Envision your dream rose gardenDean Fikar/Shutterstock
“Before you embark on planting a rose garden, you should ask yourself what you want them for,” advises Steve Bender, who writes the “Grumpy Gardener” column for Southern Living. There are hundreds and hundreds of different types of roses, Bender explains. Some bloom all season, and some just once a year, so if you’re looking to fill your house with fresh cuttings, then you’ll want roses that rebloom. Some roses fill a garden with perfume; some are as scentless as Formica, so if you’re looking for scented roses, make sure that’s what you choose, Bender advises. Here are 18 tips for growing gorgeous roses.
Then ask yourself what a rose garden wants from youBuslik/Shutterstock
Roses have needs, advises Bender, and if you’re not prepared to meet those needs, you really should consider planting something other than roses (he’s the “grumpy” gardener, after all). Those needs include:
- Lots and lots of sunlight. If you don’t have a spot with exposure to at least six hours’ worth of unfiltered sun per day, then you really should consider planting something other than roses. That said, easterly exposure is sufficient, according to Jim Luce, the Grounds Supervisor for Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. In addition, roses require protection from harsh afternoon sun, says Amy Enfield, PhD, Consumer Horticulturist & Content Specialist at Scotts Miracle-Gro. So ideally you’ll want to situate your rose garden where it will fall under at least dappled shadow during the harshest sunlight hours (generally regarded to be between noon and 2 p.m.).
- Well-drained soil. Although roses are thirsty, as Bender says, they don’t want to be hanging around with wet feet, so your soil should be well-drained.
- Fertile soil. Roses are hungry too, according to Bender, and that means they prefer fertile soil that contains oodles of organic matter such as composted cow manure, chopped leaves, soil conditioner, and ground bark.
- Good air circulation. It’s important that your rose garden gets good air circulation (try to find a spot that’s open to breezes without being windy) because, as Dr. Enfield says, roses can be prone to fungal problems.
- The right space. Also, make sure that the roses you’re planting will fit into the area that you’ve designated. Check what height the roses will mature to, suggests Bender. “You don’t want to plant a larger growing variety in front of a less vigorous variety to avoid shading out the smaller variety as they mature.”