I was asked today on Spirit Radio about rose care.Not an expert on roses but I know with all flowering plants a good foundation in rich organic soil is the key to a healthy plant.
Coming into May they are should be growing well. To encourage flowers as it is all about the roses.
- All dead and diseased wood.
- Stand back and look at its shape.
- Branches that are crossing keep the one that will allow the plant to grow out. You should be looking for a cup shape. This allows air to circulate, cutting down on a spore bone fungus called Grey mould.
- If you didn’t get around to pruning in the autumn — this prevents the roses rocking in heavy wind and also aids shape development, prune lightly as the new growth will produce the flowers.
- Check the ground for old leaves as they can harbour the spores of last years Blackspot. Don’t add these leaves to your compost unless you know they will break down very well.
- Apply a mulch of well-rotted manure or simply an organic mulch which will prevent any remaining spores from splashing up not the new growth.
- Hopefully with a good mulch at the base protecting the soil from evaporation yours should be ok but wind can be a feature of drying — remember how our clothes dry on the clothesline, well the same applies to our plants. Keep an eye-the plant will also tell you. Roses don’t like overwatering either.
- Some roses only flower once and the ones that repeat will need feeding during the growing season to encourage new flowers.This can be a foliar feed or a drench at the base of the plant.I will often give a second feeding just as the first big bloom starts to develop, and one more in the middle of the summer to promote later flushes.
- Also, roses need to be watered during dry spells. The Alhambra in Spain is a scented garden with many roses, and it was the development of an excellent irrigation system by the Moore’s which allowed them to do so.Repeat bloomers, you can feed them several times through the growing season to encourage additional blooms.
- Overfeeding can produce sappy growth which is open to aphid attack – back and whitefly.Using a pressurised hose to wash off is one solution Aphids, do the same job to plants that mosquitoes do to humans, they introduce a virus.
Where to grow.
- Lots of sunlight, growing in shady conditions they will not flourish to their potential.
- Traditionally rose were grown on their own — they can look magnificent but also awful.The advantage is that you are able to keep a close eye on them, preventing black spot and also easier to feed at once.Plants like companionship, as in isolation any visiting predators have only the roses to feast on.
- I like to grow mine in mixed beds, but I actually was received gifts of roses shrubs in memory of my sister Frances and ended up planting them together, but my intention is to fill up the space around them with annuals such as- Cosmos, bulbs Alliums, lavender Lavandula, Nepeta catmint, Alchemilla mollies ladies mantle, Dianthus pinks. Good companions also act as living mulches—suppressing weeds and lightly shading the soil, keeping their roots nice and cool, with their heads in the sun.
Companion planting with roses
- Good rose companions are those that hide their bare legs. Traditionally, lavender (Lavandula), catmint (Nepeta), lady’s mantle (Alchemilla)great in an arrangement, and tall growing pinks (Dianthus) Alliums all make good partners. Good companions also act as living mulches—suppressing weeds and lightly shading the soil, keeping their roots nice and cool, heads in the sun.
- Alliums including ornamental alliums deter aphids and other pests by confusing them with their strong scent. They also help roses combat black spot. While garlic and chives are most commonly recommended.That is why you will see roses growing vegetable gardens.
- Yarrow – attracts ladybugs, which will then eat any nearby aphids.
- Marigolds (Calendula and Tagetes) — deter pests and help encourage strong plant growth.
- True Geraniums – repel Japanese beetles, aphids, and other rose beetles Another important insect in your garden is the wasp as they also feed on aphids.
When buying roses, to be sure you are getting the colour you want, buy them in bloom.Although the best time is in autumn, then you might not get what you want.Most roses are planted on a rootstock, that of a wild rose, leave this exposed so that if you see the growth you can prune it away — if left it will take over.
•First, give the root ball a good soak in a bucket of water for 15 minutes before you plant.If the compost is dry, it will remain dry in the hole.
•Dig a hole around one 30 cm -foot deep and at least a 30cm-foot wider all around than the root ball of the plant.
•Add some organic matter generously; again garden compost or well-rotted horse manure is ideal, around the planting hole. You want the roots to search out nutrition and not remain happy in its spot.Also, try digging a square hole.
If you are planting in a position where there had been a rose, add some Mycorrhizal Fungi to the planting hole. Make sure the roots are in contact as they act as a bridge from the roots to the soil allowing for quicker and better root establishment. Where roses had been grown previously, the soil could be tired, another good reason to add plenty of organic matter.
In Kew Botanical gardens they have completely changed the soil in their rose garden as the roses had been performing for many years and it was felt the soil was completely exhausted. Our gardens would not have had the same pressure but a healthy well-fed soil will provide great rewards, not only for roses but for all your plants.
This is the tip of the iceberg concerning roses. One more thing, plant scented roses.
I hope this was of help.