Growing roses can be difficult; in fact, a truly “easy” rose doesn’t really exist outside our imaginations. But some are easier to grow than others, and a few rose-growing tips will help ensure success.
- Choose varieties proven in your climate. When in doubt, AARS winners are good bets.
- Plant roses where they will receive a minimum of five to six hours of full sun per day. They would like even more.
- Diligently water your roses. Soak the entire root zone at least twice a week in dry summer weather. Avoid frequent shallow sprinklings, which won’t reach the deeper roots and may encourage fungus.
- Feed roses; they have big appetites. Once a month between April and July, apply a balanced granular fertilizer (5-10-5 or 5-10-10). Allow three-quarters to one cup for each bush, and sprinkle it around the drip line, not against the stem. In May and June, add an additional tablespoon of Epsom salts; the magnesium sulfate will encourage new growth.
- Roses prefer a near-neutral soil pH, somewhere between 6.5 and 7—about what lawn grass needs. For best results, test your soil and follow the recommendations for adjusting its pH.
- It’s easier to prevent disease than to cure it. Many rosarians treat their roses weekly with a general-purpose spray such as Funginex. If you object to chemical sprays, you’ll probably encounter the evil triumvirate—powdery mildew, black spot, and rust—which may even attack disease-resistant roses, especially when the weather is damp and spores are abundant on old diseased foliage. Deadhead religiously and keep beds clean. Attention to your roses’ other needs, such as sun, food, and water, will help hold your losses—if they occur—to acceptable levels.