The four most common rose-growing mistakes; or, four easy ways to get your roses to die over the winter in Ottawa....
Mistake #1. Buy tender roses.
There are more than 30,000 varieties of roses in the world, and very few of them will survive Ottawa winters on their own. If you really enjoy covering and pampering your roses each fall, go ahead and buy tender roses. But, if you want trouble-free rose growing, choose a hardy rose in the first place.
How do you know if it's a hardy rose?
- if your nursery won't guarantee it, it probably isn't hardy
- if it's a Hybrid Tea rose, it isn't hardy in our climate
- if it's imported from the USA, it probably isn't hardy
- just because the label says "hardy rose", don't believe it unless it's guaranteed!
All roses from Galetta Rose Nurseries are grown on the farm and guaranteed for a full year.
Mistake #2. Don't let your roses go dormant in the fall.
Roses need a rest period in winter, and they need to "harden off" to get ready for it. To get your roses ready for winter:
- stop fertilizing at the beginning of August
- stop "deadheading" (cuting off the old flowers) at the beginniing of September
- prune in the early spring, and never prune after the beginning of August.
Mistake #3. Ignore your roses all summer.
Roses need water, decent soil, good compost/fertilizer, and occasional treatment for damage and disease during the growing season. If you ignore them all summer, they'll go into winter under stress and they will die -- maybe not this year, but certainly soon after.
Mistake #4. Plant your roses in a bad location.
Roses need a fertile, well-drained garden soil and at least six hours of bright light every day, and the "graft" should be 4" below soil level. If you plant them in a heavy compacted clay in a shady area, with the graft sticking up above the soil, they will die. (Note: my roses aren't grafted, so they will survive nicely wihout being planted so deeply).
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