6 Practical Tips for Mid-Summer Rose Care You’ll Want To Read

When it comes to midsummer rose care, there are several different things to keep in mind.

Containers

If you had the foresight to plant a rose as part of a container gardenlet me remind you that these plants, including the miniatures, are greedy feeders and if you want to see a lot of blooms you will have to feed the plant every week.

Plant food provides the energy to produce those huge blossoms and the extra shoots that produce even more blossoms. I use an organic liquid fish food fertilizer on all my container plants and roses love it as well. You also do not want to let your rose get thirsty.

Remember that if you touch the soil and your finger comes away dry, it is time to water that pot. Continue applying water until water comes out the bottom of the pot to ensure the soil is soaked right to the bottom and no roots are allowed to dry out. Feed and water those containers and you’ll have fragrance this summer but without this essential bit of rose care, your containers will disappoint.

In Ground

If you have roses in the ground, whether it’s traditional rose gardening or a plant here and there, let me remind you that the above two rose care suggestions are equally valid. Feed those roses with a liquid plant food and watch the plant grow.

And remember that blossoms are over 90 percent water so if you reduce the water, you reduce the size and number of blossoms on the plant.

Rose Pruning

Rose flower pruning is one of those dull rose care chores that are necessary in order to keep the rose producing more blossoms, reduce disease in the garden and just keep things looking good. With hybrid tea roses, once the blossoms start to fade, each bloom should be pruned off.

There is some disagreement about how much of the stem to cut off along with the fading rose and while some rosarians suggest only taking a few inches, there is research that suggests cutting at least twelve inches of stem or cane off along with the rose will produce more blossoms in subsequent bloom flushes.

I have always taken the longer stem cutting in the belief that the longer the stem I cut off, the more new buds will develop to produce even more flowers. What is important is that you do remove spent flowers before they become sites for diseases to establish themselves.

Rose Deadheading

Other kinds of roses should also be deadheaded as the flowers are finished blooming and that includes all climbing roses. Suffice it to say that pruning them immediately after they finish blooming is traditional rose care.

Pruning Mistakes

And that brings me to a question I get asked regularly. What happens if I make a mistake with the pruning? The short answer is that this is a plant, it is not brain surgery. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Well, you might kill the plant, but the chances are that the plant will simply grow back and you’ll get another chance to do it correctly.

It is certainly that way with roses. Many of them will simply die over the winter anyway so why worry about a few poor pruning cuts. Do your best and let the plant live with your efforts; you might, however, try taking a book on pruning out of the library next winter.

Black Spot and Rose Care

The last thing that many rose lovers are concerned with right now is the dreaded black spot. This disease starts out as small black spots and these spots enlarge and multiply. The spots go yellowish and the leaves drop off the rose. Planting resistant varieties only delays the inevitable.

Let me suggest that a weekly spray mix consisting of: 3 tsp. baking soda, 2 1/2 tbs. summer-weight horticultural oil, mixed with 1 gallon of water will control black spot enough for the average gardener. Yes, you’ll still see it later in the summer but you’re still going to see it with the expensive, chemical bomb you use as well.

Spray this every week and immediately after rains for complete coverage that will slow blackspot down to a dull and livable roar.

There is also some research suggesting Neem oil can be used  as an alternate spray (spray with the homemade spray one week, the neem the next).

Twist with Powdery Mildew

If your growing tips on your roses are twisted and curled, it is likely you have powdery mildew. You might never see the white powder that is evident on other plants infected with this problem but those twisted leaves are a dead giveaway on roses. Uncurl the leaves to make sure the curling is not an insect making a nest in there and if no insect is present, powdery mildew is the culprit.

Prune off the infected tips and start a weekly spray of the above recipe. Do not water the leaves if at all possible but apply water to the base of the plant.

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How To Get More Roses From Your Own Garden

There is a small trick to growing roses from cuttings

The trick is in when to take the cutting.

With your thumb, gently push sideways against the green thorns on the shoot you are considering cutting.

  • If the thorn bends over and doesn’t easily come away from the shoot, the cutting is too green and it will not root easily.
  • If the cutting fights back and (punctures your thumb) doesn’t release easily, it is too woody and will not root well.
  • However, between these points is a time when the thorn will not bend and will suddenly release from the shoot with a little pop with a medium amount of pressure.

Then you’ll get good results with cuttings at this level of maturity.

Photo by Tiffany Chan on Unsplash

Roughly When Is This?

This time is roughly when the flower buds start to open up on the first flush of blossoms.

What roses can be propagated this way?

I’ve done every kind of rose in this manner — from hybrid teas to hardy shrub roses. It may not be economical for commercial nurseries to do this but if you want roses on their own roots, this is an easy skill to master.

Other considerations

  • I’ve found that spraying rose cuttings with an anti-desiccant works very well to assist in the rooting process. This stops the cutting from losing moisture.
  • I’ve also found that growing roses from cuttings is much easier if I take those cuttings in the morning rather than later in the day. There is less water stress or plant stress early in the morning and a happy plant roots faster.
  • Bottom heat is almost a necessity if you want to see rose roots any time this century. I use a heat mat with a temperature of 72F to keep the shoots warm.
  • I have heard of gardeners who have inserted their rose cuttings in glasses of water and been successful but I’ve never done this and wouldn’t really recommend it for consistent results.
  • But if you have more glasses of water than rose cuttings and you’re only doing one or two cuttings — go for it but don’t count on it.
  • I also use warm water when watering and misting the rose.
  • Roots should appear any time after 4 weeks and sometimes sooner.
  • Do not jiggle the rose cutting around to see if there are roots. You’ll disturb the emerging roots and perhaps kill them.
  • In general, treat rose cuttings like any other tender shrub or cutting. You’ll know you’ve been successful when the rose cutting starts growing new leaves and starts growing into a new rose.

What about growing own-root roses — is it difficult?

No.

They’ll grow just like any other shrub.

Just understand that tender roses are usually grafted to increase their hardiness as well as their flowering so you may have difficulty overwintering tender hybrid tea roses depending on where you live.

In a USDA zone 4, I can root all the tea roses I want but none make it over that first winter. Sigh…

Shrub roses and tough roses grow more slowly on their own roots and may not flower quite as much but you can succeed with them.

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Here are more notes about growing roses.

Growing Long Stem Roses Won’t Work In The Home Garden

Growing long stem roses is something you can do in your home garden but you might find it a bit time-consuming.

It also depends on the weather (which is why most long-stemmed roses are grown in greenhouses).

Photo by Meghan Schiereck on Unsplash

Grading Long Stem Roses

Long stem roses are graded according to the stem length and the bud size. The longer and bigger the better. Once you get into the 24″ length, you’re talking high quality with bud sizes of one inch or more.

Anything less is of lesser quality but still acceptable. Note that growers get paid more if they produce longer stems than if they produce short stem roses.

Two Things You Need To Grow Long Stem Roses

There are two things you need to produce long stem roses.

  • The first is pruning and
  • the second is climate control.

Some rose varieties are more suited for long stem production but the climate and pruning are primary considerations.

  • In pruning, you only allow one bud (the central larger one) to remain on the stem.
  • All other buds are carefully pruned off.
  • This is basic gardening and almost all plants respond the same way.
  • Take off the secondary buds and the main flower bud will get larger.

The Big Problem In Home Gardens

The main key to producing these roses is climate control and this is where home gardeners start to have problems.

Because the production of long stem roses is inside greenhouses, optimum conditions for stem elongation and rose growth can be created.

  • You want to create an optimum temperature of 27C with a relative humidity of 60–70%.
  • Hotter or cooler temperatures will reduce the stem length because of increased stress on the plant. Essentially what you are trying to do is maintain a stress-free environment where the variety of rose can reach its genetic optimum growing size.
  • Carbon dioxide supplementation is one of the grower tools for increasing growth and making the leaves larger and more productive (darker green leaves sell better as well). Without this growth-promoting technique, growing long stem roses is more difficult.

What This Really Means to Backyard Gardeners

In general, it means that it is very difficult to create a florist quality long stem rose in the home garden.

You can increase the length of your rose stems by feeding heavily (compost and weekly fish emulsion feedings) and by pruning off all the secondary buds so each stem only has one flower bud.

But without a lot of extra care, growing long stem roses will likely remain in the hands of greenhouse growers for the next little while.

Having said that, you can grow roses successfully no matter where you live.

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