Do all of the instructions below look like too much work? We think so too. Check out the Low Maintenance Roses now available at Garden Gate Nursery. We now exclusively carry tough, disease-resistant roses such as David Austin Roses, Easy Elegance Roses, and Knockout Roses. This is in stark contrast to when we first opened in 1995, when almost all the roses we and everyone else sold were the finicky hybrid teas. Read on below for information about caring for the disease-prone roses that you may still have in your garden, and for planting tips that are relevant to both the old and new roses.
Roses need at least 6 hours of sun daily, from spring to fall. They like their own space, so plant them far enough away from other plants that their leaves don’t brush against each other. Plant roses where they will be protected from falling ice and snow.
Roses prefer rich, organic soil. We suggest planting in one part organic material—peat moss, compost, or manure—to two parts soil.
Trim off any broken roots or stems. Dig a hole as deep as the container is high and loosen the soil on the bottom and sides with your shovel. Tea roses can be planted up the graft up to 5 inches deep for protection. Fill the hole with water. If it does not drain in one hour, you’ll need better drainage. You can either dig deeper or plant the rose in a raised mound. Plant so that the original soil is even with ground level. Fill halfway with soil mixture, soak with water, and fill the rest of the way.
Form a water trough with a 2 inch mound of soil around the outer edge of the plant. Gently soak the soil with water until saturated. The best way to water is at ground level to a depth of 5 or 6 inches. If you water from above, do so in the early morning so the flowers and leaves have a chance to dry before the heat of the day. This discourages disease. When you can’t feel any moisture an inch below the surface, it is time to water again.
Do not fertilize until your roses are fully leafed out. Apply a balanced fertilizer, like Miracle Gro Rose Food, to each plant in a circle a foot or two from the base. Fertilize again after the first bloom, then 6 weeks before the anticipated first frost (but not after September 1 in most areas). For proper hardening of canes for winter, do not fertilize late in fall.
Mulch about 2 or 3 inches deep to control weeds, retain water, and cool roots in hot weather. Since some mulch takes nitrogen from the soil, you’ll need to replenish it with a high-nitrogen fertilizer.
Never allow the soil to become hard during the growing season. Break the outer crust of the soil to allow air to enter, being careful not injure roots growing near the surface.
Spraying or dusting
When you first see buds, spray or dust every 7 days. After the first bloom cycle, cut back to every 10 days. When the temperature reaches 80 degrees or above, do not spray or dust except after rain or irrigation.
In order to slow growth for the winter, do not prune the final blooms in the fall. Rake off all leaves from the rose bed to prevent diseases. Apply a dormant spray or oil such as lime sulfur to get rid of diseases that might return in the spring. We suggest surrounding your roses with a plant collar. Fill the mesh in with plant starter for insulation. If there is no rain or snow for a few weeks during the dormant season, water your roses to prevent them from drying out. Prune the dead wood from the rose in spring.