Raising roses requires reasoning and resilience

two pink roses
A “Knock-out®” Rose

With all types of flowering plants available at local garden centers, rose plants are a natural favorite. If well cared for, roses in our area can bloom all year long.  Most roses are not necessarily care-free, but with some prudent selection and sensible maintenance and grooming, growing a rose plant will provide abundant cut flowers and beauty in any setting.

For our area, roses that take the least amount of care would include types that are called “old garden roses” and shrub roses such as David Austin Roses® and the “Knock-out®” series.  Other roses such as hybrid tea, grandiflora, floribunda, and polyantha roses all take more effort in regard to pest management and general maintenance than most gardeners are willing to tackle.  For long-term success with roses, select varieties that have been grafted on to Rosa fortuniana rootstock.  Roses grown on these rootstocks grow so much better and live longer than other roses.  A second choice to ‘Fortuniana’ is ‘Dr. Huey’ rootstock followed by multiflora rootstock which has the shortest life span here in Florida.  There are some rose plants (the older shrub varieties) that are satisfactory, as are dwarf roses, un-grafted and on their own roots.

Roses need at least six hours of sun for best results.  The more sun the better, but if some shade is present, it is best to plant roses so that they receive morning sunlight.  This morning sun will help dry the early morning dew off which will help reduce leaf diseases such as black spot.  Roses like a well-drained soil with some amendments added to improve water-holding capacity.  Now, while generally we don’t recommend adding soil amendments when planting woody plants in the landscape, the rose is an exception which will greatly benefit from plenty of compost mixed into the upper twelve inches of soil over the entire planting bed.   Start a regular maintenance fertilizer as soon as new growth begins.  As a final touch, two to three inches of a good organic mulch will help retain moisture and suppress weeds.  When watering, it is best to apply irrigation to the soil surface so that the leaves are kept dry.

Keeping a rose plant looking its best will involve some regular grooming and pruning.  Grooming is going to involve light and selective trimming such as removing dead flowers – deadheading.  More substantial pruning will occur mostly during March and late August in our region.  Remove dead, diseased, or injured branches as well as some of the healthy growth to improve the plants form and keep the height in bounds.  Expect a new set of flowers eight to nine weeks later.  When cutting a rose for a floral arrangement, cut one-quarter of an inch above a leaf that has five leaflets.

Selecting the right type of rose, the right site, and the right care will equal the “Right Plant in The Right Place”.  “Plan before you plant” but know that you can grow roses in our area which will be the glory of your garden! For more information on growing roses, or to ask a question, you can also call the Master Gardener Volunteer Helpdesk on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 1 to 4 pm at 764-4340 for gardening help and insight into their role as an Extension volunteer.  Ralph E. Mitchell is the Director/Horticulture Agent for UF/IFAS Extension Charlotte County. He can be reached at 941-764-4344 or ralph.mitchell@charlottecountyfl.gov. Connect with us on social media. Like us on Facebook @CharlotteCountyExtension and follow us on Instagram @ifascharco.

Brown, S. P. (2020) GROWING ROSES IN FLORIDA.  The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.


ralph mitchell
Posted: June 13, 2024

Category: Home Landscapes
Tags: Flowering Plants, Roses

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