Roses are one of DeKalb County’s most favorite plants in the home landscape. It is also America’s national flower with over 6,000 varieties to choose from, therefore offering a wide range of blossom colors and fragrances from Spring until Fall.

Roses can be used in the landscape as single specimen plants or in masses for an impressive color display. Also, they may be used as borders or hedges, cut flower beds, and on trellises. Roses should receive at least six hours of direct sunlight each day and light shade in the afternoon is desirable. Never plant roses close to trees with matted surface roots such as maple, elms, oaks and poplars, or in a dead air pocket area with no air circulation.

The best time period for planting roses is from early to late winter, so some root growth can occur before warmer temperatures arrive, thereby plants are better established. The soil must be well drained and properly prepared. Any good garden soil that meets these requirements will grow roses provided other cultural practices are met. Prepare the soil at least one month prior to planting. The soil should be thoroughly broken up and worked to a depth of 10 to 12 inches. Add well-rotted manure at the rate of 50-75 pounds per 100 square feet of bed space and then add 2-3 pounds of 8-8-8 fertilizer to each 100 square feet. Then the manure and fertilizer should be mixed with the soil. The pH of the soil for

growing roses is between 5.5 and 6.5 which is slightly acid. Compost or peat moss can also be used as a substitute for well-rotted manure. Therefore, two parts soil mixed with one part humus such as compost or peat moss. Always plant roses at least two feet apart. This will help to prevent the spread of disease during poor air movement and impaired sunlight.

Roses are classified by their growth habits into two main classes. Climbing roses produce long canes and require some kind of support. Bush roses grow from one to six feet high and require no support and are grouped according to their flowering habit. Climbing roses include the ramblers, large-flowered climbers, ever-blooming climbers, climbing hybrid teas, and climbing polyanthus and floribundas. The bush roses include the hybrid tea, grandiflora, floribunda, polyantha, hybrid perpetual, shrub, old-fashioned, tree or standard and miniature. Floribunda roses are considered the landscape rose, easier to grow, hardier and more vigorous than other types.

I hope this information will be helpful in your horticulture enterprise.

Terry Shackelford is a regional extension agent in DeKalb County. His column appears Tuesdays in the Times-Journal. “Growing roses in the home garden” originally ran January 6, 2015, and is running again at request.

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