We’re all familiar with the beautiful shape and delicate petals of the iconic rose. This beloved symbol of love can be tricky to grow, however, and you will need to make sure you are providing your roses with proper care.
Whether you are already growing roses and are struggling to keep your flowers healthy, or are thinking about planting them for the first time, this guide will walk you through some helpful tips for providing roses with the best possible care.
How to Keep Roses Alive
Choose a variety suited to your climate. Plant roses in a location with six to eight hours of daily sunlight and good air circulation. Water roses early in the morning and do not wet the stem or flowers. Feed them with a phosphorous-heavy fertilizer. Keep an eye out for pests or signs of disease.
Choosing the right rose variety
There are a wide variety of rose cultivars.
Modern “hybrid tea” varieties, which are long-stemmed roses and are the ones commonly sold by florists, require the most care.
They are difficult to keep happy and require special protection to stay alive during the winter. They can only be grown successfully in a warm and temperate climate.
Shrub roses are far hardier and do not need extra protection to survive the winter. Shrub roses also grow rose-hips in the fall, which can be used to make delicious teas.
Within these two basic categories are hundreds of different rose varieties. Some varieties are more resistant to certain diseases and pests than others.
Looking into what rose cultivars are resistant to the common diseases and plants in your local area can also help ensure that you give your roses the best possible chance at a long life.
Make sure you also consider what space you have available when choosing a type of rose to plant. Choosing a suitable cultivar suited to your space will help your rose plant succeed.
If you don’t have much garden space but do have place for a trellis, opt for a climbing rose variety. If you don’t have much space at all, you might want to plant a miniature variety.
Choose the right location for your rose plant
Roses can be grown in the ground or in a pot. However you choose to grow them, it is important that you choose a good location for them.
When choosing where to plant your roses in your garden, or where to keep your pot of roses, make sure you select a location with the right light and air conditions. Most rose varieties need between six and eight hours of sunlight every day.
Roses also require good air circulation and enough breathing room between plants, which means you need to plant your roses far enough apart, particularly in hot and humid locations. This will help prevent your roses from developing diseases.
How a rose plant looks will largely depend on how much sunlight and air circulation it gets. The more sun it gets, the more blossoms it will have. If your rose bush is not blooming, you may need to make some adjustments to its location.
How to plant your roses for a long life
Some of the work you do to ensure your roses stay alive should happen before your roses are even in the ground.
Preparing the soil before you plant your rose bush will help your flowers thrive.
Roses are happiest in slightly acidic to neutral soil. If possible, test your soil in early spring using a pH metre. If your soil’s pH levels are outside the healthy range for the rose type you want to plant, read up on how to change your soil’s pH levels.
For this first fertilization, prime the soil with a complete 10–10–10 blend fertilizer. Be careful not to overfertilize. Use the recommended dosage of the fertilizer brand and product you choose.
Once you have planted your roses you will need to choose a different fertilizer with higher phosphorus content.
Plant your roses in the ground or in a pot in late spring for best results.
Once you have an established rose bush, should also be pruning your roses in early spring.
How to fertilize roses
In order to help your rose flowers stay alive as long as possible, continue to fertilize your rose plant throughout the growing season. You will want to look for a blend of fertilizer that has been produced specifically for roses.
Roses respond particularly well to phosphorus, and your fertilizer should contain a higher dosage of phosphorus than it does of nitrogen or potassium.
You should fertilize your roses every two to three weeks during the growing season.
How to water roses
Roses like water. It’s as simple as that. If they are left in soil that is too dry for too long, roses will begin to wilt and the plants will begin to die.
If the leaves of your rose plant are turning yellow, this may also be a watering issue.
Water roses thoroughly and make sure that the water has fully soaked down to the flowers’ roots. The soil should be kept gently moist at all times, but you should avoid soaking it so regularly that your rose plants end up sitting in water or in water-logged soil.
If you mulch the area around your rose stems, they will retain moisture better.
While it is tempting to water the whole plant, your roses will hate you if you do. Try to water at soil level early in the morning and avoid wetting the stem or flowers of the plant, as this can lead to disease.
Watering early in the day means that the water droplets will dry up quickly and it will be more difficult for fungal diseases to develop.
How to deal with pests and diseases in roses
Two other factors that can seriously threaten the health of your rose plant are pests and diseases. While both are difficult to prevent, and pests in particular can arise out of seemingly nowhere, there are some preventative measures you can take to be prepared in case they do arise.
As mentioned, take good care to only water your roses in the morning. If you notice the black spots symptomatic of black spot fungal disease, take action immediately. Cut off and burn or otherwise dispose of badly affected leaves and flowers.
You will also want to look out for white spots on roses, as these are often a sign of a pest infestation or a fungal disease.
If your roses have a fungal disease, you should purchase a fungicide and apply it to the areas of the plant around the outbreak.
If you begin to see signs of pest activity on the leaves, stem or flowers of your rose plant, purchase an insecticide and apply it to the affected areas of the plant.
Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.