RoseGrowing methods

Can I grow roses in tubs?

Yes, provided that the tubs have plenty of drainage holes and are at least 300 mm (1 ft) deep and 450 mm (18 in) in diameter for the average-sized bush rose; more vigorous roses such as climbers will need larger tubs. The growing medium can be half and half of peat and garden soil, or you can use a John Innes potting compost; you will need to add fertiliser at least three times during the growing season. Careful attention must be given to watering as tubs dry out quickly in hot, dry weather. –

Can I grow roses under glass?

Yes, and you should have your first blooms in May; but the bushes must then be stood outside in their pots for the rest of the summer. They are brought back into the greenhouse in October, when pruning should be done.

Can I grow roses from cuttings?

Yes, but it will take four or five years to achieve a full sized plant, and some roses will never have the vigour of those budded on a rootstock. This applies particularly to the large-flowered bush roses, which are also the most difficult to grow from cuttings.

How do I take cuttings of roses?

At any time from late August onwards, preferably during a showery spell, dig a narrow trench 150 mm (6 in) deep in a place shaded from the mid-day sun. Sprinkle coarse sand along the trench bottom. Select a firm, ripe shoot on your rose, and from the central portion cut one or possibly two lengths, each of approximately 225 mm (9 in). Make the lower cut just below and the upper one just above a leaf-axil bud. Remove all but the top pair of leaves, then place the cuttings upright against one side of the trench and about 75 mm (3 in) apart. Fill the trench with soil and tread it firm (and firm it again in the winter after frosty spells).

In spring new shoots will form and, perhaps, flower buds later. Remove these buds to concentrate the growing strength in the shoots and roots, so that the rose will be ready for planting in its final home by the autumn. (Wetting the ends of the cuttings and dipping them in hormone rooting powder before putting them in the trench may give them a better start, especially on heavy soils.)

Can I use roses as ground-cover plants?

While some rose varieties do grow naturally outwards rather than upwards, it must be said that few of them grow densely enough to smother weeds completely, as a ground-cover plant should. They are, however, useful for trailing over rough banks and other difficult places. Varieties to try include ‘Max Graf, ‘Snow Carpet’, ‘Swany’, ‘Rosy Cushion’, ‘Raubritter’, and ‘Fairyland’. Many new varieties are coming on to the market, as this type of rose is increasing in popularity.

Can roses be grown with other plants?

The rather formal upright habit of the large- and cluster-flowered bedding roses which most people grow means that they do not always blend easily with other plants. However, most of the shrub roses, both old and new, have a much less formal habit. They will mix very happily with other shrubs, such as mock orange (Philadelphus), cinquefoil (Potentilla), heathers, sun rose (Cistus), Mexican orange (Choisya), and lavender; and in mixed borders they blend especially well with grey-leaved plants such as anaphalis, Jerusalem sage (Phlomis fruticosa), senecio, or nepeta.

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