7 Tips for a Bumper Crop of Roses this Summer
Grown with Care
If you are planting a new rose always choose a plant from reputable grower. Look for a rose in a tall pot –roses have long roots so if you see a rose in a shallow container then steer clear because its roots may have been bent upwards and will never recover. Look for plants that have at least three decent-sized, strong branches emerging from the base and are open in the centre (akin in shape to a wine glass).
We deliver rose plants throughout the UK, hand-tended and grown in our South Downs Rose Paddock. Each of our rose plants will have been carefully grown by Rob, our farm manager, so if you are buying from us then you can rest assured that the rose you are buying has been given the best possible start.
If you are growing roses for the first time or would like to grow roses as cut flowers then take a look at Chandos Beauty. Our founder Rosebie describes Chandos Beauty as her ‘perfect child’ as it is easy to grow and has it all in terms of colour, shape and scent.
Let the Sun Shine
To help your rose to thrive, plant it in a sunny position – with at least four hours of sunlight a day. For most roses the sunnier the better, but in very hot areas some shade when the afternoon sun is at its height may be beneficial. You also want to make sure that the rose has enough space to spread its roots so do not plant it too near a tree, hedge or other large plant.
If you only have a shady spot then all is not lost. Rosebie’s top choices for roses that tolerate more shady conditions are Blush Noisette, Iceberg, Alfred Carrière and Zéphirine Drouhin.
In her popular gardening workshops, Rosebie has taught hundreds, if not thousands, of gardeners how to prune roses. So often gardeners are reluctant to tackle their favourite roses with a pair a secateurs but it is essential if you want a bumper crop. The ideal time to prune your roses is in February / March, at the end of their dormant season.
Keeping your roses well fed will ensure they produce more glorious blooms and will also help to create a stronger, healthier plant with better resistance to pests and diseases. When planting and in spring (late March / early April) put a handful of fertiliser round each rose (Rosebie recommends Vitax Q4), followed by a mulch of well-rotted manure or compost, being careful not to let it touch the stems directly. Feed your roses again after their first flush of flowers to promote a healthy second flush.
Mulching (adding compost, manure or small bark chippings) around the base of the plant will provide some protection for your rose, help retain moisture and supply valuable nutrients that help your rose to thrive. Before mulching remove any weak stems and water your rose. Apply a good couple of inches of mulch in a circle that is equivalent to the spread of the plant when it is in full bloom. Rosebie recommends mulching in spring (late March / early April) and again in autumn (late September / early October).
Pick or Deadhead<
A mistake many gardeners make when growing roses is not picking them enough! If you are growing your rose for colour and scent in the garden rather than for cut flowers Rosebie suggests making sure you stay on top of deadheading (removing any flowers that have gone over) to encourage repeat flowering. When picking or deadheading make sure you use a short pair of secateurs to create a nice clean cut.
If it is a dry spring, and certainly once the English rose season is in full bloom, it is essential to keep your roses well watered (especially if it is a rose that has been planted in the last year or so). The aim is to encourage your rose to grow long, strong roots, so rather than watering little and often, Rosebie advises that you give your roses a really good soak at least once a week throughout summer (more if it is really hot). Water in the mornings or evenings if you can and avoid watering in the midday sun. You want to give your roses a really good drench (the equivalent of a couple of bucketfuls) to encourage deep root growth. When watering your roses go gently and aim to water the soil rather than the leaves and flowers.