How to Grow a Rose Like No Other
With apologies to Gertrude Stein—she of "Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose" fame—you'd be wise to be a bit more selective when it comes to planting. "The secret to healthy, budding roses is finding the kind that will flourish in your region for years to come," says Peter Kukielski, senior adviser to the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden. "Once you do that, everything else will be easier." The best time to plant them? Right now.
1. Find a climate-friendly variety. Live in the Northeast? Choose a hardier flower like the Griffith Buck rose, which can withstand cooler temps. Those in the South and West may be better off planting varieties like Belinda's Dream or Cherry Parfait—they're specifically bred to be resistant to diseases that are prevalent in humid regions. (For more flower options, see rose.org/regions-choice.)
2. Choose the best planting site. "Some roses are tall and skinny, some are low and scrawny, some are single stem, and others become full shrubs, so you'll want to pick one with a growth habit that's right for the space you have, whether it's along your patio wall or in a single pot," says Kukielski. No matter what type of roses you plant, they'll require at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. The more sun they get, the more bountiful your bouquet.
3. Triple-layer the soil. With a prepotted rose, dig a hole about 15 inches deep and 18 inches wide. Then mix roughly three inches of organically rich matter (like compost, composted manure, or roughly chopped leaves) with the soil and spread it in the hole. Place the base of your rose in the hole and fill it back up with soil so that the bud union—the knobby part of the stem base—is about even with or just below ground level. Sprinkle three inches of mulch around the rose. The mulch will decompose and provide nutrients the plant needs to grow strong, says Kukielski. Water regularly and get ready to watch beauty bloom.