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Having a healthy rose plant is deliberate. The way you plant and prune your roses can make the difference in whether your plant thrives or merely survives.

Planting

If you are planting a rose that has been grown in a container, dig a hole twice as wide and deep as the pot. For your soil, use a mixture of one part peat moss, two parts soil. Use this mixture to fill in your hole to the depth where the bud union, at the top of the rootstock, will be just above ground level. Make sure the mixture of soil is firmly packed, but not too hard. Break the rim of the pot so that the will be at ground level. Cut away the bottom. You will plant your rose inside the pot instead of removing the pot. Fill the hole. If you are planting a rose plant that was not grown in a pot, repeat the procedure, but do not use a pot to plant the rose in. Form a rim around the plant that will trap water.

Make a mixture of 1 gallon of water with 3 ounces of root stimulator. Pour two quarts of this mixture into the pot and two quarts in the soil around the pot. (If you do not have a pot, simply pour four quarts around the plant). Thoroughly soak your roses once a day for one to two weeks. After two weeks, you can water only as needed.

Roses need the equivalent of one inch of rainfall per week. It is best to water this amount all at once instead of spacing it out. To achieve this amount, soak the soil 8-10 inches deep. When the weather is hotter, you may need to water every 3-4 days. The best watering system for roses is a drip irrigation system installed at the plant’s base.

A month after planting, begin a regular fertilizing program using a well-balanced rose food, which can be prescribed by the staff at Jericho Nursery. Established roses should be fed starting early spring, when new leaves begin to grow. They can be fed every 4-6 weeks through the summer. Do not feed your roses after September 15.

Pruning

Pruning roses is an ongoing process that will help the size, shape, and health of the plant, while also improving the flower quality and quantity. There are three parts to a rose bush that need to be pruned.

First, make sure to cut off any dead and diseased wood. Second, if there are weak (small and underproducing) canes or canes that cross one another, those should be thinned out, but not cut off completely. Third, the healthy canes must be headed back.

Climbing roses produce flowers on canes that are one to two years old. They must be pruned in late spring, after the first major blossoming cycle. Be careful of pruning climbers in the dormant season to ensure you do not remove flower buds.

Be careful in pruning hybrid perpetuals. They should be pruned only after they bloom, and only if necessary. Ask a Jericho Nursery staff member more about pruning hybrid perpetuals.

The last step of pruning is to seal all cut ends that are larger than a pencil to protect your ends from insects. Comb your rosebush a final time. If you find any suckers, remove them.  Contact Jericho Nursery with any questions you may have about planting and pruning your roses.

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