31 Secrets on Growing Roses will give you the tips that seasoned gardeners have learned through trial and error. When I find a garden filled with rose plants, it takes my breath away. There’s something about these blooms that everyone loves.
I couldn’t wait to move to my first house to start growing my rose garden. My front yard had raised beds and meandering paths that led to the front door. The stars of my garden were the roses.
Most of my roses were pink shades, with a few yellow ones thrown in for good measure. Some roses were picked for scent (hello David Austin!), and others I chose because of their growing season. Some of my roses bloomed in early spring, while others didn’t until early summer.
“There is nothing more difficult for a truly creative painter than to paint a rose, because before he can do so, he has first to forget all the roses that were ever painted.”Henri Matisse
My garden entrance showcased a pink climbing rose over my white wooden arbor. What a way to make a statement!
Right before I moved from my house with the rose garden, I got a knock at my door, and found three teenagers.
They wanted to tell me that they visited the island where I lived every year to see their grandparents, and they always walked to my house to look at the roses and take pictures for their social media accounts.
Yes, they were teenagers. I couldn’t have received a better compliment about my garden.
If you’re interested in growing roses in your garden, I put together some tips to help you succeed the beautiful journey into growing roses.
Creating a Cozy Life Group
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Here are the 31 Secrets on Growing Roses:
1. Get Local Advice
You’ve got a world of resources at your fingertips. There are local garden clubs, rose societies, and online garden groups to ask what types of roses are local favorites for disease resistant plants.
When I decided to move to another state, I joined a Facebook garden group in the city I’m moving to. It allowed me to ask questions and find out what things grow the best in the area. You can also join the American Rose Society to learn more about these beautiful flowers.
Looking at gardens in your neighborhood and getting to know your green thumb neighbors is always a good idea.
2. Buy Local
Those garden catalogs are so darn tempting, but if you’re new to gardening, it’s better to buy from a local nursery. You’ll want to purchase a bush with blooms and buds to determine if you love the rose.
If you’ve already seen the type of rose you want in person, I read an article about a “rose whisperer” that said to buy bare-root roses because you can see if the plant has a healthy root system.
You want the roots to be approximately 14″ long and the top equal. Be sure to buy a disease-resistant rose.
3. Rose Garden Features
When I designed my rose garden, I wanted gorgeous old-fashioned roses that smelled amazing and bloomed from spring until late fall.
Not all roses are equally fragrant. I bought four rose bushes specifically for their fragrance. I wanted to smell them the moment I stepped out my front door.
If strong-scented roses are important, make fragrance the key ingredient in your search.
Some varieties of roses only bloom once and put on quite a show. There are other repeat-blooming roses that bloom over a more extended period and sometimes last into the fall months.
Hybrid tea roses are beloved for their classic elegance and captivating fragrance. They are a cherished rose variety within the rose family. These roses are the result of deliberate crossbreeding between hybrid perpetual roses and tea roses, resulting in a stunning combination of beauty and grace. Hybrid teas are one of my favorite roses to grow.
I wanted a little bit of everything, so I designed my flower garden to always in bloom. I also had my entire front yard dedicated to my flower garden, so that I could have it all.
If you have a smaller space for your garden, pick the feature you prefer and design your area around it.
Design Secrets to Growing Roses
4. Rose Garden Design
For a visual feast, design your flower garden with colors complimenting each other.
You also want to consider how big all the plants you pick will get and how to layer the plants for the best results.
Rose bushes are gorgeous in the summer, but bare canes in winter. If you plant your rose bush in front of an evergreen plant, you won’t notice them as much.
Adding plants like catmint at the rose base will hide the bare roots. I had my Ballerina roses paired with catmint, and they looked beautiful together.
The only roses I had problems growing were tree roses. Tree roses are the result of when you prune roses into a tree shape. I bought five because I was planning to make them into the focal points of my flowers. They all ended up dying, and I will never know why.
That experiment ended up costing me a lot of money. You should learn from my mistakes and plant one section at a time and see how it does before spending a fortune on your garden design.
5. Planting garlic near roses increase their fragrance
While researching information for this article, I stumbled upon this fun tip from the Herb Society of America. I had no idea!
It’s not just garlic that enhances the smell of roses, but all onion family members assist with this task as well.
6. Planting climbing roses brings vertical dimension to gardens
Climbing roses draw the eye to the sky, making a garden seem more significant reality.
If you have a small garden, you can plant climbing roses on your fence walls, arbors, and trellises.
Where to Plant a Rose Bush
7. Best Time to Plant Roses
If you’re planting in the spring, plant after the last frost. Late spring is the best time to plant.
For fall planting, be sure to get your rose bush planted six weeks before your first frost. Doing so allows the roots to grow enough before the dormant season starts.
8. Roses CRAVE sunshine
Generally, make sure your roses get at least 6-8 hours of sun a day. Study your garden before planting to ensure it is planted in the right spots to get full sun.
Some rose plants require less sun, so check the plant’s requirements before purchasing.
A rose-growing expert suggested selecting a site with light shade in the afternoon. He said it helps the blooms stay fresher longer.
9. Test the drainage of soil
Well-drained soil is imperative to growing roses. An easy soil drainage test will indicate if the planting site you picked for your roses is right.
Dig a hole approximately 14 inches wide by 14 inches deep and fill it with water. Allow the hole to drain.
After the hole drains, fill it again with more water. If it takes a day or less to drain the second time, you’ve picked the right spot for good drainage.
10. Prepare soil for roses two weeks in advance
Preparing your soil two weeks in advance helps release the nutrients and prevent air pockets.
11. How to grow roses with the right soil
If you want to do things right, test your soil to ensure it has the proper nutrients. A soil pH of 6.5 is optimal for roses.
Roses grow much better in soil with a minimum of 20 percent organic matter.
Some things you can add to your soil are aged manure, compost, peat moss, kelp meal, and alfalfa meal. Clay soils will need more organic matter.
Adding organic matter will enrich the soil and improve water retention.
12. Don’t plant roses close to other plants.
To prevent an error in gauging the amount of root span – assume the roots of the rose will extend as far as the leaf canopy. You also want to leave room for good air circulation.
A measuring tape comes in handy when digging your planting hole.
13. Add phosphorus when planting your rose bush
Another tip the “rose whisperer” said was to add a tablespoon or two of phosphorus when planting your rose bush.
Be sure to use rock phosphate because it’s organic matter, whereas superphosphate is not, according the University of Vermont.
14. Bury the bud union
You want to bury the bud union 3-4 inches below the soil level. The bud union is the knot above the rose roots where the canes grow out.
Burying the bud union below ground level helps prevent wind-rock. The bare root roses cannot establish a sound root system if it gets moved around.
How to Plant a Bare Root Rose
15. Make sure your roses are well watered
There are varying opinions on the best way to water roses. Some believe that soaker hoses work best because you don’t want the water to splash on the foliage. Wet leaves and flowers encourage disease to happen.
A rose guru feels that a soaker hose can get clogged, and he didn’t trust that the water would get all the way down to the roots.
He put his sprinklers on at 4 am, giving them a good soak in the summer months. By watering the roses at 4 am, the sun rising will dry the leaves without water.
Another option is to hand-water your roses. Hand-watering was my preferred method because I could make sure my roses were getting enough water, and allowed me to look at each bush to make sure it was healthy.
Avoid watering in the heat of the day or right before evening.
16. Fall is the time when roses go on sale
I looked at my local rose nursery, and they put their roses on sale the last week of September at the end of the growing season. They offered a 2-for-1 deal for amazing roses.
Please note that the selection won’t be as good as spring. But if you’re trying to save money on landscaping your yard, waiting until fall is a perfect plan.
Rose Bush Care
17. Fertilize your roses with banana peels
Here’s one of the secrets I used with my roses. I eat lots of organic bananas – and my roses loved me for it!
Banana peels are great for roses because they decompose rapidly. They release beneficial potassium and phosphorous minerals into the soil. A good idea would be when you plant your rose bush to drop a banana peel in the hole before adding the rose bush.
A bonus to adding banana peels to your roses is that they contain a chemical that aphids hate. They also ward off a common fungus that roses can sometimes get.
Chop the banana peels up and bury them one inch under the soil.
18. Fertilizer care of roses
Coffee grounds lower the soil’s pH and attract worms that help fertilize and loosen the dirt. The coffee grounds are also rich in nutrients that slowly release into the soil.
Don’t put the coffee grounds directly in the soil; mix about a cup of coffee grounds with a gallon of water and water your roses with the mixture.
Slugs and snails hate coffee grounds because it’s toxic to these pests, so they make sure to avoid it.
One of the things to consider is to make sure you add organic coffee grounds. You don’t want coffee beans that were sprayed with pesticides. I was lucky to receive the organic coffee grounds from my local coffee stand. Ask your local coffee stand what they do with their daily coffee grounds, and you might also get lucky.
19. Eggshells make a good fertilizer for roses
Eggshells are an excellent source of organic matter that will help your roses grow to their full potential. They are a good source of calcium, promote a robust root system, stabilize the pH level, help with healthy foliage, and are a natural deterrent against pests.
It’s best to crush the eggshells or turn them into powder instead of waiting until they break down by themselves.
Pruning Secrets to Growing Roses
20. Don’t prune newly planted roses
Wait one year before you prune your rose bush. It might be tempting to prune branches that shoot out in places you don’t want but try and resist that urge.
Give your rose bush time to establish itself before giving it a trim.
21. Prune to entice sturdy rose stems
When you prune your roses, you’ll want to cut back to a stem with a minimum of five leaves. The rose will create a new branch strong enough to produce fresh blooms.
If you don’t prune your roses to this point, they will send out weaker shoots.
22. Deadhead roses before they go to seed
When the rose bush’s energy goes into developing seeds, new growth is sacrificed. Deadheading spent flowers causes the rose bush to produce more rosebuds to create more seeds.
The best way to deadhead roses is to cut finished flowers’ stems back to a bud with a full leaf.
Natural Pest Control Secrets to Growing Roses
23. Clean Your Garden Tools
You want to clean your gardening tools after each use, especially if you pruned diseased parts of plants to stop the spread of the disease.
Make your cleaning solution with one part bleach to nine parts water. After you use the bleach mixture, be sure to clean it again with soapy water.
24. Plant Lavender
I love the combination of lavender and roses together. If you have a problem with rabbits in your garden, planting lavender near roses will help keep them away.
25. Natural Pest Spray
You can make a natural spray at home to use on your rose bushes if you see signs of aphids, spider mites, or Japanese beetles.
Mix 1/2 teaspoon of mild dish soap, one teaspoon cooking oil, and one quart of water. Fill a spray bottle and spray liberally over the entire plant.
A common fungal disease, known as black spot, manifests as black or dark brown spots on the leaves of rose plants. To combat this problem, provide adequate air circulation, avoid overhead watering. Fungicidal sprays and treatments may also be used to control the spread of the disease.
Another common fungal infection that often plagues roses is powdery mildew. Natural remedies like neem oil or baking soda solutions can be applied.
26. Natural Pest Control
Ladybugs love to dine on aphids. If you have a rose bush affected by aphids, you’ll want to bring in some ladybugs to get them under control because aphids reproduce rapidly.
These fabulous garden partners will stay in the area if they have the aphids to dine on and shelter.
27. Slug Solutions
If you have a problem in your area dealing with slugs, there are a few different ways to deal with these pesky snackers.
In a shallow dish, pour an inch of beer at the bottom. Snails and slugs are attracted to the yeast found in the beer. They will crawl into the saucer and drown.
You can also go outside with a flashlight at night and hand-pick the slugs and snails. If you know someone with chickens, they will be a welcomed treat.
28. Deterring Deer
I’m fortunate to have plenty of dog hair to mix with my soil, which helped deter the deer from eating my beautiful blooms.
Deer are sensitive to smells, you can try are fabric sheets, garlic (this gives you, even more, incentive to plant garlic near your roses), and blood meal.
There are also deer deterrents available to buy.
Daily Care Secrets to Growing Roses
29. Nitrogen for Roses
The “rose whisperer” I talked about earlier said to use sufficient nitrogen applied frequently in small doses. He regularly fertilizes because he loves large rose bushes.
30. Rose compost
Another tip the “rose whisperer’ gave was to keep his garden organically alive; he covers the soil with a 6-inch blanket of compost in winter. Then he adds smaller amounts throughout the year.
He adds ground forest bark, steer manure, and horse manure to build back up his soil and homemade compost.
31. Trellis for roses
Horizontally training your climbing roses encourages the most blooms. A trellis for the rose to climb is decorative and removable for wall maintenance. Use plastic-covered wire ties for best results.
I hope this article helped you understand roses just a little bit better. Whether you grow miniature roses, a potted rose, or an entire rose hedge – these tips will benefit everyone.
You can start with container roses in your garden to get the feel for growing them. Pick out your favorite rose plant as a start to your cottage garden. Garden roses will give your landscape a beautiful beginning.
Best Books on Growing Roses – Click on the links to view books on Amazon
- Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden: Grow, Harvest, and Arrange Seasonal Blooms
- Right Rose, Right Place by Peter Schneider
- The Rose: The History of the World’s Favorite Flower by Brent Elliott
If you want to know what to do with roses, my friend Vladka over at Simply Beyond Herbs put together some ideas for you.
We’ve reached the end of 31 Secrets on Growing Roses. I hope you enjoyed it.
Let me know in the comments below how you liked 31 Secrets on How to Grow Roses.
Be sure to join the Creating a Cozy Life group. You’re not going to believe how amazing it is!
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Thanks for stopping by. I’m so happy you found us!
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