by Scott Hill
This month, everything is coming up roses! Wondering how to keep them alive and beautiful? Do not worry! Growing them does not have to be a thorn in your side. Here are some tips on how to care for roses in Houston:
Know What You Are Growing
It is important to know which type of rose you are adding to the garden for the purpose of growing and maintaining it. If you have a sturdy trellis or structure, consider a climbing rose like the Cecile Brunner or the Peggy Martin. Got a large space that you need to fill up? A grandiflora rose like Queen Elizabeth is the way to go. Need something that is cold hardy and for a border? Floribunda roses like the Cinco De Mayo are a great option.
You also want to consider color, bloom size, and fragrance. Roses are not all the same, so it is important to know what you are looking for before putting something into the ground. My personal favorite? Belinda’s Dream—big pink blooms with the sweetest scent. You just cannot go wrong with it.
Planting Your New Rose
Okay, so you have picked out a rose—now what? Spring is the best time of year to get them in the ground. If you choose to wait until summer, that is still okay so long as you give it some extra water and care while it gets established.
Before you start digging, know that your rose is going to thrive best when planted in a raised bed. This will prevent it from sitting in water for too long so it can drain with ease. You also want to make sure you have a good soil mix with compost. You can add a layer of mulch at the top when you are done (I recommend a cedar mulch or pine straw for added acidity).
Fertilizing and Pruning
For newly planted roses, consider using a slow-release organic fertilizer once a month. Just be sure to stop fertilizing a couple months before the first frost. When it comes to pruning, you should cut them back once a year after the last frost. An easy way to remember this is to do it around Valentine’s Day.
Because of Houston’s humidity, the most common ailment for roses is black spot. For treatment, careful pruning of infected areas along with an organic fungicide will help.
Enjoying Your Roses
You have done it! You have planted your own magnificent beauty! Once it is established, it will make an elegant addition to your yard that will last for years. Additionally, they will thrive in cold weather. So do not forget to stop and smell the roses when you can!