Queen of flowers and symbol of love, the rose is probably the most popular and versatile shrub in the world and countless forms and colour variations have been develop over the centuries.
Roses are robust and easy to grow and with a little extra care the rewards are boundless.
- An open area receiving at least 5 hours full sun a day.
- Protect from strong wind.
- Any good well-drained soil with a ph between 5.8 and 7.
- Prepare the bed or hole a few days beforehand.
- Remove soil about 50cm x 30cm deep and put it to one side.
- Loosen the subsoil with a fork and check that water drains away.
- Add a sprinkling of bone meal and a spadeful of compost and mix well.
- To the removed topsoil add a small handful of bone meal and 2:3:2 and a generous amount of compost and mix well.
- Fill the hole with this mixture, firm down and water.
- Remove the rose plant from its bag, leaving enough soil to cover the root ball and plant, ensuring that the bud union is at ground level. Firm the soil down well and form a basin around the plant.
- Water thoroughly.
Mulching and Companion Planting
- Roses are fairly shallow rooted and mulch will help to protect them from summer heat, suppress weeds and keep the soil moist and cool. Use any dried organic matter – nutshells, bark chips or wood shavings. Keep it away from the stem and renew regularly.
- Non-invasive groundcovers and companion plants can deter insects and promote the well-being of roses. Keep them at least 30cm away form stems. Try pennyroyal, lavender, thyme, garlic, chives, catnip, alyssum, Erigeron or Forget-me-nots.
Watering and fertilising
- Adequate watering depends on temperature, rainfall, soil type and mulch thickness. Generally, roses require thorough deep watering, i.e. about 10 litres twice a week in summer – preferably early mornings.
- Roses respond to regular additional nutrition in the growing season. Apply 50g (a small handful) of fertiliser around each bush and a teaspoonful around small or newly planted roses every 4 weeks until April.
- Alternate 8:1:5 with 2:3:2 or 3:2:1 early in the season and with 3:1:5 later. Take care to follow instructions on the fertiliser bag to avoid burning the plants.
- Remove dead flowers, weak straggly growth and die-back regularly during the year.
- Cut back by about half in January to ensure a good autumn flush.
- Main pruning should be done at the end of July or early August.
- Use sharp, sterilised secateurs and loppers (keep a solution of Jeyes Fluid nearby).
- Remove any dead, diseased or damaged wood or inner stems that cross.
- Select about four young, strong stems in as open a cup form as possible and cut them cleanly just above an eye, 50 – 70cm above ground level.
- Remove side branches and forks.
- Short or weak bushes should be cut back more severely than others.
- Spray bush with lime sulphur and drench surrounding soil.
- Add a handful of bone meal (or superphosphate) and a nitrogen rich fertiliser of your choice.
- Add a layer of compost and water thoroughly.