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How to Start a Rose Garden At Home

Roses are favorable and beloved flowers that hold a symbol of love, romance, and friendship throughout the world. From a single blossom to large bushes and shrubs blanketed with intoxicating blooms, no flower is closer to a gardener’s heart as the rose. Consider creating a rose garden in your backyard and adding color and happiness to your home’s landscape. With these helpful tips, we will show you how to start a rose garden at home, opening pathways toward luxurious blooms and glossy foliage that will adorn your yard for years to come.

Choosing the Right Variety of Roses

There are many varieties of roses to choose from that come in a wide array of shapes and colors. Select types of roses that are low maintenance, hardy, and resistant to disease. Some varieties produce their fragrant and showy blooms only once, while others flower over a much more extended period throughout the growing season. It’s worth selecting these repeat-flowering roses because you can reap the rewards of their blooms throughout the season of warm summer days.

Single orange rose covered in water droplets

Planting

The ideal time to plant roses is during the first hints of Spring. You can plant either bare root roses or container-grown rose plants at this time and be enjoying blooms by the start of summer.

Soil Composition and pH

Roses need good fertile soil, so it is important to mix a lot of organic matter into your garden bed. Start with well-decomposed compost and mix it into your garden soil, such as Kellogg Garden Organics All Natural Garden Soil for Flowers & Vegetables, which is formulated to be mixed 50:50 with native soil and mix it into your garden soil. If you do not use fully decomposed materials, the root system of your rose bushes can burn out as the compost continues to heat up and decay. The optimal soil pH for a rose garden is 6.5. You can attain this by using the right mix of compost, alfalfa meal, and kelp meal for an ideal growing environment.

  • Compost – Compost is a broken-down organic matter that increases microorganism activity and improves the overall quality of the soils.
  • Alfalfa meal – Alfalfa meal is a good source of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. It also contains Triacontanol, which helps regulate and stimulate growth
  • Kelp Meal – Kelp Meal is a slow-release Potassium source full of minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and growth-promoting hormones.

Light Requirements

Place your rose garden in an area that receives ample direct sunlight. Roses do their very best in full sun, so plant your rose garden in a location that receives at least one half of a day of the sun’s rays.

Spacing

Overcrowding of rose bushes can lead to significant problems with various diseases and funguses. Keep rose bushes spaced well to allow for good oxygen movement through and around the rose bushes. Ensuring that you have ample spacing helps keep disease at bay and increases the overall health and performance of these beautiful bloomers.

Pink rose bush

Planting Guidelines

Whether you are planting bare-root roses in the spring or purchase your roses in a container during the growing season, there are a few simple guidelines for planting.

Dry Root Roses

  1. Inspect the root system for root health. If you notice that your rose bush roots are dried out or show signs of cracking, grab your shears and trim off unhealthy, damaged ends.
  2. Dig holes in the garden about 18 inches deep and two times larger than the root size.
  3. Place the dry root plant in a hole with roots spread out. Gently backfill the soil so that the graft, which is the point of the stem where the shoot bends off, is a couple of inches above the soil line.
  4. Snip a couple of inches off each branch to stimulate new growth.

Potted Roses

  1. For potted roses, cut away the pot and slide out the plant. Sometimes root systems in potted roses are not well established, so use care when removing the container. If the root system is visible at the bottom of the root ball, gently spread the tangle of roots with your fingers.
  2. Dig holes in the garden about 18 inches deep and two times larger than the root size.
  3. Place the dry root plant in a hole with roots spread out. Gently backfill the soil so that the graft, which is the point of the stem where the shoot bends off, is a couple of inches above the soil line.
  4. Snip a couple of inches off each branch to stimulate new shoots of growth.

PRO TIP

Adding organic material to your native soil creates pockets in the soil that allows air and water to penetrate deeper, helping develop a strong root structure that enables the roses to grow lush and strong.

Your roses will benefit from using soil formulated for flowers as it is filled with ingredients that provide a food source for beneficial soil microbes.

Overall Care

Watering

Reduce disease by watering the soil, not the leaves. Roses require more water more frequently in hot weather than in cooler weather. Balance is essential, however. As much as roses need water, it is vital to avoid planting in low spots in the yard where water tends to pool. Standing water can create susceptibility to disease, fungi, and root rot. It is also best to water your roses early in the day so that the rose leaves have sufficient time to dry throughout the day. Wet foliage can lead to powdered mildew growth.

Feeding

These vibrant bloomers can benefit fertilizer. Coffee grounds are a great organic addition which enriches the soil with much-needed nitrogen and attracted worms that loosen and feed the soil. Never sprinkle coffee grounds right next to the plant, however, as too much too close can give them a nitrogen burn and can have the opposite effect and kill your roses. Create a watering mixture of one gallon of water and one cup of coffee grounds and water around the rose bushes.

All Natural Planting Mix

Kellogg Garden Organics

All-Natural Planting Mix

**Product not available in AZ, CA, HI, NV, UT. For a comparable product in these states click here.

Gardener with pink flowery gloves and green sheers pruning a rose bush with pink roses.

Pruning

In addition to trimming off a couple of inches from each branch to regenerate growth when you initially plant your rose bush, roses require additional pruning as it blooms to increase the longevity of the plant. Pruning should be done early in the year in warm climates, and anytime between January and April in cold climates, just before the rose bush breaks its dormancy after spring’s closing frost.

  • Be sure to wear long sleeves and garden gloves to protect yourself from thorns.
  • Practice deadheading your rose bushes. Cut spent flowers ½” above the first set of 5 leaves on the branch behind the bloom.
  • With sharp pruning shears, snip, at a 45-degree angle, any branches that are crisscrossing or growing horizontally causing crowding of the bush.
  • Trim off any brown dead stalks. If you are unsure if a branch is dead, cut into the top of the branch. If it is brown throughout instead of healthy green, it needs pruning.
  • Cut back your vertical branches/canes to an outward-facing bud. This practice maintains an open habit that promotes better air circulation for your rose bush.
  • Lastly, when you make your 45-degree angled cuts, you want to make sure to cut the angle away from the bud so the rain will glide down the edge of the branch like a slide and not lead the water into the bud.

Pests

Be prepared to battle with Japanese beetles. As a rose gardener, you are certain to find these damaging pests mating and munching on your lush rose petals. The best and most tried and true eco-friendly solution involves plucking the beetles off the roses and dropping them into a bucket of soapy water. You can also plant roses with companions to ward off pests.


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2 Comments

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  1. Hi will your Kellogg’s potting mix plus work for my roses in container or do I need to add something else to it. I added epsoma bio tone to it for root establishment. Your product is new to me so I’m excited to see what it will do for my flowers especially my roses.
    Also which can be used for seed starting ( flowers and vegetables)

    • Hi Bobbie!

      Kellogg Garden Organics Potting Mix will work with roses planted in a container. Make sure you water evenly, allowing the soil in the container to dry out slightly before watering again. Adding an organic fertilizer/plant food is important for roses. Using Kellogg Garden Organics Rose & Flower Fertilizer every 5-6 weeks will help maintain nutrient levels in the container. Supplement the granular fertilizer with Kellogg Garden Organics Fish & Kelp Liquid Fertilizer every 2-3 weeks with your regular watering routine. I think you will be amazed at the results. Espoma makes great products and could be substituted for the Kellogg granular fertilizer.

      The Kellogg Garden Organics soils offered in home centers today are not formulated as seed starters. We recommend using a dedicated organic seed starter to germinate seeds. If planting in a container with Kellogg Garden Organics Potting Mix, we recommend scooping out a handful for the potting mix and putting the dedicated seed starter mix in the hole with your seeds. As the plant matures, you will not need to transplant. The roots will grow through the seed starter mix and into the potting mix. This is a technique that has worked for many. Others prefer to use a seed starter tray or other traditional seed starting methods.

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