Wednesday, March 7th, 2007...6:31 pm

Growing Roses in the Garden

Joe asks TheGardenLady the following question:

I would like to try to grow roses in my garden. I’ve heard some varieties are very difficult to grow. Can you recommend a variety that is fairly easy and what suggestions you may have to make them look their best?                                                    

Many roses are high maintenance. They generally want a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight. They like nice loamy soil – use your compost for best results. Roses want water, but the soil should have good drainage. And to avoid diseases, try not to do overhead watering. Water the roots not the leaves.  Roses like to be fed nutrients that might be missing in the soil. Roses get diseases – they like good air circulation, need pruning and need spraying for diseases. They attract insects like the Japanese beetle. And deer love to eat roses in spite of their thorns.

That being said, in the last few decades there has been an emergence of new hardier rose varieties and a re-emergence and better availability of the tough old varieties from more than a century past. Some of these roses will bloom with less than 5 hours of sun and many are bred to NOT get some of the worst diseases that roses are subject to – like black spot. One Rosarian told me that the single petaled roses are hardier and can tolerate less sun than the multiple petaled roses.

Most of the hardiest roses are shrub roses. Shrub roses are often planted in parks and need little maintenance. Shrub roses are a large part of the rose family with growth habits varying from low ground cover types to large impenetrable hedge types. You can see shrub roses growing on Princeton University’s campus and  Mediland shrub roses
growing on the Grounds for Sculpture Park in Hamilton, NJ. The shrub type roses are usually very winter hardy and healthy, with the Rugosa’s being completely disease free. Some of the shrubs have an added bonus of colourful fall hip displays . Two tough species of roses for northern gardeners is the Rosa Rugosa and Rosa spinosissima.

Some of the newer trademarked brands of roses that are easiest to grow because they are hardy and have fewer disease problems are the Knockout Rose, the Carefree Rose, the Flower Carpet Rose and Mediland Shrub Roses.

I bought 2 Knockout Roses, single petaled, for my garden three years ago. Knockout Roses were bred to be almost maintenance free and hardy. Their website claims they are the most popular new rose on the market. They have single and double petaled roses but I don’t think they have any fragrance, yet. My red and pink Knockout Roses (I want to buy their yellow rose this year) get mostly morning sun but definitely not 6 hours of sun because a branch of a Sycamore tree hangs over them. They have been blooming their heads off all summer since I planted them. The only spraying I have done is to avoid deers munching on them.  I haven’t seen much black spot and was pleased to have fewer Japanese beetles eating the leaves than neighbors had on their roses. My Knockout roses had blooms, I think, past the first light frosts. People claim that  “there really are so many low maintenance, hardy roses with such stunningly beautiful attributes that no one should fear rose gardening.”

Roses should be planted in the fall or early Spring. However, I planted my Knockout Roses at the end of summer when I bought them. Try to pick a site that gives the roses 5 to 6 hours of sun; though as I said, there are a few shrubs, climbers and Rugosa types that will grow in more shaded situations.

If you must choose between morning or afternoon sunshine, morning sun is better because the morning sun will dry off the leaves, helping to prevent mildew and blackspot.

Roses like to be watered, fed, and have the dead flowers removed – called dead heading – during the late summer. The newer brands don’t seem to need dead heading as much as older varieties.

Roses will tolerate a windy exposed site if hardy varieties are chosen. In the winter, apply a hardwood mulch to protect the rose’s roots from harsh winter conditions.

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  • Just wanted to pop in and say that I think you would enjoy the Double Knock Out Rose in your garden this spring and summer – the double blooms really are a wonderful addition to the garden. I am also wondering (I work with Novalis Plants that Work, the creators of Double Knock Out and Pink Double Knock Out) if you would be interested in receiving some information on these rose varieties from Novalis? Pink Double Knock Out is the next selection – after the great success of the Double Knock Out – but with bright, pink, double blooms that are just gorgeous. Please feel free to e-mail me anytime, I would love to talk with you about these plants (and others).

  • I like the picture that you all take! Ilike roses It’s my favorite flower. thank

    from:sarenah to:……………………

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