The elegant beauty of the rose has captured the hearts of cultures around the world. The distinct silhouette is unmistakable and timeless. Better still, the rose plant comes in a variety of species and cultivars, making it versatile and appealing to gardeners everywhere. Although they are notoriously tricky to care for, understanding the plant itself is the first step in becoming a successful rose gardener. Whether you live in a temperate climate or a more seasonal area, there is a rose plant out there for you.
Most varieties of rose plants do best when planted in the ground due to their expansive root systems. Varieties that fare well in containers usually require planters that are very tall and wide. Prepare a hole a few inches wider than the root ball of your rose plant. In warmer climates, a depth of 15 inches is sufficient; rose plants in colder climates should be planted 18 inches down to protect from freezing.
Although roses do not like wet feet, they do like to be watered well. Some employ the use of deep watering devices, such as sprinklers underground, which are closer to the root, while others simply water by hand. Whatever method, be sure to drench the plant when the top 2 to 3 inches of soil is dry. Help retain moisture by applying mulch as a topdressing.
Rose plants love to bask in a full day's worth of sun. Don't be afraid to let your roses bake; they'll thank you for it with impressive blooms. Roses receiving less than six to eight hours of sun are usually tall and spindly with no blooms. Although afternoon sun is more intense, morning sun is equally as important as it dries off morning dew — essential for avoiding fungal infections.
Roses enjoy an abundance of organic matter in their soil. Materials like compost and manure are sure to keep your bushes happy and blooming. Although rich, the soil should still remain light, fluffy, and well-draining. Soils that retain too much moisture will invite disease, fungus, and rot.
There do exist a few varieties of rose plant that thrive in containers. Among them are miniature, ground cover, and polyantha roses. Be sure to find a container no less than 15 inches in diameter with as much depth as possible to accommodate the roots. Stick to unglazed ceramic pots, as these help with proper temperature and moisture regulation.
Roses are big feeders, meaning they quickly make use of nutrients in the soil and require supplementation. Rose plants whose foliage returns in the spring should be fed a rose-specific fertilizer at the first sign of new growth. Evergreen species should be fed every two weeks. Most rose plant fertilizers are evenly balanced, somewhere around a 10-10-10 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.
Unfortunately, the rose plant is susceptible to a wide variety of insect infestations. The correct treatment depends on proper identification of the bug in question. As a general rule, prevention is key. Always keep the flowers and foliage dry and the soil well-watered. This will ensure optimal plant health and may help deter uninvited guests.
Black spot is the fungal infection most likely to affect your rose plant. This disease appears exactly as the name suggests — there is no mistaking its distinct appearance. As the disease progresses, leaf death becomes evident. To treat, apply a fungicidal plant spray once a week or every time it rains. Be sure to use a fungicide specifically formulated to treat black spot.
Propagating a rose plant is no easy task, but it can be done with a bit of patience. A word of warning: many roses are protected by patents and cannot be reproduced by the public. Secondly, most commercial roses are grafted onto a hardier rootstock for better survival in colder climates. Propagating a rose plant from a cutting will mean it must rely on its own root system and will not survive colder climates. Take an 8 inch cutting of a stem and create a V-shaped incision at the base. Dip the cut into rooting hormone and plant roughly halfway down its length. Cover the plant with a plastic bag or a jar to retain humidity and moisture. Ensure the soil does not dry out. Once established, transplant permanently.
Rose plants have long been a symbol of eternal youth and beauty. The fruit of the rose plant, the rosehips, has been used for centuries as a medicinal and cosmetic elixir. Rose hips contain phytonutrients believed to ward off chronic illnesses when taken internally. Rosehip oil is one preparation commonly used on the skin to moisturize and reduce wrinkles.