Are you struggling with keeping your roses healthy and vibrant? With these pro tips, you don’t have to be a flower child to have thriving rose bushes in your garden.
1. Give them the right environment
Growing healthy roses starts with having the right living conditions. Roses are sensitive to their environment – the principle of ‘not too much, not too little’ applies to them. Everyone needs balance, right?
To have stellar-looking rose bushes, these are the elements you’ll want to have in your garden:
While a few rose varieties prefer shade over sunshine, most roses are sun-loving plants. This is why growing roses in Australia is fairly easy. You’ll just need to keep an eye on your roses when the humidity is high.
Place your roses in an area where there’s plenty of morning sun. Morning is your roses’ favourite time to sunbathe for a lot of reasons. For starters, this is when sunlight is at its gentlest. Your roses will be getting plenty of vitamin D during these hours. Let your roses soak in at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight for robust blooms and foliage.
Morning is the perfect chance to dry out any moisture that may have settled on your rose plant’s leaves and stems. Less moisture on leaves and stems also means less chances of catching fungal disease such as black spot. Unfortunately, fungi are common problems when growing roses, so you’ll have to watch out for these the moment they appear.
Don’t get me wrong, roses can tolerate light, sandy soil, but they won’t grow optimally. Sand doesn’t hold water and nutrients well. Neither can it anchor your roses when there are strong winds. Rose bushes won’t necessarily die when planted in sandy soil, but they may not flourish.
On that note, why just let your roses survive, when they can thrive? Rose bushes love nutrient-dense soil that retains plenty of moisture. To promote vigorous growth, plant your roses in a mixture of loam and organic matter. Simply follow these rose planting tips for a step-by-step guide.
Go the extra mile and check for soil acidity. Roses and slightly acidic soil are a match made in flower heaven. The ideal soil acidity for roses has a pH of 5-6.5. You can amend alkaline soil by adding compost. Doing this will make the soil more acidic and give your roses an extra boost of nutrients.
2. Prepare your rose for planting
How to grow roses from cuttings
You can grow roses in pots, or plant them directly in the ground. When growing roses from cuttings, it’s best to root them out first. Rooting is the process of encouraging roots to grow from the cut stem before you plant it.
Don’t be discouraged if one of your rose cuttings won’t grow out roots. This happens from time to time. To lessen your chances of picking out an unsuccessful cutting, follow the tips below:
- Cut off the stem during spring or early summer. During these seasons, rose bushes are ready to sprout new growth. Your rose cutting will be more than willing to grow roots for you!
- Early morning is the best time to remove the cutting from the parent plant, as stems are well-hydrated during these hours.
- Pick out a new stem for your cutting. Young wood will always fare better than old wood when it comes to producing new roots and leaves.
- Try not to remove cuttings during the roses’ blooming season. Your plant will be using up all of its energy to produce flowers and will be focusing less on growing out roots.
- Remove attached flowers or leaves on the cutting, and retain only the top foliage. This will preserve your cutting’s energy for root production.
- Make sure that the cutting is free from any disease or pest infestation. Going through this extra step will make your plant less likely to get sick during the early stages of its growth.
- Boost your rose’s growth potential by dipping the bottom end of the cutting in growth hormone.
How to grow rose cuttings in water
Growing rose cuttings in water is easy. Just make a 45-degree angle cut on the bottom of your cutting, then place the rose cutting in a jar filled with water. Position the jar in an area with indirect sunlight, and change the water once a week to prevent rot. You’ll start seeing new leaves sprout from the cutting 20-30 days into it.
How to grow roses from cuttings using honey
If you’re not a fan of synthetic growth hormone, you can still successfully grow rose from cuttings the eco-friendly way. Dip the bottom end of your cutting in honey, then plant the cutting in a small pot containing potting mix. Press the soil firmly (don’t be afraid to pack it in). Water your plant daily just enough to keep the potting mix moist. After 45 days, you can transplant your new rose plant – leaves, stems, roots and all – to the ground or a bigger pot.
Note: in the spirit of using all-natural alternatives, growing roses in potatoes is not advisable. A rotting potato won’t do your roses any good – in fact, they may even hasten root rot.
How to grow roses from seeds
Growing roses from seed takes more time than if you’re planting a cutting. It’s all about the joy of the journey, if you will. Take a few rose seeds and let them stratify (a fancy term for coaxing the seeds to wake up and germinate). Place the seeds on a moist paper towel then refrigerate for 6 to 10 weeks to encourage them to sprout.
Prepare your planting tray by adding seed planting mix into it. Make holes 6-12mm deep in the mix, then plant 2-3 stratified seeds into each hole. Cover the seeds and wait for the little rose seedlings to sprout.
How to grow roses in pots
Not all rose varieties need a large area to thrive. If your space is small, growing roses in pots and containers is the way to go. Miniature rose varieties are hardy and compact in size. They are ideal for areas like balconies and small gardens. Stay away from climbers and ramblers, as these vigorous growers consume plenty of space.
Pick a pot with drainage holes to ensure that your plant doesn’t get waterlogged. To keep rose bushes healthy, position the pot in a sunny spot and use high-quality potting mix for robust foliage and blooms. Well-nourished roses are also less susceptible to disease.
3. Let your roses breathe
Give your roses some (real) space. While fawning over roses can’t be helped, your rose plants are divas when it comes to overcrowding. Getting overshadowed by tall trees or dense shrubs is also a problem for them. Roses dislike getting cramped so much that they literally get sick when they’re grown too close to other plants. Black spot – that bane of every rose grower’s existence – is the result.
In order to prevent your roses from contracting fungal diseases like black spot, grow your roses where there’s plenty of air circulation. Set some distance between your roses – 1m is just about right – to let them have some breathing room.
4. Shelter your roses from the storm (and other harsh weather conditions)
Remember that part about ‘not too much, not too little’? Roses may love basking in sunny, open spaces, but they also need protection from extreme weather conditions. Place your roses in a sheltered area when strong winds are present, or when the temperature is extremely warm or cold.
5. Water when it’s hot
Of course you’ll want to spoil your beautiful roses and water them to your heart’s content. This is only fitting, right? Well, not really. Once your roses have established, they become more drought-tolerant and less reliant on water.
A deep watering once every 10-14 days is enough during hot weather. Water in the evening to lessen the chances of evaporation. Avoid spraying water on the leaves and flowers (roses don’t need to shower) to prevent the occurrence of black spot and other fungal diseases. Other than that, you don’t have to fuss with watering your roses. They’ll be fine.
Fertilise your roses to encourage growth and keep your plants well-nourished. Give your rose plants granular fertiliser in spring as soon as you see new growth on your plants. You can also fertilise every 6 weeks during the growing season, only stopping at least 6 weeks before the first frost appears.
7. Prune and trim as needed
While roses will definitely survive even if you don’t prune them, you’ll find that your plants are much healthier and vital-looking when you give them a regular prune. Pruning and trimming is done to maintain the shape of your rose plant – as in the case of standard roses – and to remove withered or sickly plant parts. Early spring is the best time to prune your plants, when new growth appears.
Pruning rose bushes is an effective method in preventing disease and pest infestation, especially when you’re growing roses in subtropical climates. Remove diseased leaves, stems, and flowers to prevent the spread of fungi, bacteria, and viruses to healthy plants. Remember to disinfect your shears or secateurs with bleach after cutting off infected plant parts.