~Constantly remove dead roses and inspect for insects.
~Water deeply twice a week and add a thick layer of mulch.Fertilize monthly with product high in phosphorous
~Prune lightly while removing dead flowers. Aim to remove crossing branches and any awkward branches.
Debunking Rose Myths
Summer brings visions of roses to gardeners. They imagine vases filled to the brim with glorious, fragrant roses and a garden laden with these summer jewels.
Yet many good gardeners secretly feel overwhelmed by the thought of growing roses. Ironically, the abundance of talk, perfect roses on Instagram and pinterest add to fears that roses are tricky.
Push your anxiety aside because roses are tough. In ghost towns, roses grow though neglected for decades. Tombstone, Arizona has the world’s largest rose, planted in 1885 and it currently covers 8,000 square feet. It is unlikely Wild West gunfighters gave this rose special, or time consuming treatment. Roses are amazingly easy to cultivate.
Myth Number One: You must prune roses properly, and perfectly.
Don’t be afraid to simply whack the rose back. Keep in mind the objective is to reshape the rose; not to be graded by fellow gardeners. Prune away crisscrossing canes, and remove any small, spindly canes.
Furthermore, if winter pruning was overlooked, your rose won’t die. Instead, your rose may flower earlier because it won’t have to recover from a hard pruning. The downside of missing winter pruning is that your rose may sprawl. However, if you prune lightly, and continuously during the growing season, your rose will recover a pleasing shape.
Admittedly to get roses worthy of a blue ribbon at the fair, you might need frequent application of fertilizer. Truly most gardeners want their roses to stay healthy and ornament the garden. To achieve this result, you can get by with a less rigorous feeding schedule. Surprisingly, roses thrive when fed monthly, or even bimonthly during the growing season.
When choosing a fertilizer, keep in mind that roses don’t require specially designated rose food. To thrive, roses need nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Their bloom are prompted by high levels of phosphorous. Consequently any fertilizer with a high phosphorous content brings flowers. Knowing this frees you to buy any super bloom or high phosphorous fertilizer on sale. The second number in the sequence on the fertilizer label indicates the phosphorous content, so pick accordingly. In summer sometimes roses stop blooming from heat stress but don’t fear, they will bud when the temperature lowers.
If you garden organically and have enriched your soil, you can fertilize even less than monthly. Many companies make organic rose food, such as Dr. Earth, and these can be applied every other month during the growing season.
Experts recommend rose fertilizers because they contain additional nutrients these flowers enjoy, such as magnesium and calcium. What a rose needs is soil rich in organic matter, six hours of sun per day and regular water in summer heat.
Myth three: Roses are susceptible to diseases and insects.
Again, this is fiction. Modern roses have been hybridized to be disease resistant. Moreover, San Diego County’s climate prevents the top three things that plague roses in other parts of the country: extreme cold, black spot, and Japanese beetles. If you live in parts of the country that get black spot and beetles, cross you fingers you won’t get them, but if you do look up organic methods to cure these aliments.
Roses may get aphids in spring or they may develop some rust or powdery mildew late in the summer. These pests and problems should be short-lived in healthy roses. If you have a rose that continually has such issues, then dig it up. Replace it with a robust rose, less prone to such problems, life is too short for a fussy plant.
Myth Four: Roses are water hogs.
Fortunately for water-restricted Californians, roses need less water than once believed. It is true that without supplemental water in the summer, roses lose leaves and refuse to bloom. To prevent this, water twice a week deeply in summer and add thick mulch to hold in the moisture.
In selecting a new rose, choose one known for it’s drought tolerance. Cecile brunner and Lady Banksia are old fashioned climbers that are low maintenance, pest free and can survive on winter rains alone. Oddly, even hybrid tea roses can get by with less water than is usually prescribed, although they may have less flowers.
‘Iceberg’ roses require even less water than hybrid teas, as do small sizes of David Austin’s, English roses like ‘Perdita,’ ‘Ann Boleyn,’ or ‘Fair Bianca.’ ‘Perdita’ is especially drought tolerant.
Beneath the rose’s false reputation for being high maintenance, there lies a carefree plant. Oh by the way, if someone wants to give you high praise for all the hours invested in your beautifully abundant roses, let them. The fact that it was hardly any work at all, will just be our little secret.