Roses are hungry plants. Roses are also tasty to hungry bugs and animals, which makes it important to know how to feed as well as the common pests associated with growing them. In order to have the largest flushes of fragrant blooms and healthy plants possible it is important that each plant get the proper food and pest control they require. Many of the problems rose growers face can be prevented by diet and pest control.
What to Feed Roses
Roses require large amounts of food in order to grow properly. Well-rotted manure mixed in with rotting vegetation gives the micronutrients that make roses thrive. Some gardeners swear by adding fish heads beneath the plant roots for healthy foliage and better blooms. A fish based emulsion is commonly employed successfully as an organic method for feeding roses. This fish emulsion is used for foliar feeding as well as directly at the base of the plants. Other fish-based products include fishmeal and fish hydrolysate. Seaweed, kelp, grass clippings, aged livestock manure, vegetable, and fruit clippings are also commonly used in the feeding of roses.
Identifying and Controlling Aphids
Aphids are the vampires of the plant world. They feed on the juices held within the plant stems and leaves. Large infestations may eventually weaken a plant so much that it dies from stress. Aphids produce honeydew a sticky sugary substance that attracts ants. Ants tend to, defend and farm aphids for this honeydew. Insecticidal soaps, oils and handpicking can help to control aphid infestations. The most organic approach is the use of natural predators such as ladybugs will keep aphids under control.
Identifying and Controlling Cane Borers
Cane borers are the larva of certain insects that burrow into plant stems. The larva eat the plants from the inside often times killing off sections of the rose. Heavy infestations can kill the plant entirely. Infected stems may have swellings and when examined closely small holes throughout the stem. Removing the branch below where the larva is will help to control the problem. In severe cases pruning the rose to the ground before the pest reaches the bud union.
Identifying and Controlling Red Spider Mites
Red spider mites look like tiny red spiders and like aphids; they are sap-sucking insects. They can be found all over plants, crowded together on the stems, as well as at the juncture of the leaves and stems. Spider mites can spin a web like structure that looks a bit like an odd real spider's web. Their webs make plants appear to be covered in a fine misty cloud. When large infestations occur roses can wither and die. Controlling spider mites is the same as controlling aphids. Insecticidal soaps and oils work well in killing spider mites.
Keeping Roses Healthy
Roses grow best if they have been well mulched and receive plenty of water. Their soil should never dry out completely but they also need good drainage. Full sun gives the best blooms for most species but many will tolerate partial shade as long as they receive several hours of sunlight a day. Feeding roses every three to four weeks during the growing season will keep them growing and blooming. Consistent deadheading of fading blossoms will continue bloom time as well.