Flowerdale Nursery  & Landscaping
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Flowerdale Nursery & Landscaping

             Roses

 

Roses are one of the easiest flowers to grow in Orange County. Unfortunately, many other people in other parts of the country complain about difficulties in growing roses because of poor climate or simply a general lack of horticultural knowledge. Here in Orange County, we can have blooming hybrid tea roses every month of the year.

 

One of the most important ‘tricks’ starts in January. Pruning hybrid tea roses is an annual event, usually done each January to help rejuvenate the bush, encouraging more new growth, which develops the most blooms. If you are not familiar with pruning hybrid tea roses, attend a rose pruning class. Many are offered each January, at local independent nurseries. Hopefully they will teach you the importance of rose structure, proper cuts, spraying with copper (to prevent diseases), and applying a fresh layer of premium mulch.

 

The ‘trick’ is to prune only a portion of your plants at one time.  If you have a dozen or more plants, it is easy to choose the three or four with little or no bloom left by the New Year. Prune these ‘ugly ducklings’ the first week of January. Three to four weeks later, choose the next batch of plants with the fewest blooms left.  The last batch can be pruned in mid to late February. By now, the first batch you pruned in early January has leafed out and is beginning to form buds.

 

In February, start feeding roses on a regular basis. Be sure to follow the label instructions on the quantity and frequency of the applications. Be sure to water thoroughly after feeding with any dry fertilizers. Do not cultivate the soil under any roses. Rose roots grow very near the surface underneath the mulch and cultivating will only do more harm than good in breaking these roots. In spring, most roses can use an inch of water each week, but water according to the weather, not the calendar.

 

In March, continue to feed and start spraying on a preventative basis for insects and diseases. In April, May and June, feeding, watering and spraying are an ongoing responsibility.  Removing spent flowers still seem to mystify rose growers as they try to remember something about three or five leaflets. Forget all the confusing rules you have heard before and remember this: The best flowers come from the strongest canes. Simply prune down to a pencil-sized stem, cutting just above a leaf pointing out and away from the center of the plant. This old flower may have a stem one or two feet long! This type of pruning throughout the season will ensure new flowers on long, strong stems all year. In addition, in June, the mulch should be renewed to its original two to three inches thick before the hot weather of summer arrives.

 

In July, August and September, few if any sprayings will be necessary. Increased watering, with the increased temperatures, will become routine. The feedings and the pruning of spent blooms are, by now, customary.

 

In October as the weather cools, watering will decrease and spraying may increase with the damp, foggy conditions.  Feeding now and in November will ensure Christmas and New Year’s blooms.  Usually, by October, you should know exactly which plants have done extremely well and which plants have performed poorly.  Now is the time to order new roses for the New Year! Plan on replacing the old spindly, disease-ridden bushes you have tried to baby along. By choosing wisely, you can reduce or eliminate many sprayings in the coming year. When you order, insist on top-quality, disease resistant roses from a reliable grower.  Spend the extra money - it is worth it!

 

In December, rose planting can begin, as roses are available. Another ‘trick’ is to plant two or more of the same variety. Plan to prune these at different times each New Year as discussed in January. This will ensure more of your favorite flowers.

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