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Planting a Rose Bush:

Dig a hole 1 foot deep by 2 feet around. 

Mix ½ bag of topsoil with ½ a bag of Peat Humus with a proportional amount of soil from the hole. 

Place about a third of this soil mixture at the bottom of the hole (enough soil to ensure that the graft on the stem of the rose bush will be 3 to 4 inches above the soil).

Sprinkle 2 cups Milorganite at the bottom of the hole.

Place rose bush in hole. 

Place soil mixture around the rose bush. 

Stake the bush with a smooth metal rod or a bamboo stake (optional). 

Mulch 

Water newly planted roses; water every day for two weeks to establish root system. 

(Always remember to plant rose bushes 3 to 4 feet apart)

Mulching:

Mulching helps keep in moisture and keep out weeds. Oak leaves, Pine bark, Pine straw, cypress mulch or any ground-up organic product will work.

Watering:

A minimum of 3 to 4 inches of water per week is necessary to keep roses healthy. Remember to adjust your watering schedule during rainy periods and hot, dry periods. You will have to water more frequently during hot, dry periods and less frequently during the rainy season.

Fertilizing:

One fertilization of high nitrogen fertilizer, 16-5-10, during the first week of each month. One tablespoon per gallon of water of Peters or Miracle-Gro (one gallon per full size rose bush) for the second week of the month. Repeat the 16-5-10 for the third week, then use an organic such as Fish Emulsion at one tablespoon per gallon of water for the fourth week.

Rose bushes are heavy feeders, so this method of weekly fertilization is followed all year with occasional extras, such as sulfur to adjust pH, organics such as Alfalfa pellets, Blood Meal or Bone Meal to “liven” the soil and replenish nutrients. Remember that Climbing rose bushes need twice as much fertilizer because they are 2 to 3 times larger and Miniature roses need ½ as much because they are so much smaller.

***Water very well the day before you spray or fertilize.***

Spraying:

Regular spraying is a must to control fungus such as Blackspot. You will need to spray every 7 days (especially during the rainy session) to keep infection to a minimum. If you get Blackspot you will need to spray every 4 days for 3 sprayings in a row to get it under control again.

Funginex, Manzate 200 and Kocide are good products for controlling Blackspot. You can combine Funginex with Manzate 200 or Funginex with Kocide for better control.

For pests such as Aphids you can use Safer insecticidal soap. Another good (and cheap) method for controlling unwanted pests is to take a high powered watering wand and spray the underside of leaves and tips of your rose bushes. When you spot an infestation you should use this method for at least three days in a row to break the breeding cycle of the bugs.

For Thrips, use Orthene, per label instructions, and add one tablespoon of dark brown sugar per gallon of water and just spray the blooms and the buds.

Pruning:

When pruning a rose bush you want to remove deadwood, spindly looking stems and stems that cross over or are at the center of the bush. You also want to remove old blooms to avoid the growth of seeds (as they take away from the bushes ability to produce more, stronger roses). All new growth is thinner than the cane or stem that it originates from, therefore when you are cutting roses to display indoors you should cut below the end of the stem from where the rose you are harvesting started.

By removing center growth and weak spindly stems you are creating better air circulation (which decreases the chance of Blackspot) and allowing the rose bush to put its efforts into growing more productive stems.

For newly planted bushes deadhead only for at least the first 6 months.

These instructions are just the basics for growing roses. If you truly want to learn how to grow magnificent rose bushes, you should become a member of the Tropical Rose Society. You’ll receive our monthly bulletin that will take you step by step through rose care in our ever-changing climate here in South Florida. We invite you to attend our monthly meetings (to speak with expert rose growers trained to provide you with the latest information on growing roses, and get to know some of the nicest folks in South Florida…the members of the Tropical Rose Society.