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Roses Advice - Rose Bush Care

All the advice you will need to grow beautiful roses. It is not difficult to grow roses - almost anywhere in the world!

Roses are deservedly popular and will give many years of interest and beauty if cared fro properly. They do not need intensive care - just a little knowledge. Basically, the advice you need about rose bush care is set out below.

Types of Roses

There are several basic types of roses. Climbers and ramblers for fences and walls, with the hybrid teas and floribunda roses for shrub beds and borders. Old fashioned shrub roses we will deal with elsewhere. patio and miniature roses are suited more to containers, whilst other roses are grown strictly as houseplants. The latter do not generally do well once planted outside!

Where to grow Roses.

Roses can be grown either in the ground or quite successfully in large containers. Containers are more suitable for the bush and miniature/patio types, rather than climbers, ramblers or strong growing roses like Queen Elizabeth for instance.

They are best in full sun - unless you live in one of the hotter countries. They will also grow in dappled shade, and some climbers or ramblers are happy with their roots in full shade - scrambling up to the light.

To a certain extent, the rootstock that a rose is grown on will determine the type of soil the rose should be grown. In reality, you will have little control over that, so for an average, roses prefer a slightly heavy soil. These types of soil tend to hold moisture better. this suits roses. Clay soils are fine, and though clay soils can crack and open up in hot dry weather, the root system of roses is not generally too fibrous, so they can cope with soil movement around their roots better than many fibrous rooted shrubs.

Planting roses

Bush and climbing type roses are normally grown on a special rootstock. Normally budded onto a wild rose for health and vigor reasons. However, with advances on propagation techniques, some roses are produced from cuttings. If there is a rootstock visible with your rose - a thick stem at ground level with the rose shoots growing out of it, then the rootstock should be planted so that the top is just below ground level. This allows for better basal growth to form new shoots.

 The rose should be planted firmly - even to the extent of pushing the soil down with your foot. (Not too heavily on clay type soils.) Rotted compost can be added to the planting hole - or simply some multi-purpose potting compost. this will help the roots to start rooting into the soil.

Pruning Roses

The pruning of roses is shrouded in mystique - simply because older books - and copycat writers - wanted to make it sound more difficult than it is!

For Hybrid Tea and Floribunda Roses - in temperature zones where they die down in winter - simply cut back all growth by around 50 percent in late autumn/fall to prevent the problems at root level caused by wind rock movement. Not really too much of a problem, for roses in such areas will  not have much foliage to act as 'sails' in strong wind.

At the end of winter, cut back all the stems to around 6in (150mm) from ground level for HT roses and a little bit longer for strong growing varieties and floribunda types. 8-10in being about right.

At the time of pruning roses, cut out all weak and dead growth. Ideally leave just the strong shoots. They will send out side shoots to replace the cut out weaker growths.

At flowering time, cut off all the dead flowers as soon as they have faded. With cluster flowered roses, cut back into the stem, just below where the flower stalks started.

Feeding Roses

Roses respond well to feeding - particularly because of the regular pruning off of the 'food factory' of the rose!

General purpose feeds are ok, and of course you can get specialist rose fertilisers. An early dressing of the organic bonemeal, followed by a light dressing of fish blood and bone once growth starts does the trick well.

Pests and Diseases of Roses

Pests of roses are mainly confined to aphids - normally greenfly or blackfly. Quite easily disposed of by a general or organic insecticide, or washed off with a jet of water!

Diseases of roses are usually confined to mildew and blackspot. (Rust is rarer.) A general fungicide normally deals with both mildew and blackspot on the leaves. It will do no harm if you use a fungicide as a preventative spray, rather than wait for the disease to take hold.

Some varieties are more susceptible to these fungi diseases than others. For instance, that lovely rose Iceberg, has a tendency to attract any mildew spores in the vicinity - as does that gorgeous red - Frensham. Iceberg is worth the trouble of preventative sprays. Frensham is best left at the nursery or garden center.

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