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How to Grow Beautiful Roses – Planting, Growing and Care

“Growing beautiful roses does come with a few challenges, but it’s easier than you might think–especially if you follow these secrets to success.” - Kris Wetherbee

How to Grow Roses

How to Grow Roses – Choose appropriate varieties for your region

Narrow down your options by considering these four basic attributes:

  • Size (is the size suited to your space?)
  • Hardiness (is it only marginally hardy in your area or will it withstand weather extremes?);
  • Maintenance (choose disease-resistant varieties if fungal diseases are a problem in your area);
  • Blooms (what is the color, bloom season and frequency of blooms?).

1. Be picky about where to plant

Roses thrive when grown in ideal conditions, which include a sunny, wind-protected area with good air circulation and well-drained soil having a pH somewhere between 5.5 to 7.0. At least six hours of daily sunshine is best; give afternoon shade or filtered shade where summer heat is intense.  Planting roses in the right location is key.

2. Tune in on timing

Roses sold with bare roots (known as “bare root roses”) are planted in late winter to early spring or about two to three weeks prior to the average date of your last spring frost. Wait to plant roses sold in containers until after all danger of frost has passed.

3. Properly prep the soilHow to Grow Roses

Work a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost, or a combination of aged manure and ground bark or other organic matter into the soil. This will improve drainage in clay soils, help with moisture retention in sandy soils, and feed plants in the case of compost or aged manure.

4. Dig with optimum growth in mind

Water roses in containers before planting; give bare root roses a good 8- to 24-hour soaking in a bucket of water. Dig a hole about the same depth and 50- to 100-percent wider than the root system or root ball. Mix a handful of bone meal or rock phosphate in the bottom of each planting hole.

How to Grow RosesForm a small mound of soil in the center. Set the plant in the hole, spreading its roots over the mound. (The top of the root ball should be at ground level.) Back fill around the roots, then fill the hole with more soil. Water the soil gently and thoroughly, adding more soil as needed.

5. Make the most of mulch

Spread a 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch around the plant, keeping a 4- to 6-inch mulch-free zone around the plant base. The added mulch acts as an insulating blanket that helps to conserve soil moisture, keep soil cooler in summer, and deter weeds. It also increases beneficial soil microorganisms that convert organic matter into a plant-friendly food source.


Feed when hungry

The initial compost or aged manure will get your new rose bushes off to a great start and provide everything they need to get established. After that, the fertilizer routine for each new growing season should go as follows: Fertilize in late winter or early spring just after growth begins. Fertilize after flowering ends for one-time bloomers; feed after each blooming cycle has ended for repeat bloomers.

Stop feeding applications at least six weeks before the first hard frost is expected. In mild-winter areas, stop fertilizing by mid-October.

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