Introduction to Growing Roses for Beginners:
Growing roses is an extremely rewarding hobby that for many people is much more exciting than growing any other plant. There are few other plants in this world that carry with it the elegance and prestige that roses have. Along with that prestige however is also a common belief that growing roses is difficult and not something the average gardener can undertake. This simply is not true!
Many new gardeners get hung up on the hype of roses and they talk themselves right out of a hobby that they might otherwise fall in love with. I have been growing roses for years and I tell new gardeners the same thing all the time…roses have grown on their own in the wild for millions of years before mankind thought to cultivate them. There is nothing that Mother Nature provided for all those years that you can't reproduce in your own backyard today and achieve the same results. Here are a few things you should know about growing roses for beginners.
Growing Roses for Beginners - Types of Roses:
The first thing you will need to decide is what type of roses you would like to grow. There are several classifications of roses that we will cover here briefly. If you want a more detailed article on this subject, see the parent page in this category entitled "Types of Roses".
The first rose type is the Floribunda roses. These are cultivars that are fairly new to the rose family as in they have only been developed in the last century. These are bush type roses that tend to be among the most colorful roses you are likely to find.
The next type is the Hybrid Tea rose which is very common in growing roses for beginners. These are the long stemmed roses that you will often find in bouquets and in florist shops all over. No surprisingly they also are among the most commonly grown.
Now if you cross a Floribunda with a Hybrid tea rose, you will have what is known as a Grandiflora rose. These will generally bloom in clusters of flowers at the end of medium to long stems. They also usually bloom repeatedly over the growing season; a trait that makes them extremely popular.
There are also miniature roses, which are exactly as the name implies, as well as shrub and landscape roses which are usually the taller varieties and sometimes climbers.
Growing Roses for Beginners - Selecting Your Roses:
Now that you have a little understanding of the categories of roses that you can choose from, you will still have to narrow your options down considerably further as there are a lot of roses to pick from. The two biggest considerations you have to think about when selecting roses are 1. The climate or "zone" that you live in, and 2. The growing conditions you have available locally.
The zone that you live in is of paramount importance because it will determine how hot your summers get, and how cold those winter nights get. In growing roses for beginners, every rose you will look at will have a hardiness rating according to zone, so be sure that you choose a variety that can survive the winter in your area. It would be a shame to go through all the effort of growing, only to lose your new roses the first winter due to poor selection.
The site that you have chosen in your yard is also equally important as it will determine whether or not any rose you select will thrive. Roses love a lot of sunlight, at least 6 to 8 hours each day, and soil that drains poorly can lead to disease and rot, so make sure you have a solid location to work with.
Growing Roses for Beginners - Rose Attributes:
You will also discover that many rose varieties are bred to have specific traits that many growers find admirable. One such trait would be disease resistance. This is something that a new grower should absolutely look for when selecting his or her first rose to grow. You can save yourself so many headaches buy just choosing a disease resistant rose, rather than having to fend off various diseases later on.
Drought tolerance is another great quality to look for as a beginner because these roses will be much more agreeable to those hot summer days, and they won't be quite as unforgiving with you if you miss a watering here and there. Some people will tell you that there is no such thing as a rose that is truly resistant to drought. While no rose can survive without water for long periods of time, there are absolutely varieties that can handle short periods with less water than others.
Growing Roses for Beginners - Planting:
Now we get down to the nitty gritty…planting! You are going to find that if you've followed the advice in the previous paragraphs, then most of the guesswork is already done and this part is the fun part. You are going to want to plant your roses in the early spring when the ground thaws. This is about the time garden centers will stock up on roses also. If you ordered bare roots online, soak the root in a water bucket overnight to rehydrate the plant.
Dig a hole that is plenty big enough to hold the roots when fully expanded without causing you to coil the roots. Make a small mound in the center of the hole to place the plant on, and arrange the roots all around so they are not overlapping or twisted. You want the bud union of the plant to be just at the level of the soil. Fill the hole two thirds of the way with a good potting soil and water it thoroughly so the soil can run down around and between the roots. Do not tamp down the soil. Fill the hole and water again, repeating the process until the hole is completely filled. By this point the union bud will drop slightly below the soil level and that is ok.
From there, it is very important in growing roses for beginners that you make sure your roses have adequate water and keep close attention to their condition during the growing season, keeping an eye out for insects or diseases. For more information on caring for roses during the growing season and beyond, see our other article in this category entitled "Care of Roses".
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