Master Gardener Darla Chouinard shares her love of roses.
I love Valentine’s Day! For the past few years, my husband has been gifting me a flowering potted rose planter. I love this gift because I get to enjoy the beauty of fresh blooms in the midst of dreary winter!
The first time I received one, my husband thought it was a pretty cut flower arrangement and was really surprised that I was able to keep it blooming for weeks. He didn’t realize that it was a planter of tiny rose plants. I like this little planter because, if I can keep it alive indoors until spring, I can plant it outside and continue to enjoy it all summer long.
These tiny roses survive from year to year in my garden. When I planted it that first year, I was happy to discover that there were three or four plants in the original tiny pot. I separated them to have more plants and to prevent overcrowding. I now have a beautiful collection of tiny roses in a couple of my gardens.
Most of my Valentine roses are planted in my “circle garden”. Because the trees I planted in this garden have grown and are now shading my roses, I will be transplanting them this spring to the “triangle garden” where there are no shade trees and the sun is more bountiful. This garden is also much closer to the house and I’m hopeful that our resident deer will stop “pruning” the tops of my roses and will graze elsewhere.
The best times to transplant roses are spring and fall. I learned a lesson last year when transplanting a mini rose bush in the heat of the summer. My experiment was shocking because all the leaves promptly changed from yellow to brown and crispy, then fell off. I kept it generously watered and gave it some shade because the new and tender leaves scorched easily. Moving roses while they are dormant is the way to go.
If you are thinking of planting roses make sure you are planting them in an area with fertile soil enriched with organic matter. If transplanting in the spring, wait until chances of freeze and frost are over. I have had to cover them when we have had a rogue frost because they seem to be tender early in the season.
Roses also require plenty of sun and water, so don’t plant them far from a water source as it could get old carrying water to them frequently. They still require plenty of water when planting in the fall. Fall planting can sometimes force the rose bush into dormancy. Plant them while temperatures are still warm so that the roots can become accustomed to their new location before frost and freezing weather. Selecting an overcast day or week also helps ensure success when transplanting your roses.
Make sure the hole you dig is generous compared to the size of the root ball you are transplanting. Fill the hole with plenty of organic composted material mixed with the soil from the area and thoroughly saturate it with water so the roots have a welcoming home. When you remove an existing rose bush, dig to include plenty of the soil around the roots as to not disturb the roots.
If you are planting from a pot, spread out the roots so they don’t continue to grow in the shape of the pot they came in. Plant your rose bush deep enough so the crown is sitting slightly above ground level and do not cover the crown with soil, compost, or mulch. Do make sure the hole is nicely saturated with water and all the air pockets are eliminated. Trim back spindly, weak, and unsightly branches using angled cuts. Before you prune the limbs, sterilize your pruners to prevent spreading diseases. Lastly, make sure your plant has a pretty shape to start with and it should flourish if it is properly tended to.
Want to learn more about gardening? It’s not too late to register for our annual Spring into Gardening Conference. Learn about raised bed gardening, pollinator gardens, and composting. Enjoy refreshments, a silent auction, and enter for a chance to win some fabulous door prizes. Register at go.illinois.edu/SPRIG22.
If you have questions about your garden or landscape, contact a master gardener at the University of Illinois Extension office in Mattoon at 217-345-7034 or through our online hotline at https://forms.illinois.edu/sec/1523725. Be sure to visit U of I Extension’s horticulture website http://web.extension.illinois.edu/ccdms/ and like the Master Gardeners’ Facebook page www.facebook.com/ColesCountyMasterGardeners.