A whole month dedicated to a plant? You better believe it! Roses hold a special place in the hearts and minds of people everywhere. Their striking beauty and lovely fragrance not only elevate your garden but also have come to symbolize love, war, history, shows like The Bachelor, and even movies such as Beauty and the Beast. While some view roses as difficult, we are here to tell you that roses, just like relationships, just need just a little extra love and effort. Here are our tips for bringing the elegance of roses and all they stand for into your backyard.
FROM THE BEGINNING
Planning ahead will not only impact the success of your roses but also help you highlight their beauty. When choosing where your roses will be placed, you want to look for a location with at least 6 hours of sun and good drainage. Planting next to a South or West facing fence or wall will help minimize the damage of our harsh Wisconsin winters. You also want to plan how your roses will be used whether it is as focal points, border shrubs, climbing vines, etc. Determining the use will help you choose the variety in addition to looking for disease-resistant and locally-hardy varieties.
When planting roses, mixing in leaf compost and adding root stimulator will help the plant get established and also create more even soil conditions which will lead to greater health and longevity.
Roses do their best when the soil moisture is uniform so regular watering on hot and humid days can make a big difference. When watering it is best to water in the morning at ground level or use soaker hoses. Wet leaves, especially at night, are much more prone to diseases such as powdery mildew and black spot.
Hard pruning is best done in early spring (March/April). In addition to removing dead and damaged canes, we recommend cutting back 1/3 to 1/2 of the previous year’s growth until you find a healthy white center inside the cane. We also recommend light pruning throughout the season to keep your roses looking pristine!
Deadheading roses will encourage reblooming if your varieties do not develop rose hips. Leaving as much foliage on the canes as you can, cut back just below the first leaflet to encourage the foliage to continue drawing up nutrients all the way to the top.
There are multiple options for fertilizing roses, so we encourage you to stop by and ask us about your options. Whether it is a slow-release granular product or a liquid fertilizer, your roses are working hard to look beautiful and need the extra boost! You can fertilize throughout the growing season, but we recommend you stop feeding late in the summer to allow growth to slow and enter the dormant stage before winter.
BATTLING DISEASE AND INSECTS
Powdery Mildew will cause leaves to curl and twist leaving white powdery spots on the leaves. This is best prevented by proper watering as described in the general care as well as pruning to allow for air circulation.
Black Spot will leave circular black or brown spots on the tops of the leaves, starting at the bottom and working their way up. Eventually it will cause defoliation but is best prevented the same way as powdery mildew. Some basic rose care products can also take care of black spot and powdery mildew.
Insects including aphids, Japanese beetles, spider mites, and sawflies are best controlled with basic rose care products such as neem oil or insecticidal soaps. Aphids can also sometimes be handled by blasting with water in the morning.
Roses can be the highlight of your garden, but also the highlight on your or your loved one’s counter. Roses cut for display are best cut right when the petals are opening using a sharp blade to ensure a clean cut and undamaged water channels. The best time is when they are well hydrated in the early morning or evening hours. To eliminate air bubbles and encourage water uptake, you should recut the stems at a 45-degree-angle just before putting them into the vase. Strip the leaves below the water line, add other flowers like baby’s breath if desired, and change water frequently to create a gorgeous and long-lasting display!
After all of this information you can probably see why roses need a whole month to be highlighted and celebrated! Show some extra love to your roses this month and they will continue to spread the love and beauty they manifest in your yard and in your home.