Roses can be finicky plants, but you can maximize the blooming potential of your roses by following the basic tenets of rose culture and maintenance. Here are six ways to get more rose blossoms for your flower arrangements.
1. Before You PlantYou can affect the future blossoms of your rose bush before the plant even goes in the ground. Pamper your roses by placing them in a garden spot that is:
- Well-draining: Test the future garden site of your rose bush by digging an 18-inch hole and filling it with water. If the water hasn’t drained away after two hours, consider building a raised bed or choosing a different site.
- Sunny at least six hours a day: Roses need direct sun to generate the energy necessary for abundant blooms. Diseases and pests plague roses weakened by shady conditions.
- Amended with compost and peat moss: Excavate an 18-by-18 inch-planting hole, and backfill the hole with a mix of 50% garden soil and 50% compost and peat moss. This lightweight soil blend encourages the development of feeder roots.
2. Plant Reblooming Rose VarietiesGardeners seek out heirloom roses for their hardiness and renowned fragrance, but old rose varieties don’t rebloom as reliably as their descendants. Top choices for roses that rebloom profusely throughout the growing season include:
- Bright Melody: A red shrub rose
- Carefree Delight: Hardy and low maintenance
- Danae: Very fragrant
- Fairy Moss: A miniature choice
- Graham Thomas: A climber with peony-like blossoms
- Knock Out: Available in red, pink, and yellow
3. Deadhead Rose BushesLetting roses form hips, which contain seeds, is a signal to the rose bush that the growing season is finished. Removing spent blossoms signal the plant to produce more blooms in its effort to make seeds. Cut the spent bloom back to the first cluster of five leaves to keep the plant bushy and compact.
4. Disease ControlBlack spot and mildew do more than disfigure rose bush leaves and cause leaf drop: these diseases weaken the entire plant, taking away the energy needed to produce bountiful blooms. As the season progresses, and temperatures and humidity increase, most roses will experience some signs of disease. Control disease by:
- Spraying at the first sign of disease
- Keeping leaves dry
- Removing dead or diseased foliage
- Controlling pests like aphids that spread disease
5. Pest ManagementPests decrease the bloom count on roses in two ways: by weakening plants, and by eating the blossoms themselves. A systemic pesticide, like acephate, protects tender new growth from aphids, mites, thrips, and whiteflies. Organic options like neem oil or insecticidal soap are options for rose bushes adjacent to vegetable gardens.
6. Rose FertilizersRoses are heavy feeders, and roses that bloom throughout the season need at least three fertilizer applications. A balanced, 10-10-10 fertilizer provides nitrogen for healthy foliage, phosphorus for vigorous roots, and potassium to promote blossom formation.
You should apply the first fertilizer application as the plants begin to break out of winter dormancy. Two more applications in mid-June and mid-July keep the flower show going. Stop fertilizing in August to allow the plants to prepare for dormancy.
Organic Rose Fertilizer
Roses are heavy feeders, so the compost application that satisfies most other perennials in the organic garden won’t be enough to fertilize the high-performing rose bush.
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Fishmeal, dried blood, and cottonseed meal are two excellent sources of nitrogen for roses, ensuring healthy leaf production. An application of bone meal at planting time provides phosphorus for root growth. Finally, greensand and phosphate rock help ever blooming roses keep up the flower show.
SOURCES: http://flowers.about.com/od/Flower-Gardening/tp/6-Ways-To-Get-More-Blooms-From-Your-Roses.htm, http://flowers.about.com/od/OrganicFlowerGardening/a/How-To-Grow-Organic-Roses.htm