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How to grow a rose by

Rose Cultivation

Even for the inexperienced gardener, roses should pose no problem as long as the correct choice of variety for the location is made and a few, very simple, basic rules are followed. Unfortunately, a tradition has grown up that roses need special treatment to grow successfully. This has largely arisen from roses being grown for the perfect flower on the show bench which does, of course, require a high level of expertise. Many roses are very easy to grow. Listed below is a straight forward guide that will assist you in achieving the maximum enjoyment from your roses.

Variety Choice. Make a careful choice of varieties. Most roses we offer in this catalog will grow very well anywhere in the United States, however if you live in a region of extreme hot or cold then look at the list to the left, or contact us or your local rose society for further advice.

Sun. Choose a site with at least a few hours of sun each day and not under trees (except for Ramblers). Our experience in the UK and there is no reason why it should be any different in the US has been that English Roses planted (as either shrubs or climbers) at the foot of a North facing wall grow and flower very well. This is because the roses will still get morning and evening sun and, most importantly, the soil will stay cool and moist which are just the conditions roses love the most. What roses dislike most is growing under trees because of the competition at the roots and the drips from the leaves or a hot dry soil.

Planting distances. In a formal bedding scheme 18" is the ideal distance for Hybrid Teas, Floribundas and the more compact English Roses. This will make a good, full bed. In a rose border, planting in groups of 3 or more looks superb giving the effect of one large bush see the diagram to the right. Roses are superb as hedges, depending on the size of variety and the speed you want it to fill out 18" to 3¹. between plants is recommended.

Soil preparation. Roses appreciate good soil preparation. The addition of a generous quantity of well rotted manure or an organic compost and bonemeal both before planting and as an annual mulch in the Spring will make almost any soil suitable.

Growing Roses

Planting. On arrival, plant as soon as possible. If they are unpacked but not planted ensure that they are wetted and wrapped back up securely. Never allow the roots to dry out at any time prior to and during planting. Before planting soak the whole plant in water overnight. When planted the base of the canes (bud union) should be about 4" below ground level in cold winter areas and at ground level in mild winter areas. Water in well and mound the base of the canes with about 6" of compost, soil or bark chippings until the plants leaf out.

Fig. 3.
Rose plan
Rose Prunning

English Roses and repeat-flowering Old Roses, are best planted in groups of three of one variety. They will then grow together to form 'one' dense shrub, which will provide a more continuous display and make a more definite statement in the border. We suggest planting approximately 18" apart within the group. Adjacent plants of neighbouring varieties should be planted approximately 2'6" to 3' apart..

Watering. Regular watering is essential, the rose will be stronger, healthier and, most importantly, produce more flowers. Depending on your climate it is recommended that deep watering should be done at least once a week and often more frequently.

Winter Protection. The chances of survival can be improved by deep planting initially and by burying the stems with about ten inches of partly composted shredded bark or sawdust once winter has set in. If conditions are particularly cold, a waterproof covering over the top may be necessary.

Healthy roses. The best way to keep your plants free from pests and diseases is to grow them as well as possible. Depending on which region you are in and the varieties you grow, some spraying will be beneficial especially early in the growing season. As there are different chemicals and different laws in many of the states, it is best to seek local advice from your garden center or local rose society.

How to prune a rose

Pruning. Pruning is very easy. It should be carried out as spring growth starts, this will be early January in milder winter areas. Firstly remove any dead, diseased or very weak growth from the plant. Any stems that have become very old and woody and that are not producing vigorous new stems, should be removed. Repeat flowering bush / shrub roses should be cut down by between 1/3 and 2/3. (See Fig. 2. dotted line 1.).

Non repeating shrubs should be left alone or lightly pruned by no more than 1/3 (See Fig. 2. dotted line 2.).

Climbers - the previous year¹s flowering shoots should be reduced to 3 or 4 buds or about 6". Ramblers should be left to ramble at will unless they need to be constrained, in which case treat them as climbers.

Dead heading. It is useful to remove the flowers as they die, not only to keep the plant looking good, but also to encourage speedy repeat flowering. With a variety that produces many flowers in a cluster, each bloom can be easily snapped off and, when the last bloom has died, cut the stem back to the first full sized leaf. Alternatively, 12"or more (up to 3" in the warmer areas) of the stem can be removed if you want to restrict the size of the plant during the growing season. This is particularly important in climates that have hotter summers than the UK as it will also encourage repeat flowering. If the variety normally produces attractive hips then the flowers should not be removed.

Feeding. Roses, especially the repeat flowering varieties, need a generous supply of nutrients regularly through the growing season although this should not be applied too close to the onset of winter. Long term eg. organic fertilizers applied to the ground are the most effective, however foliar feeds are also valuable for a quick effect and to help keep the leaves healthy.


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