Roses are some of the most cultivated plants on the Earth. Today’s modern rose has little resemblance to the wild rose that in the past grew where it wished and was sometimes considered a nuisance.
As a highly cultivated plant there are often many rules and recommendations given for the proper care and grow of the rose but there are some basic steps to rose gardening that can always be counted on to help your roses grow properly.
When you first receive your rose plant from the nursery take time to free it from its buds and foliage. If there are shoots trim them as they can be caught by the wind and pull a newly planted rose out of the ground. Examine the roots and cut off any that appear to be damaged or cracked. Do try to preserve the tiny fibrous roots as they are the part of the root system that takes in water and nutrients. If you find that your rose has signs of mildew you can dip it in a solution of potassium sulphide in one gallon water.
The best time to plant your roses is in October. Plant roses in an open space on a south facing slope if possible, but always make sure that they receive sunlight for more than half the day. Dig a hole for your rose that is wide enough to allow you to spread out the roots laterally, but you should need to dig the hole too deeply. Soil should be well mixed with humus, and aged manure, mixed even into the soil that will be under the plants roots. Pack the soil in around the roots so that there are no open spaces next to the roots and really pack that dirt in around the roots by stepping on the soil once you have enough in place to cover the roots. Mound up the ground around the plant’s base about 4 to 6 inches, and this will help keep water in.
Pruning the rose plant is the only way to create new blooms on the plant. Roses tend to be the type of flowering plant that will only create flowers on the new growth and if your rose is all old growth then you won’t have any blooms. Limit the number of shoots on the plant so that it will focus on create bigger, better blooms on the remaining shoots.
Its important to both dust and cultivate the soil around your roses once a week in the summertime. Dust the rose with a mixture containing, nine parts dusting sulphur, one part Arsenate of lead, and some tobacco dust. When dusting the rose remember to apply the powder to the top and bottom of the leaves. Dusting will keep down the insects on the roses.
Roses can be propagated in a number of ways; with seeds, root sprouts, suckers, layers, hardwood and softwood cuttings, budding and grafting. You as the home gardener should only need to worry about propagating the plants with root sprouts, layers and cuttings.
Root sprouts are what they sound like, the sprouts of your roots. You can separate them and transplant them in spring and fall. Layering is simply notching the underside of one of the rose stems and bending it to bury it under the ground. This is done in early summer and by the fall or next spring you should find that its rooted. The rooted stem can be severed and transplanted wherever you wish.
Hardwood cuttings are wood cuttings taken from well ripened wood cut in 8 inch sections. The cuttings are stored over winter in the ground or in sand in a cold cellar until spring when they can be planted. Softwood cuttings are new growth cut from the rose in June and July. Cut a stem with three bud and trim the leaves from the lower two buds and partially the top one. Put the cuttings in a hotbed of sand and keep them moist to encourage rooting. Once they’ve rooted plant the cuttings in a pot and keep them shaded until they develop proper roots.