Growing Tips

  1. Don't let roses intimidate you. They are just plants and respond to water, fertilizer, sun, and a little attention to disease and pest control.
  2. Be willing to try new things. As long as it isn't detrimental to your health or the health of the plants, give it a try. Why not?
  3. On the other hand, don't try everything all at once. Also, be aware of and prepared for contradictory advice. Find a Consulting Rosarian and follow his or her advice. Try it for one season. Do whatever is suggested by that successful rose grower, or at least be selective and do what seems most practical for you. In the following seasons, experiment a bit more. After a few seasons of growing roses, you will arrive at your own set of preferred practices.
  4. Watch what you read. Often things which appear in local newspapers or magazines are based on what is correct for somewhere, but not necessarily your location. Go visit gardens of local rosarians. If you like what you see, you know that advice will work.
  5. Don't get discouraged. Some seasons are better or worse than others. Even the very best rosarians are disappointed some years. Just do the best you can for your bushes. The rest is up to them and whatever nature has thrown your way.
  6. Visit your roses daily. The best teacher is the bush itself. If it looks happy and healthy, all is well and you feel encouraged to continue whatever good things you are doing for it. Daily visits allow you to spot problems before they get out of hand.
  7. Don't panic over every leaf hole, tear, discolored edge, or petal streak. Nobody's perfect and your roses won't be either. Be satisfied with overall good health, bloom production, and vigor.
  8. Throw out old wives' tales. Many bits of rose "wisdom" have been repeated so often, they are taken for fact. The old "don't let the leaves get wet" is probably the topper. File this and other tidbits not derived from your local consulting rosarian in the same file you use for unwanted child-rearing advice from well meaning friends and family. Don't argue - just smile a lot, nod, and ignore.
  9. When it's time to winter protect, follow the advice of your local consulting rosarians. Our climate is unique in that we don't normally have the heavy snow cover, but have cold temperatures, freeze-thaw cycles, and wind. These will kill a rose that is unprotected. Follow the advice in your newsletter or better still, come to the winterization meeting to see a demonstration of how to winter protect your roses.
  10. Don't take your roses too seriously. They are for your enjoyment! Lighten up!!! Yes, prune, feed, spray, water, pray, and prod, But take time to smell the roses.
  11. Join the American Rose Society in addition to your membership in the local society. The ARS magazines and annual are full of information. You read, you learn, you absorb. Growing roses is a never ending learning experience. That's what keeps rosarians excited about each new growing season.
  12. Share your roses with friends, neighbors, family, even nursing home residents. You'll be glad you did.

Excerpted from an article by A.J. Sparks, The Buckeye Rose Bulletin and appearing in The Rose Mite, edited by Carol Shockley

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Last updated September 12,2008