Praised for their beauty and fragrance, roses are also known for being difficult to grow and maintain. For healthy roses with a bounty of blossoms, take a few tips from the experts at the Gardener’s Companion. The Old Farmer’s Almanac Gardener’s Companion All Seasons Garden Guide offers some rose rules for gorgeous plants year after year.
A totally carefree, truly “easy” rose doesn’t really exist outside our imaginations, but some are easier to grow than others, and a few tricks will help ensure success.
Choose varieties suited to your climate. When in doubt, AARS (All-America Rose Selection) winners are good bets.
Plant roses where they will receive a minimum of five to six hours of full sun per day.(They would like even more.)
Diligently water your roses. Soak the entire root zone at least twice a week in dry summer weather. Avoid frequent shallow sprinklings, which may encourage fungus.
Once a month, between April and July, apply a balanced granular fertilizer (5-10-5 or 5-10-10). Allow three-quarters to one cup for each bush, and sprinkle it around the drip line, not against the stem. In May and June, add an additional tablespoon of Epsom salts; the magnesium sulfate will encourage new growth.
Test your soil and follow the recommendations for adjusting its pH. Roses prefer a near-neutral soil pH, somewhere between six-and a-half and seven.
Deadhead religiously and keep beds clean.
Reprinted with permission from The Old Farmer’s Almanac Gardener’s Companion All-Seasons Garden Guide.