Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spring Rose Care

The next week holds wonderful weather for Florida gardeners to be outside! Mid-February/early March is springtime in our southern state and the best time to prune your roses. I love growing roses and they are easy care but take more time to maintain than typical tropicals.  Roses need full sunlight,  low volume irrigation, and cleanliness.  Without eight hours of sun, most modern roses may survive but won't bloom as much and will be leggy. If you have shade, try antique roses.  Watering roses correctly means that you don't have overhead irrigation hitting the leaves which provides the conditions for diseases.  Low volume, drip irrigation is better with our Florida humidity. Roses need about a gallon of water a week.  You'll find that your rose will stay healthier if they are not en masse' but strategically placed away from the other roses. I have mine located here and there through out the yard.

Separated, pest problems won't spread as easily from rose to rose to rose. Knock Out roses were supposed to be pest free when they first came out, but because of the popularity and mass plantings, have been attacked by epidemic of chili thrips.  Use a slow release systemic rose fertilizer for nutrition, disease and insect control to keep your roses healthy.

Secret to lots of blooms?  Cut back often.  The more you cut roses, the more they will bloom. Now I was always taught to cut diagonally 1/4 inch above a five-leaflet leaf. But Paul Zimmerman, with Fine Gardening seems to have a different opinion.  He does make sense.

My favorite roses are fragrant - why have a rose if you cannot smell its beauty?  Here are the ones that I loved:  Angel Face, Perfume Delight, Double Delight, Abraham Darby, Old Blush, Mr. Lincoln, Scentimental, and Queen Elizabeth. 


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