By Marc Hess, Editor of Gardening South Texas
Deciding to plant roses in your garden can be exciting and at the same time intimidating. Buying rose plants does not need to be a daunting task if you put some thought into it. If you’re new to gardening and want to try your hand at growing roses, landscape roses will be your best option. These roses are easy to care for and disease-resistant. They’ll look stunning just about anywhere you may choose to put them. Whether you want a prize-winning hybrid tea rose, old fashioned cabbage roses, sprawling ramblers and climbers or just a whiff of the way you remember roses smelling, there’s a rose for you. When thinking about adding a new rose bush or a complete bed of roses these are a few things that you should think about.
Decide on color. How will the color of your roses affect your garden? Look at different catalogs, as well as your neighbors’ gardens to get an idea of the colors you like best.
Consider size. In addition to color, the size of the roses you choose is very important. Consider the height of your roses at full-growth.
Think about climate. In order for your roses to grow healthy and mature, be sure to select varieties that will thrive in our South Texas climate. Talk to the people at your nursery. You will find many to choose from.
Consider maintenance. There are several types of roses which are very high-maintenance. Although they will look beautiful in your garden, they will require a lot of your time. The classification known as “Modern Roses” are very beautiful, long blooming, and highly fragrant, however they are very high maintenance and are prone to disease.
Roses need to be grown in full sun. They like to be in soil that is well-amended with organic matter and has good soil drainage. A raised flower bed with additional compost is a great place for a rose; starting with healthy soil will prevent you from needing to fertilize much later on. Newly-planted roses will appreciate watering around twice a week throughout the first growing season, and a two to three-inch layer of mulch helps quite a bit.
Roses bloom to their greatest potential when they are pruned. Pruning back in February helps to clean out any deadwood that may be on your plant and prevents disease. Shrub roses can be pruned way back, leaving nothing but four- to six-inch stubs. (Caution: February is not the time to prune climbing roses, such as Seven Sisters, Lady Banks or other roses that only bloom in the spring. If you prune climbers now, you will be cutting off all the blooms for the year. Instead, prune those after they have finished flowering in the fall.)
Your Roses May Like To Be In A Container
Roses in pots extend the scope and possibilities of your gardening options. Wide walkways can be highlighted with tubs of roses, entryways can be graced with the beauty and fragrance of roses. Miniature roses can dress up window boxes in the summer, and then be brought indoors in winter to perk up your house.
With the exception of large climbers, most roses can be grown successfully in containers. It is important that the container be large enough to provide ample space for the roots. Pots should also have good drainage, good soil and a location with adequate light and air circulation. Like roses that grow in the ground roses in pots will need a day full of sunshine—at least seven hours of it.
Your container may be plastic or clay. Clay containers do provide a cooler condition for the roots during hot weather. If choosing plastic, it is better to obtain the lighter terra-cotta color rather than the darker plastics, as they heat up faster. When met with these requirements one can grow miniatures roses that can attain a height and spread of up to five feet.
It is important that bush roses and small shrub roses be placed in containers no less than 15 inches in diameter. They will do well there for about two years and then will need transplanting. Roses in containers tend to deplete the soil of its nutrients more rapidly than if they were in the ground. Often they will also outgrow their containers and need a larger home. In this case one can provide the rose with a container one or two sizes up from the previous one.
Place your potted roses in a location where it receives some moving air. This will reduce the incidence of fungus-related rose diseases.
If you are looking for a Texas-tough rose that is famous for thriving in our tough Texas growing conditions: heat, drought, alkaline soils, insects and disease consider a variety called Belinda’s Dream. It is a popular rose in Texas and readily available in most nurseries. When mature and fully established this rose can reach up to five- or six-feet tall. Whether planted in the ground or in a container this variety will give you a longer bloom period than other varieties. Its pale pink blooms will provide florist-quality blooms available for cutting.
With proper planting and care, nearly any Texan can become a successful rose gardener.