The Q&A Archives: Roses

Question: I have two rose bushes that grow out back that seem to attract insects. Their leves seem to shrink into nothing by the end of the Summer, but I can't see anything on them. I tried spraying them and powdering them with insecticides labled safe for the plants, but I still have the problem. Can you help?

Answer: I can provide you with the basics to making and keeping your roses healthy and that may cure whatever problems your roses are having. For some reason, plants under stress seem to attract insect and disease problems. So, here are a few basic guidelines:
Just like people, roses need a few basic things to live: water, food and the right place to set down roots. How well your roses grow depends entirely on the quantity and quality of those three ingredients.

Roses, love water! Your roses should each have the equivalent of at least one-inch of water each week during the growing season. This equates to roughly one gallon of water. So, if it doesn't rain, or rain enough, be sure to give your roses a weekly drink of water. However, make sure that they aren't "standing" in water or their roots will rot. Moist, well-drained soil is ideal.

Consistent moisture is also very important. Allowing the soil to dry out between waterings can adversely affect your plants growth and blossom production.

For a rose plant to achieve its full blooming potential, it needs adequate amounts of basic nutrients. Here's a step-by-step guide that outlines a basic feeding program to help ensure that your roses get what they need to provide you with the show of blossoms that you want.

The basic ingredients in well-balanced fertilizers are nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (NPK). These are listed as numbers on fertilizers labels: 5-5-5. NPK are the building blocks of life for plants. Nitrogen promotes new, green growth; phosphorous helps with root growth, photosynthesis and flower production; and potassium helps to strengthen canes, improve vigor and increase winter hardiness. We recommend using slow-release organic fertilizers to prevent "burning" your roses.

Feed your roses in the spring when they first begin growing and then feed monthly throughout the growing season with a rose food formula available at your local garden center.

As long as your roses are getting their required sun, food and water, they should be able to endure any insect or disease problem.

Good luck with your roses!

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