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Planting roses – tips and tricks

Rosen pflanzen

Roses belong to every garden, but they should especially not be forgotten on the terrace and balcony, where they truly shine. The beauties need a lot of light and a breezy location, to ensure that the leaves dry quickly after a rain. In this way, roses can stay more resistant to fungal diseases. Roses are among some of the oldest crops planted by humans. There are even Confucius reports of rose plantings in the royal gardens in Beijing.


According to reports from Theophrastus, roses were already grown in pots in ancient times as container plants. The dog rose, Rosa canina, but also Rosa alba or Rosa damascena were used quite early as medicinal plants, as well as for perfumery in monastery gardens and in culture. When kept potted, roses have the advantage over other potted plants, such as oleanders to keep year-round. In addition, the planters used to plant some roses in are attractive garden ornaments with which one can also plant additional spring or summer flowering plants.

Rose types and varieties

Depending on their intended use, gardeners often distinguish between garden rose bushes (tea hybrids) and multiflora roses (polyantha roses), such as shrub roses, ground-covering roses and climbing or rambler roses. Garden roses are the classics, they have large, nobly-forming blooms, which stand individually on stems. Multiflora roses are more group plants, they can sometimes bloom throughout the entire summer. Ground-cover roses grow low and area-wide. Shrub or park roses are intended for large areas. Climbing roses grow two to ten meters high, depending on the variety. There are numerous varieties which can flower either once or possibly several times.

Void south-facing slopes

Please be careful with the location of your roses in the garden or on the balcony/terrace. Any southern facing slopes are to be avoided as, in winter, temperature fluctuations can pose a risk of frost damage..

Optimising soils & substrates for roses

Roses are quite demanding when it comes to soil and substrate. The earth should be loamy/clayey but rich with topsoil. Coarse gravel improves drainage. If the soil is not optimal, it must be treated beforehand. But, when planting, avoid filling the planting hole with pure compost or potting soil. This can lead to the so-called "flower pot effect". Roots will then form only in the area of the "fat" earth. For the proper development of roses, it is advisable to promote a deep root system. To achieve this, the soil must be worked deep beyond the planting hole, any compost should be added first to the soil. Too much fertiliser in the plant hole could damage the fresh roots, especially if slightly soluble mineral fertiliser is used.

Young roses only need fertilisers after they are somewhat well-grown. In grow containers, roses only do well if they find enough root space. Since roses actually have deep roots, only tall vessels should be used. In addition, please take care and pay attention to the drainage levels, for example, use a layer of 3 to 5 cm expanded clay or Hydroton. A fleece should be laid over the top so as to avoid the inundation of the earth.


Roses do not like competition

In the garden, planted roses do not like competition due to root pressure - this is especially true when it comes to nearby trees, shrubs and deep-rooted perennials. You always need enough distance between your roses and other plants, so you can work on maintaining the areas around your roses better.

The water requirements for roses are often overestimated. Roses are deeply rooted and only need to be heavily watered in case of exceptional dryness. If you often water roses with small amounts of water, they will often form their root system, especially the fine roots, only near the surface. When watering always make sure that the leaves dry quickly. Roses in container pots should be watered more often, sometimes even more-so in winter, of course only in frost-free weather.

Roses are hungry

Rooted roses require a lot of nutrients - but only until mid-August, then they need only enough time to mature. For traditional garden roses, you can use compost, organic fertilisers or mineral rose fertilisers with high, slow releasing nutrients, magnesium and potassium are especially important. In the container pots, a liquid rose fertiliser can work optimally.


Cutting roses

Making the right cut

Roses should always be cut diagonally. This ensures that there is no chance for fungal diseases to take hold. Cut approx. 0.5 cm above a budding bud.

Pruning roses is - depending on the variety - necessary so that they flower abundantly and avoid diseases. There is also the so-called rejuvenation cut. Spring pruning is always the most critical, you should always wait until the flowers of forsythia are present. A summer cut on fast-growing varieties can also promote flowering. All faded flowers should be removed during pruning.

In the fall just a "grading" cut is needed, never cut too deeply. In the spring, remove all dead, frozen and damaged shoots. Always use a pair of sharp rose scissors to make sure that each cut is smooth and clean. The cut should be made five millimetres above a bud slightly sloping, so that rain runs off. Keep any wound areas as small as possible. The topmost bud always points to the outside. Strong shoots last longer than weak ones, as they tolerate more buds. The sectional shape of a rose depends on its class. For example, bed roses are treated differently, such as precious or shrub roses.

Winter protection for roses

Since many roses can tolerate the cold, they usually require a bit of winter protection. The "accumulation" of the earth protects the areas around the root and the trunk. Shrub and climbing roses should be packed with jute, burlap or antifreeze fleece. More difficult is the protection of roses in container pots. For smaller containers, often putting them in close proximity to the house can be all that is needed. Another possibility is "packing" them with straw, jute or Styrofoam plates.

The plants themselves can be additionally wrapped with fleece or spruce. The protection prevents strong temperature fluctuations by shielding them from the sun. In addition, harsh winds are reduced, which can also lead to dehydration if left unchecked. If vessels are placed directly on stone or concrete, wooden boards must be placed in front of them during severe frost periods to prevent cold spots. Of course, the drainage holes in the vessel always have to remain free. However, the arrangement of the vessels in the greenhouse should also be considered as some plants can shoot out earlier than others. Pay special attention to lice infestations. Before moving these plants, make sure they have hardened up just as much as the potted plants.

You can find even more accessories for optimal rose cultivation in the world of Bio Green.

The original version of this article was published in the Greenhouse Post, issue 04/2016, text and image: Jörn Pinske.

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