Saturday, 26 May 2007


Ever had problems growing roses? Well, if you’ve answered yes then fear not because this week I will talk about the basics for growing great roses. I used to have a bit of an aversion to the spikes on rose bushes. The reason for this was because I used to charge into gardens to do the work and if there was a spiky plant it would get me. As I have slowed down a bit I can now appreciate why these plants are so popular.

If you are just beginning to grow roses, select a healthy specimen from your local nursery. Nurseries generally choose plants that do well in the North West and have healthy stock. Roses can be purchased bare-rooted or in a container. They should have 2 healthy, green stems, minimum. Pay attention to the root system. Does it have 4-5 thick roots and multitudes of smaller, fibrous roots? If so you are picking a good one

A rose will become a permanent member of your garden. Therefore it is important to choose a site that takes this into consideration. A rose should receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily in order to thrive. Morning sun is preferable for most plants, including the rose. Avoid planting your rose in areas that receive high winds. You can protect your roses by planting them near a fence, wall or other barrier. Don't plant roses too close to other shrubs or trees. These will compete with the rose for nutrients, sunlight and water. Roses do not like to stand in water so make sure they have proper drainage.

Prepare your soil. Roses prefer heavy clay loam that has been thoroughly tilled and enriched with organic matter. Organic fertilizers can be bought. These should have the three basic elements - nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium or NPK. The ratio should be 6-2-1, not exceeding 15. You can also custom make your own organic matter by composting and add this to the soil. Failing that just throw your old banana skins around the plant. The drainage, aeration and moisture content will all be improved with the addition of organic matter. Add lime to very acid soils and add organic matter to alkaline soils.


Plant bare-rooted roses preferably in the late autumn or early winter and if you must, in the early spring. If planting is delayed, keep the roots moist and store in a cool, dark place. Plant as soon as possible. Container grown roses can be planted any time of the year as long as the soil is not frozen.

Plant your roses correctly. First, make sure your roots are thoroughly wet by letting the bare roots or container soak in water up to an hour before planting. Prune off any dead, damaged or diseased roots and top growth. Dig a hole deep enough to accommodate all the roots comfortably. Holes should be around 12-18 inches deep and 15-18 inches wide. They should not be crowded. The bud union (the place where the roots and top growth meet) should rest approximately 1 inch below the soil's surface. At this time you could add bone meal or compost. Make a small mound of dirt at the bottom of the hole. Spread the roots around this mound making sure that bunches of roots, clumps, are separated. Cut off any scraggly roots. Generally on new rose bushes, the canes sprout mainly from one side. To produce a well-rounded plant, place the rose with the sprouting side facing north. The southern exposure will help to stimulate growth on the bare side of your rose. Depending upon their final size, in general, roses should be spaced 1 foot from the edge of the bed and 30 inches apart. Rose bushes should be provided with at least 2.5 to 4 feet of space in which to grow. While miniature roses only need about 12 inches in which to grow. Plant climbing roses in the same manner but provide them with support from the very beginning. Finally, fill your hole in with soil, packing firmly around the base of the rose. Water the plant thoroughly. Do not mulch until spring.Feed and water your roses regularly.


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