It's Valentine's Day and a handful of classic gifts come to mind: boxes of chocolates, cards of affection, cupid with his bow & arrow. One of the most renowned symbols of Valentine's Day: the rose. According to About Flowers, more than 250 million roses are sold every Valentine's Day — that's an impressive number! But what's better than giving your Valentine roses once a year? How about every day of the growing season? Growing great roses – or any flowers for that matter – isn't nearly as hard as you think. Follow our tips below to find out how you can have a rose garden with ease.
Before you plant:
• Make sure you choose a rose variety right for your climate. Checkout the USDA Hardiness map to know what hardiness zone you live in. From there, you can find plenty of resources for species that will thrive where you live. Your local nursery will have some great recommendations.
• Test your soil’s pH level. Soil pH kits can be picked up at most home improvement stores, including Home Depot and Lowe's. A near-neutral level (between 5.5-7.0) will ensure your roses get the best start to thrive.
• Good soil drainage, along with rich, loose soil are critical to growing success. If planting more than one bush, make sure to give them plenty of room for proper air circulation.
• Choose a spot that will provide 5 to 6 hours of full sun each day. Morning sun will dry the leaves, preventing diseases, while partial sun can gradually weaken your roses.
• Roses love room to grow. Planting will depend on species and age of the rose you are planting. If planting store-bought juvenile plants, your planting hole should be 15 to 18 inches wide (but refer to the instructions for more clarification).
• Loose, mounded soil around the cane--where the stems enter the soil--will help it adjust to its new location.
• Newly planted roses should be soaked with water once in the ground, and our drip kits are perfect for that that (more on that later).
Proper Care and Feeding:
• During dry summer weather, be sure to soak the roots at least twice a week. Shallow sprinklings could encourage fungus and won’t reach the roots. Reduce the water in fall, but don’t let your roses dry out completely. Drip watering systems are perfect for this and can be adjusted to a higher flow as the roses grow.
• Using 2 to 4 inches of mulch around the base of your roses will help conserve water, and encourage growth. Leave at least 1 inch between the plant stem and the mulch.
• The right fertilizer should be applied monthly from late spring to mid-summer (usually this is a 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 mix, but refer to specific species recommendations). You can also use more natural fertilizers, such as home made compost.
• Too much variation exists in pruning needs from species-to-species, so be sure to refer to the recommendations for suggested pruning schedules.
• Generally, the goal is to have upward reaching branches that form a vase-like shape.
• Remove diseased leaves as soon as possible. Also, keep an eye out for insects, for which there are plenty of pesticide treatment options.
• Prevent overwintering of diseases by cleaning up the beds, and spraying with a dormant spray.
• Continue watering in the dry, fall weather to ensure plants stay healthy during a dry winter.
• Stop fertilizing 6 weeks before the first frost.
• Add mulch before the ground freezes, but after a few frosts.