Growing Beautiful Roses

For many, the idea of growing a flower as infamous and beautiful as the rose seems daunting. Songs have been written about it, love signified with it, and senses intoxicated with it. How could any gardener, therefore, do justice to the high-profile rose? Don’t despair. Before you can sing, “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden,” you can have roses that would make the heart of any Valentine flutter. Truly, growing beautiful roses is easier now than ever before.

A Rose By Any Other Name�
Begin by deciding what type of rose you want to plant. Generally, outdoor roses are separated into three main group-climbing roses, shrub roses, and miniatures. Decided what look you want will determine what basic type of rose you choose.

� Climbing roses make a great choice, for anyone envisioning bloom-covered trellises and brick walls. They are noted for being large-flowered, disease-resistant, and ever-blooming. They may produce long canes of 4 to 12 feet and will need some kind of support.

� Shrub roses are also disease resistant and long-blooming. Not only do shrub roses produce beautiful blooms, but they are prized for their beautiful foliage, as well. Often, shrub roses are used for hedges or barriers, and can grow from 3-10 feet.

� Miniatures, with their tiny blooms and tiny stature, only reach a height of 24 inches. However, these little roses can pack a fragrant punch and make a great choice for smaller areas.

No matter what type of rose you choose, remember that there are even more choices as far as exactly what roses you’ll be planting. Make sure to check with your local nursery to choose flowers that are hardy for your zone. Ordering from catalogues is great once you know what you’re doing, but leaves a lot of guesswork in choosing roses that grow easily in your area. A local grower will be able to point you to flowers with a proven track record for your zone.

Where Does Your Garden Grow?
Choosing a location for roses is vital to good, healthy flowers. Remember that roses like full sun. Any spot that receives six hours of sun a day will work great. However, if you only have partial shade in your garden, your roses will still do fine.

In addition, make sure to pick a spot with rich, loose soil. Don’t have one? Make it. Simply break up the soil-adding more topsoil if necessary-until it’s nice and loose. Then, fertilize. Your garden supply store offers many wonderful pre-made fertilizers that take the guesswork out of soil preparation and fertilization. Use them. Growing roses doesn’t mean having to learn the scientific intricacies of soil.

Treat It Like a Rose
Applying mulch around your roses will ensure that they retain moisture, stay warmer in the winter months, and fend of weeds more effectively. Remember that, while roses like lots of water, letting their leaves get wet will only promote disease. The best way to water your roses is with a drip or soaker hose.

Just a Trim, Please
Perhaps the most daunting part of growing roses is pruning them. However, in order to have healthy roses, you must manicure them. Once several main stems of your bushes have grown, it’s okay to prune them. Springs is a good time, but ask your local growers what they recommend.
� Start with sharp, clean, pruning scissors.
� Cut off any parts that are dead or diseased, and remove any stems that are choking the rest of the plant. Any shriveled, dark brown or black canes are most likely diseased.
� Cut at a 45-degree angle about 1/4 inch above outward-facing bud. The cut should slant away from the bud.
� After making cuts, it is suggested to seal the ends of the cuts to prevent disease. White glue is an inexpensive sealer and works very well.
� Remove all canes that are smaller than a pencil in diameter.

Pests and Disease
Many people spend countless hours attending to their roses, only to forget that pest and disease prevention is the most important way to maintain healthy, good-looking roses. By applying pest and disease preventatives, you can save a lot of heartache later. However, if pests and disease have taken hold on your plants, don’t despair. There are ways to spot and treat them.

Pests
� Aphids and other sucking insects are a common problem with roses. They attach themselves to the top and bottom of leaves, as well as the stem-sucking juices from the plant. Many insecticides are available on the market to treat them. They work rather well, so ask your nursery specialist what he/she recommends.

� Beetles are also very common rose-predators. Planting garlic plants around rose bushes will help ward off beetles-Japanese beetles in particular. However, if you spot them living in your flower blooms, Malathion, Diazinon, and other insecticides are readily available.

Disease
� Fungicides work well to ward-off any disease that may have taken hold of your roses. However, keeping your plants well-groomed and properly-watered will prevent most diseases.

Roses do require a little care. However, with proper maintenance they can provide years of blooms and fragrance. Growing beautiful roses is not just for the experienced gardener. With so many low-maintenance rose varieties available and products specifically geared towards growing them, much of the guesswork has been removed from rose gardening. So go ahead, promise yourself a rose garden!

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