Articles

How Do You Transplant an Old Rose?

“I have a 40-year-old rose bush that used to be a foot away from the foundation of my home that has gradually moved all the way up to the foundation and sends shoots up under the siding. I have tried to dig it out and pull it out but it refuses to give up and comes back every year. What can I do about it?” Question from Sylvia of Belle Plaine, Minnesota

Answer: Roses can be quite easy to transplant, with a little strength and elbow grease, and good tools. Spring is the best time to move them. Once yours is moved, I recommend planting it in a garden bed away from your home. Here are the tools and steps that I recommend for its transplant.

Tools: Sharp, flat spade, sharp pruners and/or loppers, burlap sheet and tarp, and wheelbarrow.

Steps:

  1. Prune back the shrub to approximately 12″ stems all around. (It will spring back quickly from its strong root system)
  2. Cut a rootball approximately 6-8 inches around the base of the plant. Make clean cuts all the way down with your sharp spade.
  3. Remove excess soil from one side of the excavated rootball, and place the soil on the tarp.
  4. Cut out around the rootball to a depth of around 12 inches, maybe more. Work hard to keep the soil ball and roots intact. This will help the plant better withstand transplant shock.
  5. Wrap the rootball with burlap and roll it into the wheelbarrow turned to its side. Right the barrow, and take it to its new garden spot.
  6. Dig a hole big enough to accommodate your rose. Be sure the spot is sunny and the soil well-drained and fertile. (Click here for more details on planting and siting trees, and click here to learn about the best soil and light for roses.)

Black Gold Garden Soil is an excellent amendment for newly planted roses. We also recommend feeding your rose with alfalfa meal to keep it blooming at its best.

Of course, there is a chance that you may not want the rose. If this is the case, dig it out, and dispose of it. Just be sure to fill the spots with quality soil and backfill before planting a new shrub in its place.

I hope that these tips help.

Happy gardening,

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist

The Best Disease-Resistant Roses

Knock Out roses of all colors are everblooming and resist common rose diseases.

Roses are among the most beautiful flowers on the planet, but they are also prone to some of the nastiest foliar diseases as well.  The three worst of these are rose black spot (Diplocarpon rosae), powdery mildew (order Erysiphales), and rose rust (Phragmidium spp.), but new roses are challenging their damage. Many of the largest rose growers and breeders have developed gorgeous disease-resistant roses that are absolutely outstanding.

Most of the finest disease-resistant roses are shrub roses, but there are a few other forms on the list. All these roses bloom from late spring until frost. Here are a few favorites to consider.

Best Disease-Resistant Roses

Shrub Roses

Crazy Love is a beautiful shrub rose bred by Kordes. (Image thanks to Kordes.)

The grandiflora shrub rose Crazy Love™ Sunbelt® (USDA Hardiness Zones 5-9, 5′ x 3′)  has unusual, orange and yellow, cup-shaped flowers that are fully double and very fragrant. It is generally resistant to common foliar diseases of roses and a vigorous nonstop bloomer.

Nicole® (Zones 6-10, 4′ x 3′) is a beautiful floribunda shrub rose that I am buying this year for my front border. It has 4-inch wide blooms that are snow-white with deep rose edges.  The stunning shrub rose is remarkably disease resistant.

Nicole is a remarkably beautiful shrub rose that I will be planting in my garden this year. (Image by Garitzko)

One favorite new yellow-flowered rose is the floribunda shrub rose Golden Fairy Tale® (Zones 5-9, 4′ x 4′). It’s another that I have added to my must-buy list this year. The award-winner has bright golden-yellow double blooms that are very fragrant and flower in abundance. Notable disease resistance makes it an effortless variety for the garden. Think seriously about this one.

The compact floribunda rose, ‘Brilliant Veranda’ (Zones 5-9, 2′ x 3′) is brilliant red and just the right size for a flower-filled veranda, as the name suggests. Its blooms almost glow, and the plants show very good disease resistance.  Plant it in front of beds with taller plants behind it to light up the garden.

Shrub roses in the Knock Out® Series are possibly too familiar, since everywhere I go in my hometown of Bloomington, Indiana, they are planted outside practically every landscaped business front.  But there is a reason for that. The classic Double Knock Out® rose has gorgeous, double, cherry red flowers on shrubby plants that are very tough and easy to maintain. There are many other colors in the series, including those in the shades of yellow, apricot, and pink.

The new flowers of ‘Princess Ann’ are deepest pink, fading to pure rich pink. It is named for Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal. (Image thanks to David Austin Roses)

English garden roses of all kinds are sold at David Austin Roses, the most famous rose-breeding company in the world. David Austin has produced the most beautiful English roses that bloom the whole season through. He also bred for disease resistance and fragrance. I have picked out two of my favorites that you will love forever.

The fragrant ‘Olivia Rose Austin’ (Zones 4-11, 4′ x 3′) is a classic English rose of pale pink that has cupped, double flowers with a dense rosette of petals in the center.  The flowers have a fruity fragrance. The darkest pink ‘Princess Anne’ (Zones 4-11, 4′ x 4′) has highly fragrant clusters of fluffy double flowers that lighten a bit as they get older.  These are held upright over disease-resistant leaves.

At Last® shrub roses are everbloomers with a light, sweet fragrance. (Image thanks to Proven Winners®)

Finally, Proven Winners® has a variety of tough, disease-resistant roses. Of these, At Last® (Zones 5-9, 3′ x 3′) is a fragrant beauty that will bloom nonstop through summer and into fall. The shrubs have glossy foliage and pale amber-orange flowers that are fully double and sweetly fragrant.

Other Roses

From miniatures to climbers, there are many other roses that defy diseases. The disease-resistant hybrid tea rose Gypsy Soul Eleganza® (Zones 5-9, 3.5′ x 2.5′) has deep violet-red flowers with long upright canes that are perfect for cutting long-stemmed roses. Petite Knock Out® (Zones 5-10, 18″) is a brand new miniature rose that has all of the traits of the classic double red Knockout® (mentioned above) but in truly miniature form. The climbing rose ‘Climbing Pinkie‘ (Zones 6-11, 8-12’) is one of the few disease-resistant climbers. The flowers are rose-pink and hang in clusters over the leaves.  It can be trained along a fence or wall, or if you want to be really English, around your front door.

Spring is the best time to plant roses. Feeding the soil and fertilizing your shrubs at planting time will give them a great start. For more details about how to grow and plant shrub roses organically, please watch the video below by my daughter, Jessie.

When Is The Best Time to Prune Roses?

“When is the best/latest date I can cut back roses?” Question from Joseph or Milwaukie, Oregon

Answer: Late winter is an excellent time to prune reblooming roses, but you can also safely prune them at other times–including now. I recommend that you read our blog about pruning roses in spring (click here to view it). I also encourage you to watch our rose-pruning video with West Coast Rosarian, Rich Baer. It provides a useful, hands-on overview of how to prune roses and covers everything from needed pruning tools to the proper pruning height.

Happy rose gardening,

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist

The Hippest Roses with Colorful Hips

Rose hips can really add bright color to the fall and early winter landscape.

Generally, when gardeners purchase roses, they think of flower color, fragrance, disease resistance, and the overall beauty of the plant. Whether a rose has hips is usually not a high priority. But, if our gardens can have blooming roses all summer, why not end the season with the added bonus of colorful hips in fall? Songbirds and other wildlife love them, and they are beautiful. Some can even be dried to flavor delicious herbal tea.

What Are Rose Hips?

 

Here ripe rose hips have been seeded and are ready for drying for tea-making.

Rose hips are simply ripened rose fruits. They are often brightly colored and appear most abundantly in the fall at the end of the bloom cycle. They are usually red or orange but can also be bright yellow and even reddish-black.

Rose hips have been used for centuries for folk medicine and tea. In fact, they are still in use today–largely because they are tart and very high in vitamin C. Check out the health section of your local grocery store, and you will probably find rosehip teas, soaps, and lotions. Their high concentration of vitamin C has even helped nations during the toughest times. During World War II in England, the public was encouraged to harvest rose hips. Vitamin C was in short supply due to limitations on importation of fruits, such as citrus, so hips were gathered and processed into a syrup that could be used at home and was even made available in stores.

Unfortunately, for most gardeners, modern roses are not known for their hips. With current rose breeding methods, a rose with hips has not been a priority. For marketing purposes, long stems, improved flowering, and disease resistance have been more important. That’s why many heirloom and species (non-hybrid) roses will often provide the most impressive display of hips. I will focus more on heirloom roses, and a couple of newer varieties, because species roses are usually once-blooming and tend to have more rampant growth habits that are often more difficult to control, thus making them unsuitable for most gardens due to space considerations.

Roses With Beautiful Hips

Here are some roses that are known for hips and would fit into most gardens. All are commercially available.

Redleaf rose has very sweet flowers, dark foliage, and bright hips. (Hip image by Mike Darcy)

European Redleaf Rose (Rosa glauca, USDA Hardiness Zone 2-8): In my own garden, I have one species rose, Rosa glauca. While it does grow quite large (5 to 7 feet), I keep it pruned to a manageable size. Rosa glauca is a particular favorite of mine because I like the foliage, which is purplish-red with grayish-silver overtones that make it quite an attractive shrub, even when not in flower.  It blooms once a season in spring, and the flowers are single pink with white centers and lots of yellow stamens. Even though it is a one-time bloomer, the bloom season extends over about a six-week period. Clusters of very colorful red hips occur in the fall.

‘Hansa’ has very large, edible hips in fall.

Japanese Beach Rose (Rosa rugosa, Zones 2-7): Here is a rugged, tough rose that is easy to grow. I like ‘Alba‘, which becomes covered with single white flowers in late spring and early summer. Another good selection is the double-pink ‘Hansa’, which is very fragrant and blooms through most of the summer and is a fairly compact grower (4 to 5 feet) suitable for smaller gardens. These roses are known for their large, juicy, crabapple-sized hips that turn shades of red and orange in fall.  The mature hips are also edible and can be dried to flavor herbal tea or used to make tart jam

Dortmund has crimson and white flowers and orange hips.

Dortmund Climbing Rose (Rosa ‘Dortmund’, Zones 5-9): A climbing rose with very prolific orange-red hips in fall is ‘Dortmund’, which was first introduced in 1955. The single-red flowers appear in copious clusters that bloom over a long period of time. Its dark green, glossy foliage is disease resistant. It is a fast and tall grower, reaching 8 to 11 feet, so give it plenty of support and train it well.

WesterlandClimbing Rose (Rosa Westerland, Zones 5-10): Lots of large, fragrant, double roses of peachy orange cover this repeat bloomer from late spring through the season. The foliage is glossy green and quite disease resistant and the hips are round and bright orange. ‘Westerland’ is a 1999 introduction with elongated canes of 6 feet or more. Sometimes it is called a shrub, but it is too long and leggy (that would be a large shrub!).

Lots of small Pink Meidiland roses give way to lots of little red hips.

Pink Meidiland Shrub Rose (Rosa Pink Meidiland, Zones 4-9) is a 4-to-5-foot shrub rose that has many small, bright pink flowers with white centers. It blooms in flushes throughout the season. Its orange-red fall hips are small, but they are numerous. Another comparable Meidiland rose that is a bit more common in commerce and has improved pink flowers, excellent fragrance, and lots of hips is Magic Meidiland, but I prefer the delicate blooms of the original pink.

If you are considering getting a rose or roses that will produce hips in the fall, I would suggest doing some research for your specific region. Check with rose-growing neighbors as well as a local garden center or a public rose garden, if your city has one. I think it is best to actually see the plant and this time of year; the hips should be visible now. This way you know you are getting exactly what you want.

Rose hips are high in vitamin C, and many are used dry to flavor herbal tea.

For tips on how to grow and plant roses, please reach the following garden blogs: A to Z of Natural & Organic Rose Care and What Light and Soil are best for Roses?

What Hardy Roses will Tolerate Partial Shade?

What Hardy Rose will Tolerate Partial Shade?

“What rose will tolerate dry partial shade in zone 5b?” Question from Trish of Newton, New Jersey

Answer: Most roses are full-sun shrubs that require 6 or more hours of sun per day and average water, but there are a few that can take partial shade (4 to 6 hours of sun per day). Amending the soil with peat moss, applying a 2-3-inch layer of quality mulch, and providing them with drip irrigation are simple fixes that will overcome dry soil troubles.

Roses Tolerant of Partial Shade

Most shade-tolerant roses are contemporary varieties of antique shrub roses. Some of the best have been bred by the English rose breeder, David Austin (click here to view 6 David Austin roses for partial shade that are hardy to your zone). Another for partial shade is the apricot-flowered shrub rose Roald Dahl, which I have growing in my garden. The ever-blooming shrub rose is quite fragrant and easy to grow. If you are interested in a climbing rose for partial shade, try the French antique rose, ‘Zéphirine Drouhin‘. Its large, rose-pink flowers are fragrant, and its twining stems are thorn-free–another bonus.

To learn more about how to grow roses, I recommend watching the video below.

Happy rose growing,

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist

Why Aren’t My Roses Growing?

Why Aren’t My Roses Growing?

“Why aren’t my roses growing? My rose bushes do not grow, and I fertilize them once a month, but they don’t grow.  Soil is clay-like.  They are semi-shade, I have a lot of big trees. They do flower.  What else can I do?” Question from April of Dresden, Tennesee

Answer: There are three key factors that are likely keeping your roses from growing, thriving, and flowering to their fullest. They are:

  1. Sunlight: Roses need full sun to grow and flower at their fullest. Six hours per day is the bare minimum they need to really perform well. Eight to twelve hours is even better. The morning sun is preferable to dry leaves early in the day, which dissuades fungal diseases.
  2. Soil: Roses require a fertile, well-drained soil that is slightly acidic (pH 6.5-7) and high in organic matter to perform at their fullest. Amend the soil where they are planted to encourage better root growth and performance. Black Gold Garden Soil and Black Gold Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss are two excellent amendments to consider
  3. Competition: Tree roots quickly drain water and nutrients from the soil. It is wise to plant roses away from tree roots to avoid competition.

Please watch the video below to learn more about growing roses organically.

Happy rose growing!

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist

How Do I Prevent Rose Black Spot?

“Please give me advice on the prevention of black spot before it occurs.” Question from Carol of Drums, Pennsylvania

Answer: Black spot (Diplocarpon rosae) is such an annoying fungal disease of roses. Here are six measures to help prevent it:

1. Clean your bushes in fall and winter. Remove all fallen leaves and any dead branches from your rose bushes. The fungus overwinters on dead, infected plant material.

2. Apply a dormant oil spray before roses leaf out in spring. Dormant oil sprays deter fungal diseases existing on the plant. (Click here to learn more about horticultural oil sprays.)

3. Prune roses to promote aeration. Moisture on the leaves helps fungal diseases, like black spot, take hold. (That’s why roses grown in dry climates have fewer disease problems.) Prune off extra branches and sprouts to open up plants and help prevent black spot. (Click here to learn more about how to prune roses.)

4. Space roses to promote aeration. Space your roses according to nursery recommendations. Overcrowding can encourage foliar moisture and subsequent fungal problems.

5. Plant roses in full sun. When you plant roses in full sun, their foliage dries faster, which creates a less favorable environment for black spot to proliferate.

6. Water roses from the bottom. Bottom water your roses to help keep their leaves dry.

I hope that these tips help!

Happy rose growing,

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist

What Shrub Rose is Heat- and Drought-Tolerant and Fragrant?

Rosa californica ‘Plena’

“I’m looking for a low-maintenance shrub rose that produces highly scented flowers that will thrive in Las Vegas, NV.” Question from Katherine of Las Vegas, Nevada

Answer: There are several fragrant shrub roses that can withstand high heat in your dry USDA Hardiness Zone 8-9 location. But, there are no classic, cultivated shrub roses that can withstand extended drought. There are, however, some native shrub roses that may fit the bill. I will give you a selection of heat-tolerant cultivated shrub roses, and a native, all with good fragrance. These roses will require watering in Las Vegas, but they are otherwise carefree. Rose fungal diseases are not problematic in dry climates.

Heat-Tolerant Shrub Roses

A classic floribunda shrub rose with good heat tolerance is ‘Angel Face’. It was bred in 1969, has deep lavender-pink flowers that are fully double, a citrus fragrance, and its leaves are a lustrous green.

‘Graham Thomas’ is another heat-tolerant shrub rose bred in 1983 that has golden blossoms with a strong sweet-tea fragrance. Another similar shrub rose is ‘Molineux’; its yellow, double flowers have a musky tea-rose scent.

The rugosa rose ‘Hansa’ is highly fragrant with an intense clove scent and well-adapted to sharply drained soils and heat. Its double flowers are a pretty purplish red. The white-flowered rugosa rose ‘Alba’ is also very pretty and fragrant. Both of these roses have spectacular, large, edible hips in fall, which are also very pretty. (Click here to read more about Rosa rugosa).

Southwest Native Shrub Rose

The semi-double California wild rose (Rosa californica ‘Plena’) is a spring-blooming shrub rose with pretty pink flowers. It can tolerate dry conditions better, and its flowers are lightly fragrant.

When planting roses in poor, dry soil, I recommend amending it with fertile amendments, such as Black Gold Garden Compost Blend and Peat Moss. Both products are OMRI Listed for organic gardening. Alfalfa meal is a natural fertilizer that also helps roses grow to their fullest.

Happy rose growing!

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist

What are the Best Plants for Mother’s Day?

“What are the Best Plants for Mother’s Day?” Question from Catherine of St. Louis, Missouri

Answer: Well, it really depends on what your mother likes in terms of flowers, but there are several standby flowers and flowering shrubs that are pretty, sweetly scented, and bloom all summer. These are good qualities in a Mother’s Day plant. Here are five great choices that are recommended and easy to find at any garden center.

  1. Roses: Not all roses are equal. Ask your garden center specialist for one that is colorful, everblooming, and disease resistant. Some excellent roses include Gertrude Jekyll®, a rich double pink David Austin rose with outstanding fragrance and disease resistance, the uncommonly beautiful double pink ‘Geoff Hamilton‘, and golden ‘Buttercup‘. (Click here to read our article about organic rose care.)
  2. Reblooming Azaleas: There are several reblooming azaleas that perform well and are pretty. Bloom-A-Thon® Pink Double is a good choice with bubblegum pink flowers that will bloom in spring and again in late summer and fall.
  3. Reblooming Lilacs: Everyone loves the looks and smell of lilac flowers and Bloomerang® Dwarf Pink lilac grows to just 3-4 feet and has bright pink flowers that will appear all season long.
  4. Carnations: There are several super fragrant perennial carnations that bloom over a very long time over summer. Try one in the Fruit Punch® series. The coral-pink ‘Classic Coral‘ and raspberry pink and white ‘Raspberry Ruffles‘ are both winners.
  5. Fuchsia: There is nothing more beautiful than a big basket of blooming fuchsia. The flowers feed hummingbirds and are a delight all summer. Pick any fuchsia at your local garden center. All are worth the effort!

Have fun choosing the best for your mother!

Happy gardening,

Jessie Keith

 

Is It Too Late to Prune My Roses?

“I live in Kitsap County, Washington (state); is it too late to prune my roses?” Question from Jennifer of Silverdale, Washington

Answer: It’s not too late! Many gardeners advocate pruning roses when they are dormant, usually in late winter, but you can prune them at any time. Whether you have a shrub rose, climber, or hybrid tea, you can make strategic cuts throughout the growing season.

I recommend using very sharp bypass secateurs (pruners) or loppers. The best cross at the cutting junction like scissors. Just be sure to clean your pruning tools between roses to avoid spreading any potential diseases from rose to rose. I recommend cleaning them in a 10% bleach solution with a drop of washing liquid.

Please watch the video below created by Mike Darcy of Portland, Oregon. It highlights rose pruning in your area.

Happy gardening!

Jessie