorns, some are quite tenacious and others too delicate for words. People and roses are both comprised of 85% water. Stress is hard on humanity and influences the longevity of a rose bush as well.

Growing roses might seem an impossible task for new gardeners – but, it doesn’t have to be that way. With proper planting and care, anyone can grow gorgeous roses.

First, let’s plant a rose:

1. Make sure you’ve selected a site that gets at least six hours of sun each day and that the soil drains well.
2. If the soil is not fertile, plan to amend it before planting. You can do this by mixing in compost.
3. It doesn’t matter if you are planting one rose or several, the area you plan to plant roses in needs to be cleared of all any grass, roots, stones, etc.
4. Potted roses can be planted any time between spring and fall. However, springtime is preferred.
5. Your hole should be approximately 2 feet deep, and wide enough to accommodate the root system.
- Remove the rose gently from the pot and place it in the hole. Pat the soil in around the roots (or root ball), leaving no air holes.
- Pat soil down gently, but firmly so that the rose will not tip over. Do not overpack.
6. Water it thoroughly.

Now, let’s take care of that rose:

1. It cannot be said enough, WATER, is the most important part of caring for your rose. A rose bush requires at least one inch of water weekly throughout the growing season. That season begins in the spring. It’s important to water your rose bush correctly:
- Water at the soil line using either a soaker hose or similar means. Rose bushes are very susceptible to fungal diseases which include blackspot and powdery mildew…especially when their foliage is kept too wet.
- Overhead watering is not recommended.
2. FERTILIZER should be applied to roses in the spring. Follow the instructions on your packaging carefully.
3. MULCHING will help retain moisture and may also offer some winter protection. However, do not stuff the mulch right up next to the rose bush canes in warm weather.
4. PRUNING is an important part of rose bush care. This should take place once leaf buds begin to appear in the spring. Carefully cut approximately ¼ inch above the bud eyes and prune out any overly twiggy or unhealthy branches.

Let’s Get Ready for Winter

Michigan winters can be hard on roses. Following the steps below will help protect them:

1. Stop feeding your rose(s) in mid-August and stop removing buds or pruning beginning in late September.
2. If you rose is grafted the graft knob should have been buried several inches below ground level at the time you planted it. Make sure it’s covered.
3. Make sure the bush is well mulched under the stems.
4. Pick up any dropping rose leaves to prevent any foliage overwintering near the bush – to avoid disease in the Spring.
5. If you have tea roses and feel they are susceptible to hard/high winds you can put a rose collar around the bush the fill it with wood shavings or mulch after a couple of hard frosts. Rose collars are made of hard flexible plastic that you snap around the bush. The open top allows easy filling with choice of material and keeps the plant from overheating. If the bush sticks out of the top of the sleeve, leave it be. Don’t cut it off. NOTE: Rose cones are not advisable. They are closed on top and can overheat the plant on sunny days.

If you’ve never worked with roses, start small. Planting one rose bush and having success with it will bolster your confidence. Don’t be intimidated – just follow the steps listed above, giving your rose bush exactly what it needs, and before you know it, you’ll be smelling the sweet fragrance of a healthy rose!

NOTE: K Drive Greenhouse sells only potted roses. If you purchase bareroot roses from another source, you should be aware that planting directions are somewhat different and ask your supplier to provide them to you.