Rose Gardening Made Easy

Everyone loves roses. And there is nothing more rewarding for the gardener than bringing armfuls of these beautiful flowers into the house all summer long. Most folks would love to include roses in their gardens, but are discouraged because of the work they assume is involved. But you can grow roses with remarkably little effort.

Roses need three things to grow well: sunlight, water and fertilizer. The key to success with roses is understanding that they need a lot of these things!

Sunlight

Roses are sun worshipers! Plant roses where they will receive at least 6 hours of full sun every day. Plants that receive less light will not grow or bloom well and are more prone to fungus problems.

Roses thrive in well drained soil. For best results, plant the shrubs in raised beds or in containers. Space the plants at least 3-4' apart. Allow plenty of space for air to circulate around the plants. (This is another fungus fighter!)

Water

The rose, like the gardener, is composed mostly of water. Just as we should drink plenty of water for our body to operate properly, rose plants need lots of water to bloom and grow. When it gets very hot outside, we sweat. Roses lose water through their leaves in a process called transpiration. A mature rose can lose up to 5 gallons of water a day when it gets really hot or exceptionally dry!

Keeping your plants well watered is the most important thing you can do to ensure their good health. Try to give each plant 5-7 gallons of water each week. Water morning, noon or night - whenever you can and copiously!

You can reduce the water bill by mulching your beds. (Keep the mulch clean - remove dropped leaves or spent blooms - to reduce the chance of fungus growing.) Soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems water the plants more effectively than - and without using as much water as - a regular garden hose.

Whichever watering method you choose, remember to keep the water off the leaves whenever possible. (Don't use a sprinkler.) This is yet another way to reduce fungus.

Fertilizer

Roses love to grow. Give them lots of fertilizer and they will reward you with masses of flowers! Our favorite method of fertilizing roses is to use the 9-month formulation of Osmocote fertilizer. We like Osmocote best because you sprinkle it on the soil (no need to work it in) at the beginning of April and it will continuously feed your plants throughout the growing season! It is so easy; you only feed once a year.

If you really want to push your plants into a blooming frenzy, in addition to the Osmocote, feed them monthly with a water-soluble fertilizer, such as MiracleGro.

Providing lots of sun, water and fertilizer is the key to successful rose gardening. There are so many varieties of roses to grow, your biggest challenge will be choosing your favorites!

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