Do you love to garden? Do you grow flowers? What’s your favorite? One of my all-time favorites is the rose. It has such a fresh, soft beauty about the petals, and with the right variety, a delicious perfume!
I used to grow roses. Now Mom grows them, and I take pictures. Her rose bush is very happy this year!
But when I visited the Hamann Rose Garden and the Rotary Garden here in Lincoln just a day or two ago, I was very disappointed. Those roses were looking a little puny!
Some years by this time, the bushes are so full of leaves and flowers that they’re covered in color!
Well, it’s a little early in the season, and the weather’s been fluctuating between hot and cold in a way that roses don’t particularly like… I suppose there are reasons why those roses might not be at their best. Hopefully they’ll fill out with flowers as the weather warms up more reliably into June. Already there are lots of buds…
Here are some tips for encouraging your roses to bloom beautifully year after year:
- Plant your roses in a sheltered spot that gets plenty of sun, but doesn’t allow the wind to batter the flowers to an early death.
- Roses love coffee grounds, tea leaves, Epsom salts, the occasional aspirin (!), and having mulch over their roots but not right up against the stem of the plant.
- Roses don’t tolerate driveway salt very well or alkaline soil. If you have alkaline soil where you’re going to plant your rose, it’s best to dig the hole deeper and wider than the size of the plant, then add lots of organic matter (humus, peat moss, grass clippings) to counteract the alkalinity of the soil.
- Roses need frequent watering.
- Don’t over-prune! While a rose can grow back from older, woody stems, last year’s growth will help give a better, earlier show. Also, if you’re growing a hybrid grafted onto a hardier root-stock, over-pruning may kill the graft, allowing the root-stock to send up stems with inferior roses in a color and variety completely unrelated to what you originally purchased.
- Do deadhead, unless your rose is a variety that grows edible rose hips.
- Protect your rose from extreme temperatures. Avoid planting too near any hot wall that receives lots of sun (save that space for your bell peppers and hot peppers). In climates where the temperature plunges below freezing in winter, piling mulch up around the stem in late fall can help a rose over-winter; so can wrapping in burlap sacking or covering with a large flower pot. Be sure to unwrap the rose and move mulch away as soon as temps begin to warm in spring, to allow enough sun to reach the new buds.
- The best cure for aphids is ladybugs. Lots and lots of ladybugs…
- If your rose’s leaves develop black spots or another illness, as soon as you notice a problem, I recommend taking a cutting to a local nursery or your county extension office to request assistance in determining the nature of the illness and how to treat it. Some diseases the rose can fight off with minimal assistance, and others will need more help.
- Last but not least, always make time to stop and smell the roses! Oh, and pick some to enjoy in the house too! What use is a beautiful rose if no one ever bothers to enjoy it?