End of Season Roses

End of season flowers.

By Richard Flowers, ACCNP-Green Thumb Nursery-Ventura

Green Thumb offers a wide assortment of roses which includes ones that climbing, are used for ground cover, tree roses, floribundas, hybrid teas, and grandifloras.

We have an array of roses in various colors ranging from white, yellow, red, pink, and blends of colors. Many of these roses have fragrance. Some roses will be cut back. Not all the roses will be in bloom but they are all labeled as to what variety they are and most have picture tags. If you have missed the prime planting seasons (Winter to Late Spring or Early Summer) for any of your favorite roses, then I have news for you, we still have an average selection for you to choose from, even though it may be a little late and its not the ideal time but it’s still acceptable to plant. These containerized roses are left over from last year and have a much more developed root system than a new and fresh bare root rose you find in January. There larger root system means the plant is off to a better start root wise, though the tops of the roses may not look as convincing to buy but as soon as they are planted in your garden and establish themselves they should thrive. There are people who feel they can be more confident doing it this way because it is farther along but that is not always the case. I advise get them now while supplies last. These roses are waiting to go to a good home inside your garden so they can be nurtured and bless your landscape. Nothing beats the accomplishment of growing homegrown beautiful roses in your own landscape.

With the last quarter of the year in full swig, roses are preparing themselves for going dormant and now is the time to plant roses before the bare root season kicks in. The growing season is over, the approaching autumn and winter seasons are right around the corner and some people like to get a jump start on planting roses before they actually lose their leaves and you cut them back. There are people that prefer to plant the roses from containers instead of bare root (dormant rose) plantings so the option is here for you, however it is highly recommended to wait until they have lost all their leaves before you plant them. Those of you who would like to get an early start on your rose garden it may be worthwhile for you to check them out. Many roses may not look the greatest during this time of year, but for those of you who know will understand it’s all right because give them some love, proper care they will flourish in your garden providing you beautiful flowers.

This time of year and the preceding months many seasonal maintenance practices need to done to insure beautiful, healthy roses in the coming months and the next year. Roses that are already planted in your garden and been there for a few years or more now is the time to finish your  summer rose pruning. You will need to lightly prune all of your roses now for a big burst of colorful blooms at the end of October. This will be the last hoorah of growth and bloom before dormancy sets in. Do not strip off all the foliage like you would do for the hard winter prune, and only cut back about one-third of the height of each plant. At your favorite Green Thumb Nursery you may see some roses already pruned or with no leaves on them, there is no need to worry about that. We prune them so they look better. With our mild and warm weather we have been experiencing it encourages new growth which looks fresh and clean which is a good sign.

Mildew may be especially prevalent during this time of year as the nights begin to cool down and the daytime remains warm. Mildew is especially prevalent in coastal regions. It’s much easier to prevent mildew than to try to get rid of it once you have it. Spray fungicide every 7 to 10 days (read the label for directions). I like to use All Season Horticultural and Dormant Spray Oil, the mineral oil active ingredient is organic and safe to use, just read, follow, and understand all label directions.

When you see aphids, it’s time to spray with an insecticide. Monitor your plants regularly. I recommend if you have just a few isolated aphids you can simply take your thumb and fore finger and dislodge them without needing to spray. Only spray if it is absolutely necessary. A few aphids are not big deal. If you have lots of aphids, you may need to use an insecticide. We carry both organic and synthetic (traditional) controls for these soft bodied sucking insects. My go to control for aphids is, All Season Horticultural and Dormant Spray Oil just read, follow, and understand all label directions. Begin feeding with rotations of fish emulsion, epsom salts, iron, and a balanced rose fertilizer. A shot of Super thrive does wonders! October is the ideal time to use a high phosphorous fertilizer as this will encourage bigger blooms. You can use this weekly, or alternate with fish emulsion. Remember to water your roses thoroughly before and after fertilizing.

Just because it may become cooler does not mean that you can discontinue watering. Hot and dry Santa Ana winds can dehydrate your roses. Check sprinklers and drip emitters to make sure they are working properly.

If you see green buds start to form, daily disbudding of side buds on hybrid teas is necessary. This procedure will encourage bigger blooms. For floribundas, you should remove the central bud which will usually bloom before the rest of the spray or bloom cluster.

Roses do best in all day sun. To keep them healthy and vigorous, it is wise to provide a well draining soil. When planting in the ground, I suggest to use 50% Azalea Camelia Mix (Acid Planting Mix) and 50% to your native soil blended very well together, which will provide acidity and better drainage to your own soil. Use a potting soil when planting in containers. Once established, roses appreciate regular watering, usually once per week or more often in extreme heat. If they are planted in a container, more frequent watering may be required. Always check the soil with a bamboo stake to determine when you need to water. Adding a layer of mulch, about 4 inches thick, every year after pruning will also add organic matter to enhance soil structure and reduce water evaporation up to 50%.

Looking ahead into the last two months of the year. Start now to plan your strategy for growing better roses. We will still have containerized roses waiting to go to good homes. These roses may have slim pickings and may not look fresh but that’s ok this time of year, they will come to their own with love and care in the garden. Once planted in your garden proper pruning, mulching, fertilizing, and watering should be an integral part of your plan. The latter part of the year is a good time to start planning on making room and preparing for bare root roses arriving in January but in the mean time don’t forget that containerized roses are still an option to plant.

This time of year is also the best time to  repot roses  that have become root bound. With all roses, whether in the ground or in containers it is best to keep garden debris cleaned up to avoid overwintering of insects and fungus. Keep spent blooms trimmed off the rose bushes to ensure a bountiful bouquet for your holiday dinner table. Pansies and other cool season flowers make wonderful winter time companion plants for the roses, especially when the they are bare from winter pruning. Get ready for January pruningand dormant spraying. A good dormant spray I recommend is a combination spray of two  products: All Season Horticultural and Dormant Spray Oil and Liquid Cop. This will help take care of overwintering insects and diseases like mildew, rust, and blackspot. Please read, follow, and understand all label directions on both products.

The majority of our roses that we carry are well suited to our climate especially if you live in a warm interior area with lots of sun away from frequent fog. We may also have roses that can fare ok in coastal zones. With our mild climate, potted roses can be planted almost any time of the year but other times are better to plant than now. When you wait to plant them when all the leaves have fallen or are cut back it is then a better time to plant them because during this time the weather is getting cooler, the soil is still warm which means you may get some root growth, and by spring your roses should be more established which means you may have a slight head-start. So don’t hesitate and stop by your favorite Green Thumb Nursery, we might have that special rose you have been looking for all ready potted.

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