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Roses can be expensive plants, but they last for many, many years and are easy to establish if you follow a few simple steps on planting and aftercare.
Planting a rose.
Depending on the time of year you purchase your roses, you will have a choice of types of roses:
Bare-root roses: These are only available from about November to March usually mail order. These are plants dug from open ground and packed to prevent the roots drying out before sale. Bare-root plants are usually good quality, having a wider root spread than containerised plants, and they are often good value. They should be planted as soon as received, or if ground conditions are unsuitable, unpacked and kept in a container of slightly moist compost and planted as soon as conditions allow.
Containerised roses: These are at their best in garden centres from about November to March. They may be available to buy like this for longer into the spring and summer, but quality starts to suffer the longer they are kept on display. They are bare-root roses placed in pots of potting media to prevent them drying out. They should be planted as soon as received.
Container-grown roses: These are available all year round. These are roses that have been grown in containers for a whole growing season or more. They can be planted at any time, (but are usually not such good plants as bare root ones) and are comparatively costly.
Bare-root roses: Plant in late autumn at leaf fall, and from late winter to early spring, before growth resumes. Avoid planting in the middle of winter when the ground is frozen.
Containerised and container-grown roses: Plant all year round, provided the ground is neither frozen, nor very dry.
Here are some steps to planting roses in the garden:
If you are replacing old roses with new roses, ensure that you dig out the soil to a depth and width of 45cm (18in) and exchange it with soil from a different part of the garden, as roses are at risk from replant disease, also known as soil sickness.
Prune back in the first winter after planting. Do this in late winter or early spring. With all roses, first remove dead, damaged and weak growths, then:
In subsequent years this programme of feeding and mulching can be repeated annually. Apply the fertiliser over the existing mulch, from where it will quickly find its way down to the roots, and then top up the mulch to maintain it at the original level.
Roses may struggle to establish, especially if planted poorly, provided with little aftercare, or planted where roses have grown before.
They can also suffer from a range of common rose diseases, such as rose blackspot, rose dieback, rose powdery mildew and rose rust. Pests to watch out for include large rose sawfly, rose leaf-rolling sawfly and rose aphids.
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