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How to Grow Roses

March 14th, 2012 Gardening

Roses are one of the most popular flowers and they make great arrangements and gifts for family and friends. If you're thinking of growing your own, you should learn about what it takes to care for roses and how to plant them. Here's everything you need to know, according to All-America Rose Selections (AARS) and RoseGardeningGuru.com.

Planting Roses like rich soil that is well-drained and slightly acidic, with a pH around 6 or 6.5. They need 8 to 10 hours of sunlight each day and grow best when they're protected from harsh wind and cold. Pick a spot for your roses based on this criteria. Roses are best planted with bare roots in early spring before new growth appears, and it's important to keep the roots damp before it's time to plant them. Dig a large hole with compost or rich soil along the bottom, paired with a fertilizer. Gently fan the roots over this cone of soil and fill in the hole with a mixture of soil and whatever you used to fill the bottom of the hole.

Watering You should water your roses immediately after you plant them to help them settle in. Few areas of the country can rely on rainfall alone to water roses, so you'll have to water the soil around your plants a few times a week. Do this slowly until the water sinks down 12 to 18 inches deep. Avoid getting water on any of the foliage, as it can spread disease.

Mulching To prevent weeds, you may want to place mulch around your roses. This will also add nutrients and keep the soil moist. Organic mulch works best, and includes wood chips, pine needles, shredded bark or leaves. Add mulch in the spring as the soil is starting to warm up and before any weeds have a chance to grow. Cover the bed with 2 to 4 inches of mulch, leaving some open space around the base.

Fertilizing The AARS suggests treating fertilizer like a treat and reward for your roses. Feed them first when the bush first develops leaves, then continue throughout the season after each flush of blooms. Stop fertilizing about two months before the first frost, which is usually around Labor Day in most of the country. Any commercial rose food or general fertilizer will work well, as long as you follow the instructions by the manufacturer.

Preventing pests and disease Insects like spider mites, rose bud borers, Japanese beetles and Leafcutter bees love roses just as much as you do. Get rid of them by using organic insecticides or spraying on a mixture of mild soap and water. You can prevent most fungal diseases by ensuring that your plants have plenty of airflow. Overcrowding your roses will produce lots of extra moisture. If your plants do become infected, prune diseased sections and apply a fungicide.

Pruning Pruning your roses can promote new blooms and help you control the size and shape of your garden, so you shouldn't be shy about using the shears. Make sure to wear gloves when you're pruning to protect your hands from the thorns. You should prune your roses in the early spring, cutting off any dead, diseased or damaged wood back to where it's healthy. You should make each cut at a 45 degree angle to prevent water from setting on the area. Get rid of any large branches running through the center, as these will prevent airflow once the leaves grow. You should also remove any small, thin stems by cutting them as close to the plant as possible. Seal with a pruning paste if you think disease or pests may be a problem