"The Magnolia State" is known not only for its stately, moss-covered trees, but also for its lush gardens. Short winters and long summers make gardening in Mississippi a delight. However, growing roses in Mississippi can be challenging. While roses love the warm summers, the area's humidity and intense heat can also damage your plants. Choose the right varieties and give them tender care to ensure bountiful blooms.
Choose the right cultivar. Mississippi's heat and humidity are tough on roses, and varieties that grow better in cooler climates will suffer from disease. The Mississippi State University Extension suggests hybrid tea varieties like Chrysler Imperial, Mr. Lincoln or Tahitian Sunset; English rose varieties like Golden Celebraiton or The Prince; floribundas like Iceberg or Lavaglut; shrub roses like Lady Elsie May or Magic Meidiland; and old garden roses like The Fairy or Veilchenblau.
Plant your roses sometime between November and the beginning of February. Planting before spring ensures that your rose plant's roots will be established before the flowering season begins. Roses grown in containers may be planted any time of the year in Mississippi.
Pick a location that receives at least six hours of full sun each day, preferably with light shade in the early afternoon. The site should have good air circulation and well-drained soil. Poor air circulation during Mississippi's humid summers will lead to black spot and other fungal diseases. Work the soil in your rose bed at least 12 inches deep, digging in compost.
Place your roses at least 3 feet apart for hybrid teas, polyanthas and grandifloras. Floribunda varieties should be planted at least 4 feet apart; miniatures at least 1 foot apart. Climbing roses should be placed at least 10 feet apart.
Apply fertilizer formulated for roses every four to six weeks during the growing season. Do not fertilize after August in Mississippi. Mississippi Extension suggests testing your soil's pH (either with an at-home kit or by having the Extension do a test). The ideal pH for roses is 6 to 6.5. To increase your soil's pH, add lime; to lower the pH, use a fertilizer with sulphur or add cottonseed meal to the soil.
Water your roses daily during the heat of Mississippi's summers. Place your hose or watering can at the soil line, so that the leaves do not get wet. Water in the morning to ensure the leaves are dry before nightfall to avoid fungal diseases.
Prune your roses between the middle of February and the middle of March, before the final frost date in your area of Mississippi.