Roses (genus Rosa) are some of the most popular and beautiful flowering shrubs grown, but starting a rose garden may seem daunting to new gardeners. However, growing roses for beginners doesn't have to be a stressful endeavor. In fact, with proper planting and care, nearly anyone can become a successful rose gardener.
When growing roses, it's important to choose a site receiving at least 6 hours of sun each day. Rose bushes must also be located in well-drained, fertile soil. Plant dormant roses in early spring (or fall). Potted plants can be planted any time between spring and fall, but preferably spring.
If you're planting bare-root roses, presoak them in water for at least 24 hours before placing them in the ground.
Both bare root and potted rose bushes need to be planted about 2 feet (60 cm) deep, with the hole large enough to accommodate the roots. Backfill the hole with soil, adding some well-rotted manure in with it and water thoroughly. Then mound up additional soil around the base of the plant. Note that this is not necessary for actively growing roses.
Caring for rose bushes is important to their overall health and vigor, especially when it comes to watering. Roses require at least an inch (2.5 cm) of water weekly throughout their growing season, beginning in spring or following spring planting. While overhead watering is suitable before the onset of new growth, it is often better to water these plants at the soil line using soaker hoses or similar means. Rose bushes are very susceptible to fungal diseases, such as black spots and powdery mildew, especially when their foliage is kept too wet.
Fertilizer for roses should also be applied in spring, following the label instructions carefully. However, with the addition of well-rotted manure each spring, this is usually adequate. Mulching your rose bush will help retain moisture and may also offer some winter protection.
Pruning is another aspect to consider when caring for rose bushes. This often takes place once leaf buds appear in spring. Make cuts about 1/4 inch (8 mm) above the bud eyes and prune out any twiggy or unhealthy branches.
Starting a rose garden and knowing how to take care of roses shouldn't be intimidating. It's easier than you might think. Just give them what they need, and before you know it, you'll be rewarded with beautiful blooms.
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