Roses happen to be my very favorite flower. Rose gardening is a hobby I thoroughly enjoy.
In my opinion, there is nothing more beautiful than a rose bud that is opening into a lovely bloom. When I first start working on my own landscape design for my small backyard, one of the first things I do is to determine the best place for my rose garden.
Roses have always been considered a cut above other flowers. They are prized for their beauty and, in some cases, their fragrance. They are viewed as a classic flower.
One good thing about rose gardening is that you can plant only a few rose bushes or many.
You need to determine the purpose for your roses.
Some people use rose bushes as a border between lots. Others plant a rose garden along the front of a fence. You can use roses as accent plants to a flower garden. Or you can have a separate garden filled with rose bushes.
There are 3 types of roses – hybrid tea, grandiflora, and floribunda. If you are looking for beautiful, freshly cut roses for bringing inside, you need to plant hybrid teas.
You must face the fact that roses are more difficult to grow than regular flowers.
They are probably the most challenging form of gardening. They require weekly, and sometimes daily maintenance.
The difficulty to plant a rose garden should not discourage you from growing them. They do require a little more time than a regular flower garden. But once you become familiar with normal maintenance for roses, it is really not that difficult.
You must follow specific steps in researching types of roses, preparing your garden, planting your roses, and caring for your roses.
1. You must determine whether you want bare-root, pre-packed, or container-grown roses bushes.
You must know what hardiness zone you live in. You can obtain this information online or from local garden centers.
Bare-root pre-packaged plants should be planted after any danger of frost in your area and after the soil has warmed. This generally occurs in late winter and early spring depending on where you live. Pre-packaged plants are normally delivered in a box and wrapped in sawdust or some other material that retains moisture around the roots.
Container-grown plants can be purchased from garden centers and obviously come in containers. Many of these plants have already started to bloom.
Each of these 3 types of roses do very well and will differ in cost.
2. Find the right location for your rose garden. Roses prefer at least 6 hours of sun each day. Morning sun is better than afternoon sun.
Don’t plant your rose garden close to trees and shrubs. Roses need a lot of water. You don’t want them competing with trees and shrubs for moisture.
3. Just like in any other flower garden, the soil is a critical factor in growing beautiful roses. Roses thrive in a PH range between 5.8 to 6.8. You can test the soil yourself or you can take a sample of the soil to an agriculture extension service. The service will let you know what nutrients need to be added to the soil for best results.
The soil should be rich and contain large quantities of organic matter.
4. Rose bushes should have adequate spacing. Each plant requires adequate air circulation. It’s important to consider the mature size of the bush before planting. This also gives you room to move between the plants in pruning and fertilizing.
Hybrid Tea and Grandiflora roses should be planted at least 2 – 2½ fee apart. If you live in a warmer climate, it’s best plant them further apart.
Plant Floribunda roses 1½ – 2 feet apart.
Miniature roses should be planted from 1 – 3 feet apart.
Hedge roses should be planted a minimum of 6 feet apart.
Just a word of warning. In the past, I have planted my rose bushes too close together. My problem was in digging up my garden area. I was just too tired to go the extra foot or so to give the ample spacing required. I paid for that mistake later on.
5. Buy healthy plants. I like buying pre-packaged rose bushes from an online nursery. You can also buy bare-root or container grown varieties. The important thing here is to buy from a vendor that has an excellent reputation.
Never buy discount priced rose bushes. I will give you a couple of suggestions for online vendors in a future post. The advantage for an online vendor is the selection of roses that are available.
In the past, I would spend a great deal of time researching different types of roses. I like those that are rated highly and are fairly resistant to disease and pests. But when I looked for those varieties in local garden centers, they are many times not available.
I will cover some of my recommended varieties in a future post.
6. Planting rose bushes. Never plant a bush in hot weather. It’s best to plant in the late winter or early spring when the weather is cool. This allows plenty of time for the roots of the plant to become established before hot weather arrives.
It is best that the roots be soaked with water before planting. The roots of bare-root plants should be soaked for several hours.
Before planting rose bushes, cut off any dead or defective limbs of the plant. I have found it best to leave no more than 3-4 healthy limbs that are spaced apart.
Dig a hole that is at least 2 times bigger than the size of the mass of roots of the plant. The roots should be spread out in the hole. Bone meal and phosphorus should be added to promote root growth after planting rose bushes.
At least 2-3 inches of the bottom of the hole should contain good soil. You will be better off having more high quality soil at the bottom and sides of the hole. Having high quality soil is a major factor in successful rose gardening.
Place the plant in the hole. The bud union should be planted at the proper level. If you live in a cold climate (temperatures get below 0 degrees), the bud union should be 1 – 2 inches below the ground surface. In milder climates, the bud union can be about 1 inch above the ground surface.
Fill up the hole with a good quality soil mixture. Before completely filling the hole, water the plant so that the soil is wet around the plant itself.
You should have a sloping cone around the plant so that water and rain does not run off easily.
7. Caring for roses includes proper watering. Roses require large amounts of water. A thorough watering twice a week is probably needed. A light watering is not as effective.
8. Caring for roses includes proper fertilization. Roses are heavy feeders. They require several fertilizing applications. But it’s important to not over-fertilize. Applications should begin in the early spring and continue into the fall depending on where you live. I will publish a post on this procedure.
9. Pruning rose bushes is critical for beautiful roses gardening. After a rose bloom is no longer pretty, it should be cut off. The branch should be cut below the bloom at a 45 degree angle. For hybrid tea roses, I like to prune them just below the second 5-leaf cluster from the top. If you fail in properly pruning hybrid tea rose bushes, you will be very disappointed in the performance of your rose bush.
I hope this article has been helpful to you. If you have any questions about rose gardening or would like specific topics covered, please let me know and I will answer your questions.
Here are some other posts on Rose Gardening:
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