Growing roses is often thought to be a labor of love. The fragrant flowers are much beloved in bouquets and arrangements, but are often thought to be difficult to grow. On the contrary, roses do not have to be labor intensive. When planting in the right location and given a little regular care and fertilizing, roses will flourish in most home gardens.
Roses fall into seven general types: shrubs and landscape, hybrid tea, miniature, climber, floribunda, grandiflora and tree roses. Within each types are several species, making dozens of possible choices for growing roses. Roses are also available in many different colors, including red, white, pink, yellow and orange.
If you are going to plant roses in your home garden, there are a few things to consider first. To start, roses need a sunny location, one that gets at least four to five hours of full sun each day. Also, it's important not to plant a rose bush where another bush was planted previously. Finally, roses will grow best in a slightly acidic soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.
Roses should be planted in the spring, when the ground first thaws after the winter freeze. Before planting, soak your bare-root rose bush in water for four to 24 hours, making sure the roots are entirely submerged. When you're ready to plant, start by digging a large hole about one and a half feet wide and one and a half feet deep. Place the plant in the hole, making sure the root system will be 1 or 2 inches below the surface, and refill the dirt and pat it firmly. After planting, be sure to thoroughly water it so it can begin to establish its roots.
After planting, roses will require about 1 inch of water per week. If you are experiencing a dry spell, be sure to water your plants at least once each week to make sure they stay moist. Fertilizing is also important when growing roses. Several fertilizers on the market are designed specifically for roses. A good schedule to follow for fertilizing is to start by feeding the plants in the early spring. In the summer, fertilize monthly, stopping about six weeks before the average date of the first frost in your area.
Roses are not hardy in cold temperatures and will need to be protected in areas where the temperature falls below 5 degrees Fahrenheit. To start, cut back the plants each fall after the first hard frost. A good rule of thumb is to prune them to about 2 feet in length. After pruning, tie the canes together so they are not damaged in the wind. Finally, pile 8 inches to 12 inches of mulch or other organic matter on each plant to protect it from freezing temperatures.