Romeo: "What's in a name?"
Juliet: "That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell
– William Shakespeare
Delicate petals in alabaster hues ... magnificent clusters of burgundy
blooms ... pastel peaches, pinks and yellows ... more than 4,000 varieties
in a staggering array of colors can confound even veteran gardeners.
The challenge isn’t deciding whether or not to plant roses, it’s
having to choose which ones.
Note: Different areas of the country may require slightly different
planting and growing techniques from the general guidelines here. Please
check with nurseries, agricultural extensions or an experienced rose
gardener for local requirements.
Making a Bed for Roses to Lie In
dwarf, standard, climber or hybrid tea – no matter which you choose,
they will add sweet scents for the senses.
Roses require abundant sunshine, rich, well-drained soil, dry leaves
and ample water. They also like to be tucked into a custom-made bed
that begins with a hole dug in two stages and soil layered with nutrients,
such as manure.
Making a proper bed for the garden royals may seem a bit fussy, but
so are the roses.
Begin by removing the dirt from a hole about two feet wide and 18 inches
deep. Spread three inches of manure over the bottom of the hole (or
choose a fertilizer recommended by your nursery or garden center). Dig
another 18 inches, but do not remove the dirt. Instead, work the nutrient
into the softened soil.
Return just 12 inches of dirt to the hole and mix the layers softened
soil. (A rototiller does an excellent job here.) Then back to the shovel
detail. Remove enough soil to make a hole two feet deep in a cone shape,
which will help direct the plant’s roots as they grow. (The additional
softened soil under that keeps drainage high and the chance of wet roots
As painful as it may be, the height of the rose bush may have to be
pruned short enough for the immature roots to support the plant but
without cutting below the graft site. Trim damaged roots, set the plant
in the hole, return the dirt, press to firm it, and shape the surface
dirt into a cone around the stalk.
Like people, roses need food, water and regular grooming. The menu
is simple – handful of fertilizer made just for roses once a month
and enough water to keep the soil moist but not wet (no puddles please!).
Clip dead and dying blooms. “Deadheading” preserves energy
and encourages new buds.
Watch for garden pests like beetles and aphids. In nature’s balanced
cycle, ants dine on aphids, so protect them. In return, you can nurture
the earth by trying natural remedies before resorting to chemicals.
Garlic planted in the rose bed discourages many bugs from setting up
housekeeping, as does a bit of dishwashing detergent in the water applied
to the bushes.
If you must eventually consider chemical pesticides, use only ones
specific to roses and follow the directions. More is not better.
Fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides that run off, leach during rains
and become airborne in the wind are the greatest sources of damage to
waterways and contamination of drinking water. You can make a difference.
My Botanica is your source of products
carefully chosen for their environmentally sensitive character. Our
team is always available to help you make a difference while helping
you grow and nurture prize roses. Please call toll free 1-888-722-4308.
The American Rose Society provides an excellent FAQ
on, among other matters, pruning and deadheading rose bushes.
The American Rose Society has also an evolving classification system
for rose bushes, but David Austin's schema Roses
for Specific Purposes/Positions is more useful for the beginner.
For a detailed article on planting bare root rose bushes, see Mark
Bare Root Rose Bushes.