Roses are the iconic flowers of history representing beauty, love, and even war. Roses have been around for a long time, a legendary flower, whose fossil evidence dates to 35 million years in the past. Most experts agree roses were first cultivated by man around 5000 years ago in ancient China. Throughout history, roses have been used as medicine, for perfume, and in celebrations. Though their popularity has risen and fallen throughout history, today roses are experiencing a renaissance among homeowners, particularly in Florida where they grow easily and heartily.
Roses are an ideal choice, not only for their delicate scent and glorious color, but also for the immense variety. Roses offer up a multitude of colors, sizes, and types. From miniature roses to climbing roses, there is a rose for virtually every space. And whether you are a seasoned gardener who doesn’t mind providing TLC or a novice who hopes for a hardy rose that can thrive in spite of you, there is a rose which is perfect for you.
Choosing Your Roses
Roses offer lots of options, from classic full size bushes to miniature varieties, to climbing roses. While full size roses are the ones which you are most familiar, miniature roses have small flowers but deliver big impact in the widest variety of colors. Keep in mind, miniatures love the sun and grow best outside, but they need to be front and center in your garden beds because they only reach a maximum height of 24 inches. Climbing roses are another wonderful option. While they are called ‘climbing’ you’ll have to train them to ‘climb’ on trellises, fences, and arbors. Offering up single or double blooms in a variety of colors, climbing roses grow well in Florida with many blooming year-round.
Planting Your Roses
With most roses, planting them together will add to the aesthetics and make caring for your roses simpler. Keep in mind when choosing your location that your roses will need a minimum of six hours of sunlight each day and plenty of room to grow. You’ll want to offer your roses lots of water and fertilizer as well to bloom. Roses grown in containers can be planted at any time, while bare-root roses should be planted in December and January for best results.
Fertilizing Your Roses
You will want to choose a rose fertilizer which contains the needed micronutrients for your roses. Controlled release or organic fertilizer provide slow-release of nutrients. Fertilizer should be applied monthly year-round here in South Florida. During the summer, smaller amounts applied every two weeks works best so nutrients remain plentiful during summer rains. With the selected fertilizer, read and follow label directions for fertilizer amounts.
Pruning Your Roses
Nearly all roses require pruning annually, and in South Florida you may find your roses need pruning twice a year. Your pruning should remove dead branches as well as any unhealthy branches. Mature branches (canes) should be shortened up to one-half, and other branches can be removed to keep your plant looking its best. Your pruning cuts should be done smoothly above dormant buds or at a joint. In addition, keep your flowers removed as needed.
Cutting Your Roses
Roses make beautiful cut flower for your home. To keep your roses healthy and looking beautiful inside and outside, when cutting your roses, follow these helpful tips. Chose the bloom you want to cut and make your cut ¼ inch above a leaf with five leaflets, allowing your plant to recover quickly and develop a healthy new shoot in the future. When cutting, use sharp shears designed for pruning and wear gloves to protect your hands. Clean your shears with alcohol after each cutting.
Once you cut the roses, place the stems in a container or warm water. When you’ve gathered enough for your indoor arrangement, bring them inside and place them in your chosen vessel filled with water and a preservative for roses.
If you need help with your roses or any landscaping challenges, call on the Xtreme Landscaping team for expert assistance. And stay tuned next month, as the discussion turns to the rose varieties which perform best in South Florida.