02 Aug Rose Feature #3 – Care
Roses are very heavy feeders so you need to ensure they receive enough nutrients throughout the growing season. I would recommend spreading organic natural fertiliser on plants twice a season in autumn, spring and summer. Especially at the beginning of spring when the chances of a late frost are low. In the spring and autumn I would apply a slow release fertiliser. Liquid fertiliser can be used regularly also.
I know this sounds like a lot of feeding however it takes a lot to produce beautiful blooms. I also tend to prefer to build the strength of the plants up so that they are strong and healthy plants that can battle through any pests or diseases they may be attacked by. Roses as mentioned earlier (like Citrus and Gardenias) seem to attract pests and diseases more than many other plants.
Mulching your plants will help retain moisture in the soil, keep the soil at an even temperature and prevents the growth of weeds, which compete with your plants for water and nutrients. Lucerne hay, pea straw and sugar cane are all great mulches for Roses. Apply a 5cm layer after pruning and then top it up in spring and summer to help retain soil moisture and suppress weeds.
Water well before applying mulch so you start with moist soil, then water in the mulch again after spreading. Keep the mulch away from trunks plants. If you don’t have too many groundcovers or other plants around the base of roses you could also apply a few layers of newspaper under the mulch.
Pruning is highly important on Roses (as discussed in the Rose Pruning article). This would be completed in Mid to late winter and again in summer (please refer to my previous blog post on late Summer pruning here). Throughout the year I would recommend regular dead heading of flowers which will promote more flowers and also help prevent disease. Also removing dead, damaged, yellow or diseased leaves regularly will help with the health of the plant