Nearly everyone recognizes a rose, traditionally a symbol of love and a flower of classic beauty in a bouquet or garden. Many gardeners find growing roses challenging or mysterious, but proper techniques can keep a bed of roses growing in nearly any garden. Plant your roses in optimal conditions, care for them meticulously, and a garden of roses will reward the homeowner with years of flourishing blooms.
Things you’ll need:
- Potted “Grade 1” rose plants
- Soil testing pH strips
- Nitrogen garden additive
- Hand shovel
- Pruning shears
Planting a Rose Garden
- Choose a location for your rose garden that receives at least six hours of sunlight daily, away from nutrient-robbing bushes, shrubs or trees. Pour water onto your proposed site to check if the water drains properly and quickly since standing water stunts rose growth.
- Prepare to plant your rose garden in the spring, after temperatures have warmed past the danger of an overnight freeze, when soil does not hold standing water.
- Top the soil in your desired planting bed with 2 to 4 inches of compost. Add 2 lbs. of superphosphate to each 100 square feet of area. Mix the compost and superphosphate into the soil.
- Dig holes the approximate depth of the root bundle approximately 8 to 18 inches apart. Place each rose plant into a hole and cover with the soil. Water the roses thoroughly to incorporate the root bundle into the planting bed.
- Add 1 or 2 inches of mulch to the bed, pushing it right up to the rose plants.
Maintaining a Rose Garden
- Water the soil around the rose plants at least 12 inches deep at each watering using a watering can. You may need to use an irrigation hose in the bed the first season after planting if your area does not receive regular rain. Do not use a sprinkler to top the roses with water.
- Test the soil periodically using pH testing strips. Shoot for a pH between 5.5 and 7.0. If pH is too high (alkaline), add 1 lb. of sulfur per 100 square feet. If pH is too low (acidic), add 1 lb. of sulfur per 100 square feet.
- Apply 1/10 lb. of actual nitrogen throughout the soil three times during your rose season, spacing the application evenly. Find out how much actual nitrogen is in your garden nitrogen additive by checking the label.
- Prune roses by cutting away all diseased and dead branches at a 45-degree angle to the main bush. Trim rose bushes as needed to maintain the desired shape and size.
- Protect rose plants through winter by mounding up some of the mulch around the base of the plant. Place a protective plant cylinder over the plant for the duration of the winter. Remove the mound of mulch from around the base of the plant after winter passes.
Tips & Warnings
- Climbing roses should be removed from the item they climb before winter and covered with 3 to 4 inches of soil for protection.
- Although bare-root rose plants cost less than potted roses, rookies should choose potted roses because they are easier to plant and tend to fare better.