Roses are so popular that in 1986 Congress proclaimed the rose as our national floral emblem.

The rose is one of the oldest flowers in cultivation and is still considered one of the most popular garden flowers today. The flower is so popular that Congress named the rose our national floral emblem in 1986. Most modern roses are descendants of eight European and Asian rose species. The elaborate flower shapes and colors of many rose cultivars available today are the result of extensive breeding and hybridization that began in the 1800s.

Many gardeners are wary of growing roses because they tend to have a reputation for being difficult to grow. Many roses are also susceptible to disease and insect problems, requiring a regular pest control program to bloom and stay healthy. This can be especially true for hybrid tea varieties and floribundas and grandiflora types of roses. But if the beauty and fragrance of roses is irresistible to you as a gardener, here are 10 tips for growing roses successfully.

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1. Choose disease-resistant varieties, as diseases such as black spot and botrytis are usually responsible for the death of roses. While resistance does not mean that roses are not still susceptible to disease, it greatly reduces the incidence of disease, especially foliar diseases.

Mike Hogan

2. Find roses in a full sun location which receives a minimum of 6 hours of sun each day. Morning sun is most popular for roses; it helps to dry rose petals quickly, reducing the potential for the development of foliar disease organisms.

3. Plant roses in well-drained fertile soil, as roses need good drainage. Roses can thrive in high clay soil as long as it is well drained. When planting roses in soils with little organic matter, be sure to amend the soil with compost, peat moss or another type of organic matter.

4. Space roses at least 3 feet apart to provide sufficient space for the plants to grow and room for good air circulation, which will also reduce the development of fungal diseases. Do not plant roses near trees, shrubs or lawns, as the roots of roses do not compete well with roots of these plants.

Northern Accents Ole is a hardy shrub rose with double petals.

5. Apply a layer of organic mulch on the ground around rose plants. A 3-inch layer of organic mulch will suppress weeds, conserve soil moisture and moderate soil temperatures. This is especially important as roses have very shallow root systems.

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6. Keep soil moist during periods of dry weather. Roses need a fair amount of soil moisture. Avoid using overhead sprinklers, as wet leaves favor the development of foliar disease organisms. Water the soil, not the leaves, and water deeply once a week rather than repeated shallow watering. Water early in the morning so the leaves have a chance to dry out during the day.

7. Fertilize roses regularly to encourage vigorous growth and abundant flowering. Apply organic fertilizers such as compost or cottonseed meal or an all-purpose fertilizer such as 10-10-10 three times during the growing season. Do not apply fertilizer to roses after the beginning of August to discourage late-season growth, which may be more susceptible to winter damage.

Summer waltz has double-headed curly flowers.

8. Monitor roses constantly for evidence of pests. Insects such as Japanese beetles and rose slugs can quickly damage the leaves of roses. Be prepared to use chemical controls such as pesticides and cultural controls such as picking pests off plants.

9. Deadhead spends flowers to encourage new flowers. Some varieties of landscape roses, such as Knockout roses, do not require deadheading for continued blooms. To promote hardening of roses for winter, stop deadheading in late summer.

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