How to grow and care for roses?

Plant roses in a well-drained site, protected from strong winds, and receiving a minimum of 5 to 6 hours of sun daily. In cold areas, plant bare-root specimens in early spring: in mild areas, in early fall or late winter. Plant container-grown roses in late spring or early summer.

Buy only quality plants from reputable sellers. Look for the Number 1 rating of the American Association of Nurserymen or for the All-America Rose Selection tag on the package.

Before planting a bare-root specimen, cut back dead or damaged canes to firm, live wood. Trim back damaged or overlong roots. Soak dry roots in muddy water for 24 hours.

Dig planting holes 1 foot deep and across, and spaced 1 foot apart for miniatures, 2 feet for hybrid teas and floribundas, up to 7 feet for climbers and ramblers.

Plant a rose so that its bud union – the bulge above the roots- is at ground level in mild areas, 1 or 2 inch es higher in warm areas, 1 or 2 inches lower in cold. Set a stake for a tree rose before planting it. Mound 6 inches of soil around the newly planted stems to prevent drying. Gradually remove the mound when buds start to swell in spring.

In dry weather, water roses thoroughly around the roots, preferably in the morning, about once a week. Scratch 1/2 cup of 5-10-5 fertilizer around each plant in early spring, late spring, midsummer and, in warm areas, again in late summer (don’t feed during the first year after planting). Soon after the ground warms in spring, mulch with a fresh 2- to 4-inch layer of coarse peat moss or wood chips. (Rake the mulch aside to feed the plant.) Apply a general-purpose rose pesticide and fungicide weekly from early spring to fall, every 2 weeks during hot spells.

Cut off spent blooms to a point just above a strong shoot or an outward-facing bud. Twist off any suckers-shoots growing from below the bud union-at the base. To encourage large hybrid teablooms, pinch off tiny buds below a stem’s central terminal bud. Prune most roses as soon as buds begin to swell in spring; prune climbers and ramblers after flowering.

To protect roses in winter in moderately cold areas, twine straw or ever-green branches through the canes. cover the bush with burlap and tie it with string: mound 6 inches of sail around the base. In colder areas, tie up the canes and mound soil 1 foot deep in and around the bush.