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Top tips for getting better and more abundant rose blossoms

There’s no more welcome site in summer than the beautiful bloom of a healthy and happy rose.

There’s no better aroma too. The problem many of us find is that rose plants often fail to deliver on early promise, and the result is that we’re often disappointed with the outcome.

So what’s the problem? Well, the simple fact is roses can be finicky plants. They can be tricky to grow, and need lots of love and care. However, you can maximize the blooming potential of your roses by following the basic tenets of rose culture and maintenance.

Here are Ladybrook Nursery’s top tips for getting more and better rose blossoms for your flower arrangements.

Before you plant

  • Make sure the area in which you intend to plant your rose is well-draining, gets sufficient sunshine and has fertile soil.
  • Good drainage: test the potential garden site of your rose bush by digging an 18-inch hole and filling it with water. If the water hasn’t drained away after two hours, consider building a raised bed or choosing a different site.
  • Sunshine: roses need direct sun to generate the energy necessary for abundant blooms. Diseases and pests plague roses weakened by shady conditions. So make sure your chosen rose site gets sunny for at least 6 hours a day
  • Soil composition: ideally you should use a mixture of compost and peat moss. Excavate an 18-by-18 inch-planting hole, and backfill the hole with a mix of 50 per cent garden soil and 50 per cent compost and peat moss. This lightweight soil blend will encourage the development of feeder roots.

Plant re-blooming rose varieties

Although many gardeners choose heirloom roses because of their hardiness and renowned fragrance, it should be remembered that old rose varieties don’t re-bloom as reliably as their newer cultivars. If you’re looking for roses that re-bloom profusely and reliably throughout the growing season, look for roses like:

  • Bright Melody: a red shrub rose
  • Carefree Delight: hardy and low-maintenance
  • Danae: very fragrant
  • Fairy Moss: a miniature choice
  • Graham Thomas: a climber with peony-like blossoms
  • Knock Out: available in red, pink, and yellow
  • Deadhead Rose Bushes

If you let rose hips form (which contain seeds), you are sending a signal to the rose bush that the growing season is over. So remove spent blossoms; this will send a signal to the plant to produce more blooms in its effort to make seeds.  Cut the spent bloom back to the first cluster of five leaves to keep the plant bushy and compact.

Disease Control

Black spot and mildew are nuisances. They do more than disfigure rose bush leaves and cause leaf drop: they also weaken the entire plant and take away the energy needed to produce bountiful blooms.

As the season progresses, and temperatures and humidity increase, most roses will experience some signs of disease. Control disease by:

  • Spraying at the first sign of disease
  • Keeping leaves dry
  • Removing dead or diseased foliage
  • Controlling pests like aphids that spread disease

Pest Management

Pests decrease the bloom count on roses in two ways: by weakening plants, and by eating the blossoms themselves. A systemic pesticide, like acephate, protects tender new growth from aphids, mites, thrips, and whiteflies. Organic options like neem oil or insectidal soap are better options for rose bushes grown adjacent to vegetable gardens.

Rose Fertilizers

Roses are heavy feeders, and roses that bloom throughout the season need at least three fertilizer applications. A balanced, 10-10-10 fertilizer provides nitrogen for healthy foliage, phosphorus for vigorous roots, and potassium to promote blossom formation.

You should apply the first fertilizer application as the plants begin to break out of winter dormancy. Two more applications in mid-June and mid-July keep the flower show going. Stop fertilizing in August to allow the plants to prepare for dormancy.

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