Roses are one of the most popular plants to grow in gardens. There are many types to choose from, with mini patio roses, rambling roses, and shrub roses. When growing roses, there are certain jobs to do throughout the year to ensure you’re growing the best roses. Here are my top tips for each month…
The first month of the year is the best time of year to start pruning all your roses including shrub and patio roses. This is whilst they are dormant and before new growth starts to appear in the spring.
It is also the time to plant bare root roses. When doing so, remember to bury the graft union about 5cm below the soil line.
Though it’s best to do this in January, it’s still not too late to prune any of your rose types.
Mulch around the base of roses, ideally to a depth of around 10cm. This will help to protect the roots, aid water retention, and aid drainage too. Mulching can be done with well-rotted manure, compost, leaf mould or bark chippings.
If you didn’t mulch in February, this can be done now. Apply a 10cm deep layer of mulch around the base of all your roses.
Your roses will now be coming out of dormancy, so it is a great time to apply a high nitrogen fertiliser to encourage top growth, and provide a wealth of valuable nutrients.
As it gets to the end of the dormant period, this is the final optimum time to plant bare root roses.
As we head further into spring, April is when your feeding regime will be becoming more frequent. Use a granular fertiliser, carefully following instructions on the packet for the best results.
Climbing roses such as ‘Paul’s Scarlet’ can be used in these months to support runner beans which can be sown from April to June.
Companion plants such as sage and yarrow can either deter pests or draw them away from your roses to protect them from damage.
This month, the first flowers may start to appear on the earliest flowering varieties. Roses such as, ‘Compassion’, ‘Double Delight’, and ‘Blooming Marvellous’.
Check the soil around the base of the roses. If it’s dry, apply water to the base because roses love rich, moist soil.
Leftover banana peels can come in handy as a source of food for your roses due to the high levels of potassium within them. You can place a couple at the bottom of each rose, which will help to support the plant’s immune system.
This is the month when most roses are at their peak, flowering wise. Start to deadhead as the flowers die, as this will encourage repeat flowering of most modern hybrid varieties.
If you have vigorous plants like geranium and catmint growing in the border, ensure they haven’t started to overwhelm any of your rose plants .If necessary, prune them back away from the base of the roses.
Keep checking that the soil around the roses is moist. If needed, water at the base of the plant.
Look out for evidence of pests and diseases like rose black spot.
Visit gardens famous for their roses to get inspiration for roses that you might like to add to your flower borders.
If it’s been a ‘good year for the roses’ and they’ve been producing lots of flowers it’s ideal to give them another granular fertiliser feed between late June or early July.
Keep checking for vigorous plants that might be starting to smother the rose plant. These can be cut back as needed.
It’s always inspirational to look at other gardens for inspiration. In particular, make a note of annuals, biennials and perennials planted with their roses. This can encourage you to add new plants to your next year.
During summer it’s the key time to check the soil at the base of the plant. If it’s dry, water it first thing in the morning to give it the moisture it needs. Otherwise, watering early evening in warm conditions attracts slugs and snails who love dark, warm, moist conditions. Although these pests don’t affect roses, they can cause havoc with other plants growing with them.
Keep dead heading and watering when needed.
Walk around the garden and have a good look at the roses. If any have really struggled to grow and flower well, take pictures so you can identify any issues and gain specialist advice as to whether the rose should be moved, removed or rejuvenated.
Keep a look out for rose black spot infected leaves falling from the plant. Then, any fallen diseased leaves can be disposed of in recycling bin – not your compost pile.
If the weather’s been dry and your roses have a lot of other plant competition around them keep a look out for signs of powdery mildew. This is a white powdery mould on leaves, buds and shoots. Leaves may curl and fall and buds with the disease may not open properly. Climbers against the base of a dry wall are particularly susceptible.
If you notice signs of powdery mildew keep other plants from smothering the rose so that the plant has good air circulation around it and keep the soil moist.
Many repeat flowering varieties such as the English Roses, Hybrid Teas and Floribundas will be flowering again now. Keep deadheading in the hope that the weather will be conducive to the plant producing more flowers.
Check to see if the varieties you are growing produce hips in the autumn. If so, leave some spent flowers as they may produce striking colour hips that can last well into the winter.
Roses may still be in flower. So if this is the case, stop deadheading.
Order bare root roses because they’re generally much cheaper than container grown ones. As a result, popular varieties tend to sell out quickly.
If you’re planning on planting more roses, then now’s a good time to prepare the ground for planting. Then you’re ready for bare root season to start next month.
Bare root season starts. Always keep the bare roots covered and prepare the planting holes ahead of planting to minimise exposure of the plant’s roots to the air.
If you haven’t been able to prepare the soil for planting when your bare root roses arrive, plant them in a temporary position somewhere in the garden until you’re able to plant in their final position.
You can continue to plant bare root roses provided the soil isn’t frozen or waterlogged.
This might be a good opportunity while your roses are dormant to plan out your rose garden for the next year by measuring the space you’re going to need.
With this handy rose calendar, you can add rose care to your monthly list of things to do in the garden. When it comes to growing roses, you want to grow the best and these tips are sure to keep your garden full of healthy flowers and foliage.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
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