Walking past so many lovely roses coming into bloom the other day while at Riverbend, I wanted to learn more about care for them myself and share with you tips and fun info, if you love roses also. Personally, roses remind me of my grandparents and hold a special place in my heart because of them. My grandfather grew them, many other flowers, and an awesome vegetable garden, all after he retired. After his passing, my grandmother faithfully and enthusiastically tended to all of his flowers, becoming quite the gardener herself, and would cut fresh bouquets (as a child, I especially remember seeing the beautiful roses) for her kitchen table. Maybe you have a specific type of flower that holds nice, treasured memories for you. Gardening is such a rewarding task; the hard work put into it reaps an even greater reward, in my opinion. Let’s talk about rose care and spend a little time oohing and ahhing over the pictures I upload with this post. Shall we?!
Did you know that spring is the best time of the year to buy roses? They are just coming into bloom from the winter and they will flourish best in your yard this summer if they have time to acclimate before the hot, dry summer of Middle Tennessee comes.
Where to grow roses
Roses like full sun! At least 6 hours a day is good for it to flourish. (Roses can grow in shade but usually look really leggy and have sparse bloom, as well as are more disease prone. Nah, let’s just plant them in full sun to begin with!)
Once planted, roses do not like to be moved, so planning ahead of where you want them to go is a good idea.
Roses like well drained soil, but the soil also needs to be able to be moisture retentive.
When planning out where to grow roses, remember that it might be nice to grow them in a spot where you could also enjoy seeing them when you are inside your house, also (sounds completely lovely, doesn’t it?!).
Layout and Spacing of your Roses
All roses usually require, from time to time, some fertilizing, pruning, and the occasional attention to pest control. Plan for your roses to grow (if you do a mass planting) quite a bit over the next few years and space them apart accordingly, so you can give them the attention they will benefit from later on. Plantings that you are able to reach from at least two sides of the gardening bed are easiest to care for. That way you are not walking through your rose bed, getting ouchies from thorns, and getting frustrated in the meantime.
When at the nursery, make sure you know how big each rose will eventually get. You don’t want a climbing rose in a place where you meant for a smaller shrub rose to go. Also, you don’t want a groundcover rose to accidentally get planted behind a rose that will eventually get 4′ x 4′, as you then won’t see the groundcover rose. Taking the time to think about layout can save you energy later.
Think about how big your rose is going to eventually get. In our climate, roses do not usually have to be pruned back really far each year, and generally speaking, they are moderately fast growers. Don’t plant your new roses on top of each other to find out that next year they are way too close together. Shrub roses (such as knockouts) will eventually get to be about 4′ wide, so plan to plant two shrub roses at least 5′ apart (from base of one rose bush to base of the other rose bush). Groundcover roses can also get to be approximately 3-4′ wide.
General care of your Roses
So you’ve picked out what type of rose/s you want, you’ve picked a great place and have them spaced out and ready to go, but how do you care for them? If you have clay-ish soil (which so many areas around here have), it would do you well to pick up a bag of soil conditioner to mix in your dirt after you’ve dug your hole/s for your roses. Mixing that in will help break up the soil a bit and add some more oxygen. You can also mix in mushroom compost or if you maintain a compost pile yourself, you can add a bit in to help add nutrients to your dirt there. You will know if your soil needs amending, and we can always help answer questions regarding that.
Roses are thirsty little darlins’ (and who can blame them, they do work to provide color from spring through almost fall!). They will perform at their best when they are watered during the growing season. The first summer you plant them, their roots are getting established, and it is important to keep them well watered every few days either in early morning or evening (just don’t drown them!).
Mulching is great to help keep plants (including roses) cooler in the summer months and help them retain that moisture from watering. Investing in mulch around your roses can really help them out.
Fertilize. We offer some great fertilizers specifically for roses at Riverbend, or you may have a favorite you like to use. Some people prefer to fertilize every two or three weeks or so during the growing season, while others prefer to do so after each flush of blooms their roses deliver.
Pests and diseases come around every once and awhile, that just happens every so often with roses. There are many different sprays and dusts to remedy that though, do not fear!
You can see a list of the roses we carry at Riverbend Nurseries here. The pics in this post are of roses just coming into bloom at our nursery! Beautiful, aren’t they?!