To successfully plant your rose bushes, soil preparation is as important as the maintenance that follows. On the other hand, all rose species share common attributes. As such, they need to be placed in a sunny location that is also sheltered from strong and cold winds. In addition, they are all very fragile. In fact, rose bushes are not only subject to numerous diseases, but also to the invasion of harmful insects.

There are 6 major rose bush categories that each have their own specificity. We find the large-flowered dwarf rose bushes, Polyantha and Floribunda rose bushes, climbing rose bushes, weeping rose bushes, miniature rose bushes and shrubs. According to their specificity, the use and location of rose bushes in a garden may vary. For example, miniature rose bushes are planted to be used as borders, or simply to be grown in containers. By contrast, climbing rose bushes are ideal to adorn a wall or a fa├žade while the dwarf rose bushes are primarily used for creating lovely bouquets with their large flowers. Finally, note that the differences between species are also significant in regard to the maintenance they require.

Soil preparation

It is fundamental to prepare the ground at least a few days before planting. First, inquire about the type of soil, keeping in mind that the rose bush cannot bear overly acidic or depleted soils. After digging a square hole, of about 12 to 20 inches (30 to 50 cm) in width and depth, to plant the rose bush, it is recommended to enrich the soil. We can use either compost, manure, horn meal or simply a bit of bone meal. Then, a thick layer of loose soil will need to be placed on top of these fertilizers to avoid direct contact with the roots. In case the soil is too wet, a layer of sand will need to be added before inserting the fertilizer. Depending on the species of rose bushes to plant, the distance between the planting holes will vary between 20 inches and 10 feet (0.5 m and 3 m).

Planting rose bushes

In case the rose bushes are bare-rooted, the damaged roots will need to be removed with clippers, while the remaining roots will need to be shortened by 8 inches (20 cm). These will then need to be soaked in fresh water and coated with a thick mud-like mixture generally made up of clay, cow dung and water. Prepared in such a manner, the rose bush can then be placed in the hole that will, in turn, be covered with fine soil. However, if the rose bush is in a container, just make the roots apparent and proceed in the same manner as for a bare-root rose bush thereafter. The species of the rose bush will determine the height of the branch left in free air. For example, a dwarf rose bush or a Polyantha must have a height of about 4 inches (10 cm) while for a climbing rose bush, the height of the tree above the ground should be 12 inches (30 cm). Once the rose bushes are in place, they will immediately need to be watered.

Rose bush maintenance

Like most plants, rose bushes obviously need water. So after planting, they should be watered at least once a week and even more during dry seasons. Notwithstanding, it is preferable to avoid excessive moistening of the leaves and flowers, as this can create areas favourable to the onset of various diseases. In early summer, a supply of fertilizer at the base of the rose bush is also recommended after breaking the soil crust around the rose bush and leaving the water running. To avoid abundant use of widely different chemical pesticides, it is best to prune rose bushes on a regular basis. Indeed, this remains the best way to eliminate disease and insect invasion.

Certain rules need to be followed to prune rose bushes. The branches that intersect need to be cut so that the buds likely to grow outwards are favoured. The clippers used for pruning should be carefully sharpened and disinfected. The cut should always be made obliquely so that the inclination is opposite the bud. The shoots that have neither the same thorns nor the leaves as the rose bush will need to be removed along with the diseased branches and leaves. To reduce the spread of disease, it is also advisable to use Bordeaux mixture once the pruning and removal of the rose bush’s diseased branches and leaves is done.

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Published in Flower guide by Alexander on 06 Jul 2011