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Fortuniana Rose

Q: I am interested in growing roses here. What should I know before I get started?

A:Very few gardeners can resist the temptations of the Rose.  For many of us a rose brings to mind romantic memories of warm summer evenings and intoxicating smells.  You see, even I wax poetic at the thought of roses.  Roses come in a variety of sizes, colors, and scents.  They can be in the form of trees, shrubs, miniatures or vines.  Be sure to purchase roses grafted on “Fortuniana” rootstock as it is the most cold-hardy for our area. Plant them in full sun and well-drained, organic soil.  For best results be sure to irrigate them on a regular basis but keep the water off the leaves to reduce fungal leaf spots.  Cut off the fading flowers throughout the blooming season.  January would be a good month to prune your roses in North Florida.   A UF/IFAS publication on growing roses in Florida by Park-Brown:  http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/EP/EP33900.pdf