Growing Organic Roses

Posted March 21st, 2012 by Louie's Nursery

Knock Out Roses

Few plants bring elegance, beauty and splendor to our garden that are equal to roses. Roses have historically been associated with beautiful and well maintained estate gardens throughout the world. Fortunately today we do not have to be born into royalty or own an estate to enjoy a beautiful rose garden; we just need to visit our local nursery to find an array of rose varieties that will beautify every part of our garden. Organically grown roses offer us an extra bonus because we are certain they are free of pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals that may be harmful to our family and pets. Organically grown roses offer us the option of using the pedals and other parts of the plant in our food
arrangements, making rose tea, to flavor food stuffing’s, distilling rose water, blending potpourri and even homemade cosmetic products, most importantly just the peace of mind of knowing that we are not exposing ourselves to anything potentially toxic.

Organic roses are fun and easy to grow once we understand their basic requirements consisting of sun, water, feeding and pruning. Roses enjoy full sunlight, although there are varieties that will thrive in less sunlight and still provide us with beautiful and vigorous blooms. If sunlight is a concern for you in your garden and you are not sure of what variety to plant, consult with your local independent nursery. They are knowledgeable on what roses will work best in your specific garden location. I like visiting independent nurseries because they usually offer selections of roses that are not available at the big box stores, also I have experienced that they are usually more knowledgeable about roses in general. I also enjoy listening to smart radio gardening shows like John Bagnascos show, Garden Compass in Southern California, Bob Tanems show in the San Francisco Bay area, Mike Darcy in Portland Oregon and Cisco Morris in Seattle Washington. These gardening gurus know roses and what makes them grow!

Providing roses with the correct amount of water is very important. Please do not use sprinklers to water your roses, even in the morning! I have seen too many diseased roses that have been watered by sprinklers, in the morning! Try to pay close attention to how wet your soil is. Water, if it is dry to the touch two inches below the soil surface. The better your soil is, the more it will be able to retain water. Rich soils consist of a variety of organic components such as redwood, compost, peat moss and organic fertilizers. Wet the soil to the point that it looks and feels saturated about 6 inches deep or more in the soil. We often water too frequently and not deep enough, this approach will promote shallow root growth, which will make your rose plants less drought tolerant and experience drought stress more quickly. Deep roots have access to more water, primary nutrients, minerals and will support the production of more blooms in general. Deep roots also develop a more productive association with Endo-Mycorrhizae. Dr. Earth Organic 3 Rose & Flower Fertilizer contains Mycorrhizae a beneficial soil fungus that develops a symbiotic relationship with the roots of roses and other flowering plants.

Roses are heavy feeders, they love their nutrients! Try and add as many organic amendments to the soil as you can apply, your roses will show you their gratitude by producing an abundant rose crop. It is best to add both amendments and fertilizer to your soil. Amendments come in the form of planting mixes, composts, soil conditioners, mulch’s and other coarse organic materials that will directly improve the texture of the soil, they have some nutritional value but not nearly enough to maximize your roses growth potential. Dr. Earth, Organic 3 Rose and Flower fertilizer will contribute greatly to your soil texture but more importantly it contains high levels of Nitrogen,
Phosphorous, Potassium, secondary nutrients, micronutrients and Pro-Biotic™ a champion biological soil inoculant that is perfectly formulated for rosarians who expect the best and demand the most.

Use Dr. Earth Rose & Flower fertilizer for a completely balanced diet that contains everything a rose plant will require. Try and work the organic components (amendments and fertilizer) deep into the soil at least 2” to 8” for maximum results. Organic nutrients are released slowly (the way nature intended it) as the beneficial soil microbes digest and decompose the nutrients and convert them into a form that the plants roots can absorb. Mycorrhizae (fungus-root) develops a symbiotic relationship with your roses to absorb more water, nutrients, contribute to good soil structure and help to resist soil-borne diseases. All of this happens when we are organic gardeners; we do not have to apply chemicals to our soil to achieve maximum plant potential.

Proper rose pruning is essential for a beautiful rose garden. I recommend that if you do not know how to properly prune your rose plants, take a rose pruning class at your local independent nursery. Many nurseries will offer you these classes on weekends free of charge, the more knowledgeable you are on proper pruning techniques, and the more successful you will be.

Being an organic rosarian is a very rewarding experience. Organically grown roses are easy to achieve, in fact they are easier to grow once you have built a rich and nutritious soil. Organically grown roses can be more drought tolerant, disease resistant, require less applications of fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides because they have been grown steadily without the typical unnatural growth spurts that they experience with chemical fertilizers. Please consult with your local independent nursery for more advice and tips on growing organic roses. Happy and healthy gardening!

Milo Lou Shammas
Dr. Earth Company

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