The Rose: Culture and General Care


The Rose: Culture and General Care

The Rose: Culture and General CareThe Rose: Culture and General Care

Preparing Roses for Spring by Ludwig Taschner

Starting now, there is much we can do in September to influence or improve the performance of the roses in our gardens.

Corrective pruning

By early September it might be evident from the new growth that some roses were not pruned enough in July. If there are crisscrossing stems or some that are obviously too close to each other, they can still be cut out.

Finger or pinch pruning

The most important task is to pinch prune or finger prune to encourage new basal growth and force the production of green leaves which feed the plant and keep the roots active.

Finger pruning is simply the pinching out of the terminal point of about a third of the new shoots on a bush. For example, out of 15 stems, the tips of five are pinched out, using the thumb and pointing finger. Within a week the reddish-purplish leaves will mature to green and the very upper eye will resprout.

This only applies to hybrid teas because the leaf mass on climbers, shrub, groundcover roses, miniatures, and larger cluster flowering floribundas is much more so they don’t require pinch pruning for better performance.

Finger pruning also spreads out the flowering cycle so that there is an almost continual supply of roses instead of one of two main flushes. Staggering the flowering also means that when the flush starts, fewer blooms are cut off at once so the roots don’t go into ‘root shock’, which can set a bush back by two or three weeks.


Many hybrid tea roses produce two and even more side buds in the upper leaf axles. If left on they will develop into nice, somewhat smaller flowers and add to the overall floriferousness of the bush.

It is not necessary to disbud every stem on a bush. Simply select those that already show promise of becoming champion roses and leave others untouched.

Pinching out the terminal bud of clusters results in a more uniform flower performance. It alleviates having to cut out the spent center bloom when the rest of the clusters shows off at its freshest. Miniatures that may be selected for exhibitions or for picking need to be disbudded.

Basal Shoots

Confusion still exists between basal or water shoots and sucker shoots that sprout from below the root stem of a budded rose.

It used to be a problem 50 years ago when nurserymen used another rootstock. Now it seldom occurs and the smaller GREEN leaves and smooth stems differentiate them easily. If it really is a sucker stem coming out of the ground then it needs to be ripped out or cut out by pushing the blade of space between it and the rose and pushing downward.

The basal or water shoots are of utmost importance to the rejuvenation of the rose and should NEVER be cut or pulled off.

By pinching out the terminal when they have reached about knee height the basal start maturing immediately and sprouts with three to five new stems, which will become the nicest cut flowers.


The more water made available to the roots at this stage the longer the flowering stems will be. Stems pumped full of water will make better and longer lasting cut flowers compared to those that have adjusted to once a week water-wise pattern.


If the roses are not already on a feeding programme, an application of fertilizer around 20 September will encourage the sprouting of dormant eyes lower down on the bush as well as basal shoot formation.


For perfect roses preventative spraying is essential. It is not really necessary to really know the names of all the insects, spiders and fungus diseases that will use the lush rose leaves and buds for breeding and feeding.

The best overall covering is achieved by alternating fortnightly with Ludwig’s Insect Spray and a “cocktail” made up of Funginex, Garden Ripcord, vinegar, and Ludwig’s Spray Stay or a spreader i.e. G49.

In the winter rainfall region add Dithane WG or Coppercount N to the Insect Spray and to the cocktail.

Miniature roses, an Excellent Choice for Indoor Planting

Although miniature roses (also called mini roses) have been cultivated mainly for use as indoor plants, they can also be an excellent addition to an established rose garden. With delicate, dainty petals and buds, miniature roses are simply a diminutive version of their larger cousins and work as excellent accents in the garden, borders, or small shocks of color along the base of large rose bushes.

When grown outside where there is plenty of natural sunshine and water, miniature roses really don’t need much, but, when grown indoors, a little more care and attention are required. Mini roses need a lot of light, and, when grown indoors, they may need a special plant light if there is not enough sunshine getting in through the windows. They will spread out, leaving space between the individual stems, if there isn’t enough light, and this is the first sign to either move them to a more sunny location or add a little extra artificial light.

Indoor miniature roses also need a bit more extra humidity. This can be accomplished by putting the pot in a tray of water and allowing evaporation to take its natural course, or, failing that, using a cool-mist humidifier to supply that added moisture. There are also small insects to deal with that are especially attracted to indoor roses, and these can also be easily taken care of. To try and prevent this, the roses should be thoroughly rinsed at least once a week, but, if these bugs do manage to find homes in the roses, any pesticide used for normal-sized roses is fine for mini roses. Fertilizing is also important to ensure beautiful blossoms.

There are many different varieties of miniature roses to choose from, in many different colors and sizes, ranging from a mere 5 inches tall to almost 4 feet with blossoms ranging from 1/2-2 inches. There are a lot of award-winning roses that will bring beauty to the home and garden, backed by years of cultivation and breeding.

The “Cupcake” was added to the American Rose Society’s Hall of Fame for miniature roses in 2002. With beautiful, tiny pink petals and perfect form, the “Cupcake” has become extremely popular in recent years, especially for growing in containers. It has very dark green leaves which set off the beautiful pink blossoms perfectly. In 2003, the “Snow Bride” was added to the Hall of Fame. It is a lovely white rose, tightly wrapped with a tiny center to each blossom and small, pointed petals. All of the mini roses listed in this hall of fame are as beautiful as their larger cousins.

Caring For Roses

Caring for roses is often said to be a very difficult task, as roses are rumored to require special attention and maintenance. However, by learning some of the basics of caring for roses, it is possible to grow rosebushes with full, beautiful flowers that all of your neighbors and guests will envy.
Caring for roses begins with careful planting. Roses can be planted any time from spring until autumn. However, it is advised to plant your roses earlier in the spring or summer so that they can establish a firm root base before the soil hardens during the colder winter months. The best soil for planting roses is a dense gardening soil that ranges in pH from a 5.0-7.0. It is also beneficial to have good compost on hand in order to improve drainage and airflow. Good compost will also help retain essential elements in the soil that will help your rosebushes thrive.

Before planting rosebushes, soak the roots in water overnight. The next day, remove any dead-looking or broken roots, as this will promote the best nutrient flow to the plant. Dig wide holes in the ground that will allow you to gradually build a strong soil system for the plant. Remember that roses require at approximately six hours of sunlight a day, so plant the rosebushes in a spot that will receive adequate light. After you have dug your holes, place each individual plant in the center of the hole and surround it with a conical mound of soil to ground the plant.

Continue to fill the hole with soil until it is about two thirds full. Water the soil around the base of the plant until you have created a muddy slush. Allow the water to drain, continue to fill the hole, then water and drain again. The plant may sink slightly during this initial watering process – this is completely normal. Continue adding soil, watering and draining until the hole is filled and level with the rest of the ground. Planting roses are probably the hardest part, so take pride in a job well done.

Caring for roses does not require as much upkeep as one would think. Roses are water-loving plants, but it is important not to overdo it. Water your rosebushes every day if the temperature is over 90 degrees, every two days if the temperature is 80 degrees, three days if 70 degrees, and so on. Additionally, rosebushes only need to be pruned occasionally. The best time is spring. Prune relatively hard down to the stem and remove any woody stalks. Leave about 3-5 canes on the plant that are relatively equally spaced around the plant. Cut the canes at varying lengths between one and a half and two feet to encourage a healthy array of flowers.

As long as you are cautious and meticulous when planting your roses, water them regularly, and prune them seasonally, you will see healthy, beautiful blooms every year. Caring for roses can be an easy hobby and a relaxing task

How To Correctly Care For Your Roses

For experienced and new gardeners alike, caring for roses can be among the most rewarding undertakings in your landscaping endeavors.

Elegant and classic, roses add an air of royalty to every landscape. The ticket to achieving this vision is learning how to correctly care for your roses. Although roses have earned a reputation for being difficult to grow, successful rose gardeners say it doesn’t have to be. In fact, growing roses can be downright easy when you’re armed with the basics of rose care.
Regular attention is key to beautiful and flourishing roses, and once you become familiar with the right methods for proper rose care your tasks will seem simple.

Watering your roses is essential, and the rule of thumb among rose gardeners is one inch of water per week. Remember that roses have deep root systems, so surface watering will not do; you will need to make sure to water deep for your rose plants to access the water they need, at least to subsoil levels.  The deeper you manage to water, the deeper your rose’s root system will grow, providing added protection to the plant from surface droughts and other weather extremes.

Fertilizing – actually, knowing when to fertilize and when to refrain – is also important in proper and effective rose care. If planted in good soil, most rose varieties can thrive for years without supplemental fertilizer; natural bacteria and other native organisms all work together to provide the nutrients necessary for your roses to thrive. Trouble can start if roses are fertilized unnecessarily, as roses quickly become dependant on added fertilizers, and soon you will be constantly feeding them. Instead, when the need for fertilizer does arise, add an organic, slow-release type to the soil at first pruning in spring, and a small amount at the end-of-season’s post-bloom period just before they enter into winter dormancy.

Although roses will respond to organic and non-organic fertilizers, using organic fertilizers will maintain the natural balance within the soil that nature intended for your roses. Additionally, organic fertilizers won’t cause risk to your pets or local wildlife.  An added bonus is the fact that organic fertilizers are consumed easily by the natural fungi, bacteria, and organisms already in the soil, enhancing the soil’s natural fertility. However, if you choose another approach for your rose beds, the combination of inorganic fertilizer for best results is 4-8-4. or 5-10-5.

Pruning at the break of spring, when the roses have been dormant for months, will unleash the elements within the plant and its ability to utilize sun and water to begin a new season of growth and blooms. Pruning is important in removing broken, diseased or dead stems from the plant, and providing adequate air space for circulation in order to repel disease and remain healthy.  Once the plant has flowered, prune again to remove fading and dead blooms and buds to make room for new ones.

With the proper care, you can easily enjoy the luscious look of roses in your yard or garden. Learn the basics and follow these maintenance steps and your yard will be the envy of your neighborhood

Climbing roses add old-world charm

Picture a cottage garden, complete with flowering bushes and an arched trellis. The stone walls of the garden are covered in greenery, and bright red and pink blossoms abound, with climbing roses showering the garden with color and life. The trellis arches over the walkway with different shades of flowers, filling the air with their glorious scent. Climbing roses are the key to this garden, and, given room to grow and a bit of care, these flowers can give life to even the dreariest locations.

True to their name, climbing roses can be trained to grow up a wall, fence, tree, or any other upright object. They are relatively easy to care for, although not completely foolproof. There are several parts to the climbing rose plant, and understanding these is essential to success. These are the canes, the growth laterals, and the flowering laterals. The cane is the main part of the plant, the branches that grow straight up from the roots. Growth laterals sprout from buds along with the cane, and these help the plant spread. Finally, flowering laterals sprout off of either the main cane or the growth laterals, and these end in a beautiful rose.

Depending on the variety of climbing rose, the cane can vary in how rigid it is – some are very stiff and others very flexible. No matter what type of cane is chosen, the rose must be allowed to grow freely without any training for at least the first year. After the first year of good, solid growth, the cane can be shaped to grow in the direction the gardener chooses. If it is flexible, it can be tied so that the canes are horizontal to the roots. When tying the canes in place, it is essential to make sure the ends point down towards the earth. This will encourage new growth and keep the rose growing in the desired direction.

There are hundreds of climbing roses to choose from. There are several things to take into consideration when selecting a type of flower, the most important being color and climate.

In 1997, “New Dawn” was voted the most popular of the climbing roses at the World Convention of Rose Societies. This rose has lovely, delicate pink blossoms with an almost silvery sheen and grows double blooms. The canes of “New Dawn” are so flexible that they can be trained to spiral around a post. They bloom all through the season and will grow to be 12-18 feet high. Alternatively, this rose can also be grown as a bush if left to grow on its own without training. This rose can be grown in areas where the temperature reaches far below freezing, to -7 degrees Fahrenheit (-22 degrees Celsius), without the worry of it dying over the winter.

Another rose praised for its hardiness in the winter, the “Ramblin’ Red” can survive in very low temperatures. Like many other climbing roses, the “Ramblin’ Red” has flexible canes and bright, shockingly red blossoms that grow in double blooms. The leaves of the plant start out a beautiful maroon color which fades to green as the plant matures. The lovely flowers will bloom throughout the season and are relatively long-lasting when cut to display indoors.

At the end of the growing season, some general maintenance is needed to ensure that the climbing roses will continue to flower beautifully. A little bit of time spent in pruning to remove dead, damaged, or diseased canes will allow new laterals to sprout the following spring. Once the climber has been established for a few years, older canes can be cut completely back to the base of the plant, and this will encourage new growth. Blossoms, once faded, should always be removed as this will keep the plant vital.

There is no other flower on the planet that gives quite the impression of climbing roses. Whether they are meticulously groomed and trained or left to grow shaggy and wild, they lend a distinctive vision to any garden and give true charm to even the most unlikely places.

Old garden roses, Godfather of the modern rose

Old garden roses are the base from which almost all of today’s roses come. Some varieties of old garden roses have been around since the early Roman Empire when they were truly appreciated for their beauty and scent. Rose petals were often used as a display of true wealth. A true old garden rose is one that has been available since before 1850 when the first hybrids were developed. Most of these roses grew wild and were cultivated by ancient gardeners.

Today’s old garden roses are highly fragrant and sure blooming. There are some varieties that bloom only once a year, and others that bloom throughout the season, but they all have a distinctive flair that suggests good breeding. They are relatively resistant to disease and are low maintenance, but they are sometimes harder to find than their hybrid descendants and usually must be ordered online or through catalogs.

There are several varieties of old garden roses to choose from, and most fall into very specific categories, which include albas, mosses, Chinas, gallicas, hybrid perpetual, bourbons, damasks, Noisettes, and species. These are all the most well-known, common varieties.

Albas are old garden roses that grow tall and strong and are very resistant to disease and harsher growing conditions. They can survive in areas where there is only partial sunlight and can reach heights of five to eight feet. A few varieties of the alba class include “Belle Amour”, a soft pink, moderately scented flower about three to four inches wide, “Maiden’s Blush”, another pink rose that fades to palest pink as it ages, and “Jeanne D’Arc”, a fragrance-free rose that verges from pink to the purest ivory white.

Moss old garden roses usually only bloom once per season, but they are definitely a sight to behold while blooming. They are very tolerant of cold weather and can survive winters where the temperatures drop well below zero. Some varieties of this class are “Alfred De Dalmas”, with a pale pink flower that actually blooms all season, “Common Moss”, one of the most popular moss roses with reddish-pink blooms, and “Salet”, which is a very compact pink bud.

Chinas, bourbons, and noisettes all come from stock that was imported to Europe from China in the late 1700s. Unfortunately, these variations of old garden roses are not very cold-weather tolerant and have to be grown in places where either the winters aren’t cold or where there is extensive preparation done to protect them. Most commonly, these roses come in shades of white, pink, red and purple, and noisettes also come in yellow. There is an interesting China rose, the “Green Rose”, which has green petals and no scent.

Gallica roses, sometimes called French Roses, are the most ancient of the old garden roses. Usually, Gallicas only bloom once per season and reach heights of two to six feet. A few variations of the Gallica rose are the “Belle Isis”, which has large pink flowers, the “Tuscany”, which is a deep, velvety red, and the “Apothecary Rose”, which is a very bright, pinkish-red color. Damask roses usually only bloom in June and are very tolerant of climate. Typically, Damask roses only come in shades of pink and white.

Caring for the old garden roses usually only involves some water, sunshine, and pruning. In the winter, the bushes should be trimmed back and all the dead or diseased wood cleared away to make way for new growth the next season.

Loved by many for literally centuries, old garden roses are usually the most fragrant and luxurious. Allowed to grow freely, the roses will give years of beauty and enjoyment for years to come.

Floribunda roses, a beautiful combination of the best of a hybrid tea and the polyanthus

Floribunda roses really live up to their name. Floribunda literally translates to “flowers in abundance”. From early summer until the first frost, floribunda roses are constantly in bloom.

Floribunda roses were developed by grafting a fragile tea rose onto a very strong and sturdy polyantha. The combination of the two flowers lent floribunda its long buds and full flowers, its ability to survive in harsher climates, and its long, delicate but strong stems. The roses, themselves, are usually doubled with sometimes over 60 petals per flower, but they also can have as few as 20 or even five petals. They grow on compact bushes that usually only reach about two to three feet in height and can be used as hedges or just planted to give a nice burst of color to any rose garden.

One of the first floribunda roses, “Else Poulsen” is excellent for hedges. It has lovely pink flowers with about 10 petals apiece. It was introduced to the rose market in 1924 and has been flourishing ever since. Another beautiful specimen, the “Europeana” was introduced in 1968 and received the All-America Rose Selection that every year. It has doubled blooms that are a lovely, rich red in color and work well in indoor flower arrangements as they are very long-lasting.

Another All-America Rose selection, the “Gene Boerner” is a modern rose that blooms in a lush pink on a compact bush with actually very few thorns. The flowers usually reach a total width of 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 inches when fully mature. The “Lilac Charm”, introduced in 1962, is a lovely bluish-purple color with a shockingly yellow center.

Correct pruning is the key to growing successful floribunda roses. There are two ways to prune these small bushes – moderate pruning and high pruning. High pruning is the chosen method for floribundas, simply because the rose bushes tend to be bigger and more productive. High pruning is done by cutting only the pieces of the plant that have been killed off during the winter, usually only the tips of each branch. Other pieces to cut are the ones that grow up through the middle of the bush and will rub on other branches when it is windy, causing damage to otherwise healthy parts of the plant. With moderate pruning, all of the same branches are removed as in high pruning, but the healthy branches are also cut level, at a point about halfway between the ground and the highest point of the branches. This results in a smaller bush with fewer flowers, but each bloom will be larger and more perfect. This is most often used when growing roses to use in flower arrangements and for exhibitions.

Because of their relatively small size and constant bloom, the floribunda roses are sure to become the new classic. With high cold tolerance, tons of flowers, and very little maintenance, floribundas are sure to please.

Shrub roses, the key to make rose gardening painless

Shrub roses are a very diverse group. Over the years, newly developed roses that did not really fit into other categories were termed ‘shrub roses’. ALL roses are in fact shrubs but today’s shrub roses are usually considered very tolerant to cold, disease, and easy to care for. There is, of course, some maintenance that must be done to keep them healthy, but this isn’t really anything more than any other shrub would require. The days of endless fertilizing, watering, protecting from freezing weather, pruning, and trimming are gone with the development of the shrub rose, but none of the beauty and enjoyment is lost.

Shrub roses come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Some grow tall and are perfect for use as bordering hedges to give garden seclusion and privacy. Others are short but spread out, covering a large area of empty space with lush foliage and blooms. Almost every color is represented, and new species are being developed and released to the market every year.

There are several specific series of true shrub roses that have been developed to give bountiful flowers, high disease and insect resistance, and low maintenance. Two of these series are the Explorer series and the Parkland series.

The Explorer series was developed in Canada to have a high tolerance to severe drops in temperature over the winter and are all named for famous explorers. Some varieties in the Explorer series are the Champlain, which is covered with lovely red blooms over the spring and summer, the Henry Hudson, whose flowers are a delicate light pink to white color, and the J.P. Connell, which has yellow blossoms, the first in the series to have this shade of flower. All of these shrub roses can handle temperatures that are well below zero in the winter and will still spring back the next year.

The Parkland Series, also developed in Canada, all have superior cold tolerance as well. Some Parkland varieties include the Morden Fireglow, Ruby, and Centennial, which all repeatedly bloom through the season and come in varying shades of red.

There is, of course, a bit of maintenance required to assure high-blooming and healthy shrub roses year after year. When first planting, the roots of the rose shouldn’t be buried too deep in the ground but, rather, should only be buried deep enough that the roots are completely covered and the start of the plant is level with the ground. They should be watered well and covered with mulch to help control weeds. Once the rose is well established, watering with a bit of high-phosphorus plant food will assure that the blooms are hearty and plentiful.

Shrub roses should be pruned at least once a year and more often if there seems to be excessive growth in one area that seems to be towering over the rest of the plant or not able to flower. This can be trimmed down or cut away completely. Unless the species is well known to produce rose hips in the autumn, the flowers should be trimmed away once they have started to fade, and this will allow the plant to produce new growth and even more flowers. In the winter, once all the foliage has died off, the bush should be pruned extensively to allow for new growth in the spring, and all damaged, dead, or diseased portions should be entirely cut away.

Nothing needs to be done to prevent pests and diseases in shrub roses. This should only be undertaken if the rose has been infected or infested, and the bushes can be sprayed with pesticides or fungicides to help clear this out and return the rose to its earlier, healthier state.

For the gardener that wants the beauty of traditional roses with the ease of a flowering bush, shrub roses are the perfect answer. With just a little bit of work, shrub roses will thrive and provide beautiful, fragrant blossoms all summer.

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