It is essential that you have adequate knowledge in order to grow roses successfully. At the same time, as soon as you decided that you want to grow roses, you need to think about the various details related to growing these plants, including deciding the place where you want to grow these gorgeous flowers. Perhaps, this will be among the most important decisions that you need to take before you start growing roses. The place where we live will help you to find out the common weather conditions prevailing in your region as well as the number of hours your plants will be receiving uninterrupted light everyday. It is worth mentioning here that the particular place where you live will have a major impact on your garden. Precisely speaking, different sites have different types of soils, general exposure to wind, air circulation as well as the site’s position vis-à-vis the sun. To some extent the last aspect, however, depends on the size of your garden.
If you are residing in an urban location, your garden site may be affected by changing elements like light conditions and air quality. These restrictions are such that you are unable to alter them or have any control over them. On the other hand, there are several micro sites within your site. To some extent you can change the quality as well as amount of light received by your rose by altering the position of the plant within the site. Shifting the plant’s position will also help you to alter its wind exposure, high and low temperatures, water drainage system as well as the composition of the soil.
While looking for the right place to dig a planting hole to grow your roses, you need to bear in mind that roses require sufficient sunlight. Various aspects of the plant depend on the amount of sunlight received by it – for instance, the vitality of the plant, flower production as well as susceptibility to various diseases. The perfect site for growing your rose is that which received uninterrupted and full sunlight right from the dawn to sunset. While it is a fact that this facility will not be available in several gardens, you should try and do all things possible to ensure that the plants are exposed to the sun for maximum time. In fact, when roses grow in semi-shaded sites, they generally produce poor flowers and in very less number. On the other hand, roses that grow in complete shade eventually die a slow death.
In addition, sunlight is also necessary for putting off fungal growth. Providing sufficient sunlight to your roses is not only effective in checking mildew or dust, but it is more effectual compared to all the sprays you can apply to your plant.
Another important thing that you need to bear in mind is that the soil conditions may vary greatly even between micro sites. Roses are especially very susceptible to damp soils. The roots of roses will eventually die owing to lack of adequate oxygen if their roots are left in water for a considerable period. As expected, the damp soils are colder during the winter months. While there may be sufficient oxygen for the roots to survive during the winter, it is the low temperature or cold that will result in their death. Therefore, it is very important to ensure that the site has a proper drainage. In case you have no option, but to grow your rose in a damp area, you are advised to set up drain tile to draw away water from the plants. Just packing some gravel or stone chips at the base of the planting hole does not help much in resolving the drainage issue. Unless there is a way to allow the excessive water to get out of the planting hole, the gravel itself will be inundated by water. In such a situation, the damage suffered by your rose will be no less than what it would have endured in the absence of the gravel.
It is worth mentioning here that often the soil texture and its fertility will differ considerably, even if your growing area is somewhat small. Therefore, it is always preferable to select an area having deep as well as very fertile topsoil. In case you do not have such a spot in your garden, or you are compelled to choose any other location owing to certain limitations, don’t be dejected. You should always bear in mind that soil is a substance which can be worked on and improved greatly.
We are aware that the best possible soil pH is at 6.5 on a pH scale (ranging between 5.5 and 7.0). Occasionally, the pH of the soil for growing roses may either be extremely alkaline or too acidic. Therefore, we need to mend the soil so that it has the right pH. Below are a few things that you can do to change the soil pH to your desired level.
Gardeners usually add some type of lime to lessen the acidity of the soil. This is supposed to be the most common practice of reducing the acidity of soil. Generally, they use ground agricultural lime stones. Pulverize the lime stones into very fine particles before adding it to the soil, because the finer these particles are, the more effectual they will be. The amount of lime stone you need to add to the soil in your garden depends on two things – the extent of the area which you have marked for growing roses and the precise current composition of the soil. If the soil has more clay content, it will usually require additional lime stone compared to those that are lower in clay content.
On the other hand, when you have to lower the soil’s pH level or make it more acidic, typically you should use sulfur and aluminum sulfate. Adding aluminum sulfate to the soil for growing roses will alter its pH very quickly compared to sulfur, which works slowly. In fact, in order to change the soil pH, sulfur requires help from the bacteria present in the soil.
When you are adjusting the soil pH, it is advisable that you first apply the additives (in this case, lime stones, sulfur and aluminum sulfate) in small amounts with a view to examine the soil pH a few times prior to adding more of them. Amending the soil will result in an overall change in the pH level. This is something important that we should not only remember always, but also closely monitor the pH level from time to time. If you notice any change in the performance of the rose bushes or see a general change in the color and natural gloss of the foliage, you should know that this is due to some imbalance in the soil’s pH level. This means you need to amend the soil pH level again.
Preparing soil for rose bushes
Having assessed the pH of the soil, you should examine the soil for the beneficial micro-organisms present in it. We have to ensure that the beneficial micro-organisms in the soil remain healthy as this is necessary for breaking down the elements that comprise the food for the rose bushes properly and enable the plants to take them up easily.
When the micro-organisms are healthy, they will be able to force out the pathogens (microbes that are responsible for various plant diseases) from the soil through competitive exclusion. The competitive exclusion process entails the beneficial micro-organisms in the soil reproducing at a faster rate compared to the harmful microbes. In addition, some of these healthy micro-organisms also feed on some of the pathogens. In order to keep the beneficial micro-organisms in their best of health, you will have to provide the soil with organic substances that will help to amend the soil. Below is a brief discussion on some excellent amendments that you can employ for preparing the soil for your roses.
- Alfalfa meal
- This is considered to be an excellent source of nitrogen and is properly balanced with potassium and phosphorus. In addition, an alfalfa meal contains a growth regulator as well as stimulant called Triacontanol.
- Kelp meal
- Kelp meal is actually a slow releasing source of potassium that provided more than 70 vitamins, chelated minerals, amino acids as well as hormones that promote growth.
- Basically, compost is decayed organic substances that enhance the activity of the beneficial micro-organisms and, at the same time, helps to develop the general soil quality.
These three soil substances added with some amount of peat moss form an excellent amendment of the soil for growing roses. You can purchase some very good quality organic compost from the market, which comes in bags. Before purchasing the compost, make sure that you go through the content list to known what nutrients the particular compost actually contains. Alternatively, you may also prepare your compost yourself. These days it is a fairly easy task as you can employ the compost maker kits, which are available at your neighbourhood garden centers.
Roses have a preference for fertile loamy soils that draw off easily. On the contrary, roses loathe their root systems being locked in waterlogged soils. At the same time, the roots should not be allowed to desiccate even for a brief while, as this may kill the plant. Actually, you should try and ensure that the soils for roses always have a good supple moist feel.
It is interesting to note that nature has its own way of letting a gardener known when the soils are appropriate for cultivation. In case you have been successfully preparing soils for rose gardens, earthworms will come to the soil and it is easy to detect their presence. Earthworms are vital for proper growth of plants, as they keep the soil aerated, thereby maintaining the flow of oxygen through the soil. This, in turn, helps to preserve the whole biological process and also maintain a healthy equilibrium. Simply speaking, earthworms ensure that the soil works like a well-oiled machine. In addition to keeping the soil adequately ventilated, earthworms also make the soil fertile by excreting their casting into it. In fact, the presence of earthworms in a rose garden is somewhat like getting free super quality fertilizers for you plants and everyone will certainly like this.
In fact, a well prepared soil for growing roses should ideally comprise 1/3 clay, 1/3 decayed organic substances and 1/3 coarse sand. When these are blended, they provide you with the appropriate soil mix that will be the ideal home for the roots of your rose bushes to flourish in. You can easily identify if the soil has been prepared well, for any good soil for roses will have a light texture and easily pass through your fingers and hands.