Roses tend to have the reputation of being a hard-to-care for plant and many gardeners shy away from growing them. By meeting some basic needs of roses and with a little regular attention, your will find growing and caring for roses to be relatively easy, lending lasting beauty, color and fragrance to your home garden throughout the summer. Do not let caring for roses be a thorn in your side; follow these easy steps and enjoy the rewards of your efforts.
Grow a rose bush in a sunny location where it will receive full sun daily. Roses also like well-draining soil, so before planting, amend your garden soil if necessary with peat moss or compost.
Water your rose consistently so it receives 1 inch of water weekly. Soak the soil to a depth of 6 inches using a drip irrigation system or soaker hose, and feel the soil before watering to be sure the top 2 inches have dried out.
Feed your rose three times per year. The first time should be in the early spring as soon as the leaf buds appear; the second, once the first blooming begins; and the third, in late summer, but no later than August. For each feeding, use one tbsp. of a high-phosphorus fertilizer, 5-10-5, per plant working into the top 4 inches of the soil; water well. Phosphorus is the second number on the fertilizer bag and encourages plenty of blooms.
Prune the rose in early spring when the leaf buds swell, but before the first blooms. Cut back dead wood and/or weak growth, such as canes smaller than the diameter of a pencil, to the ground and shape the rose bush by cutting healthy canes back 1/3. Throughout the growing season, cut off old blooms as soon as they die to encourage new growth. Stop cutting off blooms in early fall to signal to the rose that it is ready to go dormant.
Apply a 2-inch layer of mulch around the rose in early spring before the blooming begins. Mulch such as shredded bark, chopped leaves or wood chips help reduce weeds and maintain the moisture in the soil.
Check your rose often for pests such as aphids or red spider mites and treat by picking off of the leaves and wiping the leaves down with a damp cloth. Apply rubbing alcohol to the pests using a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to kill immediately. Check the foliage for fungus and immediately cut off the affected leaves to keep from spreading. Treat with a fungal spray available at your local gardening store.
Provide winter protection by applying a 3- to 4-inch layer of straw around the rose after the first frost. Add a few inches of top soil over the straw. Then place a burlap sack over the entire bush filling the inside with straw to insulate from the cold weather and winds. Tie the burlap closed with twine or clips.Remove in late spring after the last frost.