Who doesn't enjoy Roses?  They smell wonderful, the flowers are beautiful, and they add that perfect touch of elegance to your garden.  But when it comes to caring for them, all the differing viewpoints and opinions can leave you in a quandary.  Here at Willson's Garden Center, we enjoy rose bushes and we hope the tips provided below will help you enjoy your rose bushes as well.

Roses can be used as a flowering shrub in your landscape or as the perfect filler in your rose bed. Some varieties take a little extra work but the reward is well worth it. The following tips take the guess work out of caring for your roses and will help you draw the best from your rose bushes.  

If you cannot plant right away, keep your roses well watered as they dry out quickly in their pots.  They require a good soaking each day, sometimes twice a day if it is hot and windy.  

Roses flower best when grown in sun all day long and planted in good, rich garden soil. Improve your soil by adding peat moss or a 50/50 blend of peat moss and top soil.  Adding extra peat moss at planting will get your roses off to a faster start and make it easier for you to keep them growing strong.

Planting and Watering Your Rose Bushes

Begin by digging a hole twice the size of the pot and half again as deep, and put a 50/50 blend of peat moss and top soil in the bottom.  Gently remove the pot and place your rose in the hole so that any graft is covered by 2" of soil.  Fill around the roots with the blended soil, firming it gently to eliminate air pockets.  Build a rim of soil forming a basin 18-24" across so that the water is concentrated at the root zone.  Keep grass and weeds from growing within 18-24" from the base of your roses.  Cypress mulch helps keep the weeds at bay.

Roses grow best with good even watering.  Water deeply when the soil at the base of your roses starts to dry slightly, usually a couple times a week in the early season and more often during hot, dry weather. Remember to keep watering your roses into the fall.  They still need plenty of water even though the weather is cooler.  With good care, your roses should bloom all summer and into the fall.


Fertilizing Your Rose Bushes

Fertilize your roses with a granular rose fertilizer several times during the growing season or use Miracle-Gro® every 2-4 weeks.  There is no need to fertilize past the middle of August as roses need this time to slow down for the coming winter. 
One of the best granular fertilizers is Bonide's Guard & Grow. This ready-to-use product combines a fertilizer with a systemic insecticide which helps protect your roses against common insect problems.  We carry Gaurd &  Grow in-store so you can pick it up along with your favorite rose bush.

Pruning Your Rose Bushes

Roses benefit from pruning at several times during the growing season.  The first pruning can be done early in the Spring, after the new growth has appeared.  Prune off any brown or black branches, making sure to leave those tender new shoots. 
After your roses begin to flower, the faded blossoms can be pruned back to the first leaf with five leaflets.  This pruning combined with good even watering and fertilizing will keep your roses blooming strong all summer and into the fall.


Winterizing Your Rose Bushes

Preparing your roses for winter gives them the extra help they need to survive tough Northern Michigan winters.  It is best to cut the bushes back to 18" tall and then cover the bases with peat moss 14-16" high.  This will provide insulation for the tender graft and canes.  You can use rose collars to keep the peat moss from spreading out when placed on your rose bushes.  In the Spring, this peat moss can be worked into the soil providing good organic material for another season of growing.
Our Easy Care™ Roses generally do not need any special preparation for winter.  If you are unsure if your roses need protection for the winter, please stop in to see us at Willson's Garden Center or call us at 231-347-3366 we are always happy to help.