Rose Care: All you need to know

Roses Gardening for Beginners – The Complete Guide

Roses are classified between the most popular and widely cultivated ornamentals. We find them almost everywhere, from balconies and backyard to the most famous royal gardens of the world. Rose is a perennial deciduous plant (it loses its leaves seasonally), of the genus Rosa, and is a  member of the Rosaceae family. The genus Rosa includes hundreds of species and thousands of cultivars, each of which has different characteristics. Thus, we can find bushy, climbing or trail varieties, dwarf varieties, varieties grown for their wood, their flowers, their fruits, or their essential oil.  

The stem of the plant is woody and covered in thorns. These thorns are actually pickles outgrowths. The leaves of the plant are alternate. The flower colors are in the pink-red palette, although nowadays, we find domesticated cultivars in various colorations such as white, yellow, pink, red, and even black.

Roses are mainly cultivated for their flowers. However, some varieties are also cultivated for their wood, which is of excellent quality and is often used in car interiors and even in the gun industry. The flowers of the plant are used as ornamentals but have other uses too. The petals of the flower contain a very qualitative essential oil, which is mainly used in the cosmetics industry. Furthermore, the petals of some cultivars are used for the production of sweets and marmalades. 

How to grow a Roses At Home

There is nothing more beautiful than a garden or balcony full of colorful flowers. Roses are a great choice for backyard gardening. They are easy to grow, very adaptive plants, and produce some of the most beautiful flowers in the Plantae kingdom. However, growing plants in your backyard have some risks, do’s and dont’s, and there are some things you certainly need to avoid. 

Key Summary Points:

  • Older rose varieties can live 40-50 years or more, but contemporaries varieties that are sold on nurseries often live 10-12 years. 
  • The best method to start your roses is to buy a young plant from a legitimate nursery (either bare root or in a container). Growing roses from seeds is not recommended. 
  • In case you buy a bare root seedling, you may have to soak it overnight before planting, according to the producer’s specifications. 
  • Before planting the young rose at your backyard, the soil has to be plowed so as to remove any weeds and get the soil ready to welcome the new plant.
  • In many areas, you can plant your rose seedlings all year round, but it makes sense to plant it from late autumn to early spring so that you will see your rose blooming during late summer. 
  • You have to dig a big hole and gently place the young plant together with the soil ball, at the same depth as it was at the nursery.
  • In case you want to plant roses in a pot, you may have to avoid plastic ones and prefer a clay or cement pot. Keep in mind that you may have to replant your rose in a new bigger pot every 2 years. 
  • You can consider buying a special enriched soil mix for roses from a legitimate seller. You can mix the soil with perlite for optimum aeration and drainage. 
  • If you have chosen trellis or climbing roses, a support system such as a pergola is necessary. 
  • Roses need water in order to produce beautiful flowers. Consider to irrigate them regularly, especially during summer, where irrigation is needed at least once or twice a week in most cases.
  • As far as the fertilization method is concerned, you may need manure or compost one to two times per year. You can also choose a balanced fertilizer (N-P-K 10-10-10) or a slow-release fertilizer (4 months) that is often applied during early spring. 
  • Roses need pruning. Otherwise, they will turn enormous, woody and prone to diseases. You will have to remove weak, diseased, or older shoots every year. In fact, training and pruning are really important because, apart from maintaining the optimum shape of the plants, they also improve the plants’ general health, due to better aeration and sun penetration. In most cases, pruning takes place during early spring, after the last frost. However, you may need to perform slight pruning operations during spring, summer and fall (especially for the climbing roses). 
  • In case you want to harvest a flower, the method to do it is via scissors at a 45o angle. You can cut the flowering stem right above its last leaf so that the plant will be able to produce another flower soon. 
  • Rose care can be a little dangerous due to their thorns. Since you have decided to grow roses in your garden, you may consider buying special gloves that will protect you during routine operations.  

Roses Location, Soil Requirements and Preparation 

Most Rose growers start the cultivation from 1 or 2-year-old cuttings. A few days before planting, they prepare the field. They till the land, they remove any previous remains and weeds. They can also integrate the basal fertilization combined with well-digested manure into the soil. In case they decide to plant many roses, they also design and construct the irrigation system. 

When they are ready for planting, they dig holes at 30-40cm (11.8-15.7 in) depth and plant the young roses. As far as the location is concerned, you have to select a sunny spot in your garden. Roses can only produce beautiful flowers in places with many hours of access to direct sunlight. As far as their soil requirements are concerned, roses prefer deep, loamy, but well-drained soils in order to thrive. As an optimum soil pH level, it is well known that roses prefer slightly acidic soil (pH from 5.5 to 7). 

Before planting roses, the soil has to be plowed. Tillage aims at the destruction of perennial weeds and soil fluffing, which is necessary for the development of the root system. A few days before planting, many gardeners apply a pre-planting fertilizer such as well-rotted manure, either to the entire field or only in the planting areas. They do this in order to increase soil fertility and improve soil texture.

Rose Propagation: Grafted and Own root Roses

Roses are mainly propagated by hardwood plain or grafted cuttings. Grafting is a commonly used technique by which we join together parts from two different plants so that they will grow as a single plant. The upper part of the first plant is called scion and grows on the root system of the second plant, which is called rootstock. Eventually, we have a plant that combines all the advantages of its different components. The most commonly used rootstocks nowadays are wild roses species. In many cases, grafted roses are more sensitive to cold compared to own-root roses. You may consult your local nursery and discuss which choice is better for the climate of your area. 

However, roses can be propagated through other methods as well. Seeds are only preferred in laboratories. Offshoots and runners are also used but on a smaller scale.  

Roses Planting – How to plant Roses

By the time of planting, producers dig holes on the average depth of 30-40 cm (11.8-15.7 in) and plant the young seedlings. Prior to planting, in many cases, producers trim the roots of the cuttings and remove any shoots that have been possibly emerged on the scion. The seedlings are planted in such a depth, so as the grafted area will be 4-5 cm (1.5-2.3 inches) above the soil surface. When adding the soil, we have to press it gently, until the complete filling of the pits, so as to avoid any damage to the young and sensitive root system. Some producers also baptize the roots in fungicide prior to planting (ask a local licensed agronomist in your area).  

How to Prune Roses 

Pruning is one of the most important factors for growing healthy roses that will produce many flowers for the coming years. Pruning promotes blooming, strengthens the plants, and prevents disease outbreaks. If the roses remain unpruned for one year or more, they will develop very thick woody stems, and they will reduce the production of the flowers significantly. 

Prunings of young Roses begin early from the first year of the plant’s establishment. Producers perform headings on young roses at 45-60 cm height so as to promote peripheral shoot development, which eventually leads to a bush development.

From the first summer after planting onwards, producers start to remove any produced flower as well as weak shoots, so as to promote the upcoming fall production. From the second year onwards, a light pruning is performed by the same time with harvesting. During this time, producers remove the shoots under the first flower by cutting them above the first leaf from the ground. Every 2-3 years, producers may perform a heavy pruning by removing old, broken, weak, or diseased branches and suckers so as to strengthen the plant.

Thinning is an important technique according to which, gardeners manually remove small, immature non-uniformed, or defective flowers from the plant. In this way, we encourage the plant to transfer its nutrients to less but more qualitative flowers. 

Roses Water Requirements– How to Ιrrigate Roses

Irrigation is one of the most important operations and is critical for the success of rose cultivation. Roses need water so as to produce a great number of thriving flowers. The rose plant has greater water needs during the blooming stage, which occurs from summer to autumn. In large commercial rose gardens, drip irrigation systems are often used. With these systems, a farmer can monitor the exact soil moisture each day and apply the efficient fertigation, i.e., injection of fertilizers through the irrigation system accordingly. Water requirements can be totally different under different conditions. Different varieties may also have different water requirements. 

Roses Fertilizer Requirements

First of all, you have to take into consideration the soil condition of your field through semiannual or annual soil testing before applying any fertilization method. No two fields are the same, nor can anyone advise you on fertilization methods, without taking into account your soil’s test data, tissue analysis, and crop history of your field.

We know from theory that rose needs all three basic elements (N-P-K), so as to develop strong roots, foliage, and thriving flowers. Thus, in many cases, a balanced fertilizer of N-P-K 10-10-10 is used. Be careful not to mix nitrogen fertilizers inside the planting hole during planting, or you will burn the roots of your young rose. Many backyards gardeners use slow-release fertilizers (4-6 months), that are often applied during spring. Other gardeners place 4-5 banana peels inside a mixer and chop them. Then, they add water and they create a homemade liquid fertilizer mix that will provide Potassium to the young plant. 

However, these are just common practices that should not be followed without doing your own research. Every field is different and has different needs. Checking the soil nutrients and pH is vital before applying any fertilization method. Leaf analysis can also be very important in order to diagnose and correct nutrient deficiencies. 

Harvesting Roses

The right time for Rose harvesting depends mainly on their variety. In most cases, flowers are harvested early when they are still buds; however, in some varieties, gardeners wait until they have started to unfold. Harvesting is done early in the morning or late evening, manually using special scissors, through which they cut the flowering stem right above the first leaf measuring from the flowering stem emerged point. In case they wait until the flowers open, they remove the entire flowering stem from its emerged point.    

Most important Roses Pests and Diseases

Unfortunately, roses can suffer from various fungal diseases and various pests.

Pests

Aphids

Aphids appear mainly during spring, on young shoots and leaves and feed on them causing chlorotic spots. Once the plant has been attacked, management is more difficult. Due to the fact that pests develop immunity against pesticides easily, the best method to control them is through biological management. Chemical treatment is used only if the problem is severe and always under supervision from a local licensed agronomist.

Tetranychus 

This mite is the most common enemy of roses. The pest lives mainly on the undersides of leaves, where it gets fed by sucking out the juices of the plant. Once our roses have been attacked, we will notice symptoms including yellow, dry, burned resembling leaves on the plant. Once the crop has been attacked, management is more difficult. Due to the fact that pests develop immunity against pesticides, the best method to control them is through biological management. Chemical treatment is used only if the problem is severe and always under supervision from a local licensed agronomist.

Diseases

Black spot

Black spot is caused by the fungus Diplocarpon rosae and is one of the most common diseases of roses. Symptoms of the disease include irregular black spots on leaves and young stems. Gradually the infected leaves turn yellow and drop. Without proper foliage, the plant is incapable of photosynthesis and dies. Disease control begins with proper precautionary measures. These include weed control and safe distances between plants, proper drainage, and avoidance of foliar irrigation. Mummified fruits should be removed from the field. The general condition of the plants can also boost their immunity. Chemical treatment (copper-based fungicides) is used only if the problem is severe and always under supervision from a local licensed agronomist. It is also crucial to use proper sanitation, such as tools disinfection every time we come in contact with the plants.

Powdery mildew

The disease is caused by the fungus Sphaerotheca pannosa var. rosae. On affected plants, we observe chlorotic spots on leaves, stems, and flower buds. Disease control begins with proper precautionary measures. These include weed control and safe distances between plants, proper drainage, and avoidance of foliar irrigation. Mummified fruits should be removed from the field. The general condition of the plants (nutrients and water level, sun exposure) can also boost their immunity. Chemical treatment is used only if the problem is severe and always under supervision from a local licensed agronomist. It is also crucial to use proper sanitation, such as tools disinfection every time we come in contact with the plants. Many backyard gardeners use baking soda along with liquid soap and water in order to control Powdery mildew on plants. Unfortunately, the baking soda mix is only effective as a precautionary measure. It offers minimal benefits to already infected plants. 

Downy mildew

The disease is caused by the fungus Peronospora sparsa, which causes characteristic angular and chlorotic spots on the leaves. Under optimum humid conditions, grey growths of the fungus usually appear on the underside of the foliage. The leaves turn yellow. Disease control begins with proper precautionary measures. These include weed control and safe distances between plants, proper drainage, and avoidance of foliar irrigation. Mummified fruits should be removed from the field. The general condition of the plants can also boost their immunity. Chemical treatment is used only if the problem is severe and always under supervision from a local licensed agronomist. Infected leaves and tissues must be removed immediately. It is also crucial to use proper sanitation, such as tools disinfection every time we come in contact with the plants. Many backyard gardeners use baking soda along with liquid soap and water in order to control Downey mildew on plants. Unfortunately, the baking soda mix is only effective as a precautionary measure. It offers minimal benefits to already infected plants. 

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Wikifarmer Editorial Team
Wikifarmer Editorial Team

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