My favorite flower, and I am sure a favorite of many people around the world, is the rose. A rose is the perfect flower to express love and it can even symbolize friendship. It has an amazing fragrance that douses the beholder in its sweet essence. The bright and vibrant colors of a rose dazzle the eyes of the beholder and make one feel young at heart. Many people think about growing rose bushes in their garden but back out thinking that it is the hardest gardening task ever. However, I choose to differ on this part. Pruning and maintenance is quite easy if you are regular with your schedule. With a little bit of perseverance, patience and discipline, you can make your bushes flourish.
Care and Pruning
Caring for the plant will require you to do different things in different seasons. In the sections below, we tell you what you need to do in each season.
During summer, you need to mulch the rose bushes as this will lead to fewer diseases. Also, the plants need less weeding and watering if they are properly mulched. You need to spread 1 to 2 inches of organic mulch around the bushes. Trimming roses is important to encourage more flowers. You may find some species which produce flowers off and on all season whereas some bloom only in June.
Next, you need to remember to spray. The plant may develop an insect infestation or suffer from a disease. In this case, you may want to prune off the infected part and then use a hose to wash the plant and spray a suitable herbicide or pesticide on it.
In Fall and Winter
You should stop feeding the plant with fertilizers in early autumn. This is about one month before the frost date of your region. If you fertilize your plants all through autumn, the plants will produce more flowers that will get nipped by the cold in winter.
In case you live in USDA zone 9 and warmer, you won't need to follow extra protection for the bushes in winter. If you are in zone 6 to 8 you need to mound the rose bush with several inches of soil. People in zones 5 and colder need to build a mound around the base, with soil. The mound should be at least a foot in height. This should be done a month after the region's last frost date. Then, about two weeks later, you need to wrap the entire plant with burlap to protect it from the cold.
Pruning is carried out in early spring. When you see the first signs of growth, you need to begin pruning the bushes. You will see tiny bud-like swellings indicating new growth. Trim away all the dead and damaged branches. Once these dead parts are removed, you need to trim all the other stems, sparing only about 4 or 5 healthy stems (the ones that are as thick as a pencil).
Then the bush needs to be cut to about ½ its height or up to how tall you want your plant to be. You need to make the cuts above an outward facing bud. This helps in directing the buds to grow up and out. This keeps the center of the bush open to give shape and allow circulation of air. Spring is the growing season, and therefore your plants need more nutrients at this time. You need to fertilize the plant with a liquid fertilizer every 3 to 4 weeks. Water the plants regularly as it is very essential during the growth phase. You need to water the bush with at least one inch of water every week.
Caring for a Mini Rose Bush
These are cloned roses of Rosa chinensis minima. They are tiny bushes that grow to under 1 foot. These hardy plants display their best in summer and are dormant in winter.
The first thing to remember is to give your miniature rose bushes ample of sunlight. Place them in an area that receives full sunlight and remove overhanging branches of the bush that do not allow light penetration. Make sure you do not plant them in the shadow of larger plants or trees. You need to water them every alternate day in spring and fall. In summer, make sure you water them daily. As an alternative to rain, you need to provide the bush with at least 1 inch of water.
These bushes need a well-balanced fertilizer that is to be fed once every 2 to 3 weeks. When pruning these bushes, use a pair of pruning shears. You need to trim off the woody stems below the bloom, at an angle of 45 degrees. You need to cut about 5 leaves below the dead bloom and remove the dead roses. It is very natural for miniature roses to die off in winter and lose all their leaves. You should, however, supply a bit of water in winter when you feel the soil is dry.
Caring for Potted Roses
Many people who live in zone 5 or colder areas or do not have a garden prefer container gardening for their rose bush. Growing them in pots helps keep your patio looking pretty and you can even relocate your pots as and when required.
You need to use a pot or container that is about 1 to 2 gallons in size. You will need a 2 gallon pot for growing miniature roses. You will need larger and wider pots for growing Floribunda, hybrids, shrubs, and climbing roses. You need 24-inches high and wide pots for growing large shrubs. The pot needs to have a drainage hole in the bottom and should be filled with enough potting soil. Place the plant 3 inches below the rim of the pot. You need to add about ½ teaspoon of liquid vitamins and 1 teaspoon of slow releasing fertilizers in the potting soil. Then remove the plant from its temporary container and place it gently in the pot. Cover it with potting soil and hold the plant straight. Cover the plant with soil and pat it down to remove air pockets, if any. Then after about an hour, you need to add a gallon of water to the pot. The next day, see if the soil is well settled in the pot. You can add additional potting soil if needed. Make sure the soil remains moist for a week after potting. According to the heat in your area, you need to add water once a week or everyday. In winter, move the pots inside.
Caring for Roses Placed Indoors
Growing roses indoors is more challenging than growing them outdoors. You need to place the bush in a well-drained pot. It should be large enough to accommodate the growing bush. It should also be deep enough to provide enough room for the roots. Add perlite and organic compost in equal quantities. You need to fill one-third of the pot with this combination soil. Then place your bush in the center and fill the pot with the remaining soil. Pat the soil to remove any air pockets. Water the plant thoroughly. Then, you need to regularly water your plants with one inch water every week and dust the foliage and blooms. You need to use slow release fertilizer like 5-10-5 or 8-8-8. During the dormancy period of winter, you need to trim the bushes. You should cut away the dead and damaged stems and thin out the inner branches and stems. This will help in improving the air circulation and will also shape the bush. Do not prune excessively or the bush will remain stunted.
As you can see, it is not very difficult to grow rose bushes. The only thing required is a regular, persistent and disciplined caretaker, who will follow these instructions by the book.