Treat your Valentine with home grown roses

Rose soleil bourgeons

For all you romantics, here is a dig-and-pot guide on how to treat your Valentine to home grown roses to keep them sweet all year round.

So, instead of buying your beau a bouquet of stems that will only last a week, why not get in their garden tomorrow and plant them a rose garden that will last indefinitely.

And in true East End Gardener style, we’ll also tell you how to grow roses in those concrete backyards many of you may have. If you don’t have the luxury of soil flowerbeds, as most of us urban gardeners don’t, fear not – most roses can be grown successfully in containers.

For those with grass and soil

1. Pick a spot in the garden that sees at least six hours of sunlit a day – roses need plenty of natural light if they are to grow to their full potential.

2. Pick a patch of well-drained soil – good planting soil has a PH level of at approximately 5.5-7.0. You can get a soil testing kit at your local garden centre.

3. You also need a space that is well circulated, as poor circulation can cause fungal diseases.

4. You should soak your bare-root roses in a bucket of water before planting.

5. Now, time to get in the garden and dig a hole approximately 15 inches deep and 18 inches wide.

6. Carefully place the rose plant in the hole and shovel the extra soil around the new plant. The crown of the rose should be about one inch under the soil.

7. Gently firm the soil around the rose plant so it is safely secure in its new home – then water well.

8. In the first three to four weeks after planting you should water the roses regularly – roses need a lot of hydration and food to remain healthy.

9. A quick spot-check for dryness will determine whether a rose needs to be watered. Scratch about an inch down into the soil – if it is completely dry the rose needs watering.

For those with concrete gardens

1. Buy a container large enough to provide ample space for the rose plant roots. And, as previously mentioned, you should pick a spot with adequate light and air circulation.

2. The container can be plastic or clay; plastic containers fare better in cold climates where freezing temperatures may actually crack clay containers. However, clay containers provide a cooler condition for the roots during hot weather. If you do choose a plastic container go for the lighter terracotta colour rather than darker plastics that heat up faster.

3. Place a one-inch layer of gravel at the bottom of the container, this serves as drainage and prevents the soil from becoming too compressed.

4. Combine one-third of good quality commercial potting soil, one-third of garden compost and one-third of well-composted mushroom or steer manure. Roses are heavy feeders and they need fertile conditions to bloom so it would be a good idea to add one cup of bonemeal to the soil, which you can buy from your local garden centre.

5. Place the rose, with its roots spread out comfortably, over the slightly mounded soil.

6. Then fill in around the rose with the remaining earth. The soil surface should be level with the bud union, which is where the rose is grafted onto the rootstock.

7. Fill the container right to the top and water so the contents are well saturated. Containers dry out quicker than soil in the ground so it’s important to water container roses regularly.

8. In freezing winter months it’s a good idea to move roses under sheltered or temporarily indoors. In spring months sprinkle a tablespoon of epsom salts around the base of the plant – this provides the necessary magnesium for healthy foliage.

9. Container roses will last in the same soil for around two years, after that they will need transplanting as they deplete the soil of its nutrients far quicker than if they were in the ground, and often outgrow their containers. In this case you can replant in a container one or two sizes bigger than the previous one.

If you have any questions on planting roses please comment below and East End Gardener will get back to you with some helpful tips.

Photo by gelinh under a CC licence.

By Krystena Petrakas

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