The Q&A Archives: Growing Great Roses

Question: What are the ideal growing conditions for roses?

Answer: In general, roses need full sun (8-10 hours a day in summer), and good air circulation. Water them deeply, about 1-inch of water per week. Use 2-3 inches of compost or other organic matter to mulch the root area, to help protect the roots and to retain moisture. During the season remove spent blooms so more blossoms will be produced, and begin feeding in February when new growth appears. You can use an 8-12-4 or 8-8-8 formula of commercial rose food, though a rich, organic soil supplemented with occasional doses of fish emulsion is usually enough for them.

If you're interested in learning more about roses, check out the American Rose Society website at

You have a long growing season so your roses may not go dormant in the winter, but will still need to be pruned regularly to promote new growth and new flowers. Most roses can be cut back to about one-third their size without harming the plant. Cutting them back this far will encourage bushiness and new flower buds. Plan to prune after your plants begin putting on new leaves and stems.

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