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19 Tricks to Growing Perfect Roses

These simple tricks will have your garden exploding with gorgeous blooms.

Emma Kapotes/, iStock/Rike_

If you buy a bare rooted rose but can't plant it right away...

Open the container and moisten the roots. Reclose and store it for up to two weeks in a dark place where the temperature stays 35°F to 40°F. Just before planting, rehydrate the roots by soaking them overnight. Here's what different rose colors mean.

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If you buy a rose actively growing in its pot...

It may already be in bloom. Try not to disturb the roots when planting a blooming rose. Cut out the bottom of the container and set the still-packaged root ball into the planting hole. Then slit one side of the container and gently remove it before backfilling the hole with soil that has been amended with compost.

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Always check the drainage

Roses must have good drainage, so check the site if you’re not sure. Dig a hole 18 inches deep at the desired planting spot and fill it with water. If the water is gone within two hours, the site is suitable for roses. If water is still standing after two hours, build a raised bed for your bushes.

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Treat grafted roses with care

They often show a bulge on the main stem just above the roots. In cold climates, plant grafted roses 1 to 2 inches deep to protect the graft union from winter cold. Where winters are mild, plant the roses higher, so the graft union sits an inch or more above the soil’s surface. Prune off any canes that emerge from below the graft union.

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Want early spring color?

Plant little bulbs such as miniature narcissus, grape hyacinth, or crocus 1 foot or so from the base of a big rose. The bulbs will bloom before the rose leafs out. Be sure to let the bulb foliage die back naturally in early summer.

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Here's the trick to a well-shaped rose bush

Carefully check the canes on new roses. If most of the buds appear to face in one direction, place the plant in the planting hole so that the heavily budded side faces north. This trick helps produce a well shaped, mature rose bush, because strong southern sun will stimulate new growth on the other side of the plant.

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Keep roots (not leaves) wet

This will help to retain water around the rose’s roots. In hot, dry weather, roses need an inch of water a week from either rain or a hose. Use a bubbler (available at garden centers) on the hose so the water seeps into the soil around the rose’s roots without wetting foliage; damp leaves invite fungal diseases.

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Test out tea

To give your rosebushes a midsummer boost, tuck old tea bags under the mulch. When you water the plants, the nutrients from the tea will be released into the soil, spurring growth. Roses love the tannic acid in tea. Here are other extraordinary household uses for tea.

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Let your roses sunbathe

Most roses grow best where they get at least six hours a day of direct sun.

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Train climbers young

Climbing roses will flower more profusely if you train them to follow a horizontal line along a trellis or frame while the canes are still young and supple. Forming an arch by fastening the end of a cane to a peg in the ground will encourage even more blooms.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest