Raising Roses


TheGardenLady received this question from P. S:

A friend is watering roses (I’m sorry, but I don’t know the variety) several
times a week, for several hours at a time, with the hose on full blast, so that
a swamp forms around the rose bushes.  The soil is heavy adobe clay, and we have been having mostly moderate summer weather, temperatures in the eighties.  Is this watering necessary or even helpful for the roses?  Please let me know if any further information is needed.  Thanks for your help.

Most rose plants are demanding plants. Roses are high water use plants. They do like and need good watering but not too much water. Too much water can stress any plant. Keep roses too dry and they fail to thrive; if they are too wet they may succumb to root damage or disease. Keeping soils too wet will also deprive a plant’s roots of needed oxygen.

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Acid Loving Plants

TheGardenLady received this question from Tamara  –

I am looking for a list of plants that love acid soil and are edible – blueberries are one that springs to mind.  Are there others? I need a range of shrubs and smaller plants to go as a border. I’m replacing a camellia that is way too big for the space it’s in, and a couple of other plants in the same area that do well but were neglected by the people who lived here before us.

You have requested plants for your garden that needs acid loving plants. The three most popular acid loving shrubs that comes to mind are rhododendrons, azaleas and hollies. There are dwarf hybrid and species rhododendrons and azaleas and also dwarf hollies if you have a small garden. You can even plant rosa rugosa in acid soil.  A short list of some acid loving plants are kalmia-mountain  laurel, conifers, ferns, hydrangea, magnolias. Not knowing how acid your soil is, included is a list of ph tolerant trees. I do not know where you live, but most of the soil in NJ is slightly acidic and Rutgers has an excellent fact sheet about plants needing acidic soil.

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Vinca Issues


TheGardenLady received this question from John.

I have vinca that I planted about 25 days ago in St.Louis, Mo in a sunny location. The leaves of all 40 vinca plants have turned yellow! What is causing this? I water them daily. Do they need fertilizer? When I planted them, I mulched this bed with cypress mulch.

Vinca plants do not have a lot of problems and love hot weather. They should be planted in well drained soil. Vinca plants do not like a lot of watering. Once established vinca plants need little care beyond watering occasionally. Watering daily is too much.The plants do not want mulch which keeps the ground too moist. Read this about vincas. 
The newer varieties of vinca also need a  judicious amount of fertlizer.   Read this.

Dead-Heading Knock-Out Roses – Is it Necessary?


TheGardenLady received this question from Tracey.
The Knock-Out rose company says that it is not necessary to dead head the roses.  See here.

Deadheading means to remove dying flowers from a flowering plant. The reason for deadheading is to trick a plant into producing more flowers. Plants make flowers to make the seeds for reproduction and when there are seeds, the plant will stop producing flowers. Plants that don’t set seed will continue to bloom longer.  Most plants benefit from having their old, dying flowers removed but it is not necessary for Knock-Out roses that have been created to continue to bloom for much of the summer without any deadheading

The other reason for deadheading the flowers is to make the plant look neater. Though the Knock-Out rose petals fall off cleanly, TheGardenLady finds that the rose bush looks nicer when she dead-heads.  TheGardenLady only dead heads when lots of the flowers have fallen, like after a heavy rain.

So to answer Tracey’s question, No it is not necessary to dead head Knock-Out roses. Easy care is another advantage to raising this type of rose.