Roses in Florida need to be cared for properly year-round to be healthy and grow correctly. The sun, warm temperatures and mild winters cause them to have continuous growth. More flowers are produced in the summer, but will have more petals and deeper color during the cooler season. Since roses in Florida have a long blooming period, year round rose care is required for best flowering. Listed is information and tips on care for roses, proper placement, soil preparation, watering practices, fertilization, insect and disease control, and proper pruning.
Plant roses in Florida in locations where they will get direct sun for at least 6 hours during the day. If some shade cannot be avoided make sure the location gets sun in the morning. Sun dries the dew on the leaves reducing the chance for “Leaf Blackspot” infection.
Place in open locations for good air circulation, grouping together rather than scattered. This makes for more attractive display of flowers, simplifies soil preparation, easier maintenance, and roots from other types of plants will not compete for nutients and moisture.
Place in soil that has good drainage to allow air and water movement to and from the root system. This assures they will hold proper supply of moisture and nutrients. DO NOT plant in areas that will stay wet or soaked. If the soil has a hard layer near the top dig it out or break it up and mix it in with the other soil.
Sandy soil is generally weak in nutrients, soil in this condition needs to be improved with soil amendments for rose growing. Adding material before planting helps with plant growth and reduces later on, work needed to keep roses in Florida healthy and vigorous. Include “Organic Peat” or “Compost” in the entire bed area or in the hole when planting for a good foundation.
Roses in Florida need to be in soil that is moderate in acid to slightly acidic. The PH level should be from 5.5 to 6.5 for them to perform at their best. If the soil PH level is less than (below) 5.5 add “Dolomitic Limestone”, greater than (above) 6.5 add “Sulfur”. Follow directions on labels for amount of each type to add, mix in soil thoroughly.
Watering Florida Roses
Proper watering is needed especially during winter months and dry periods. Roses need to irrigated with one inch of water one time a week, unless same amount is supplied from rainfall. During extreme drought water two times a week. Watering in the soil is recommended to avoid washing off any pesticides or fungicide applied to leaves. If using overhead sprinkler systems, water during early morning so sun can dry off leaves.
Fertilizing Roses In Florida
Roses in Florida need regular applications of commercial fertilizer for rose care. Heavy rains can leach out nutrients in the soil which can cause them to drop leaves. A healthy plant will recover quickly. Fertilizer should be applied five to seven times a year, each time the plant produces a new flush of blooms. In southern Florida seven times, north and central Florida five times. Roses may be fertilized once a month but amount should be reduced. In northern Florida apply lightly between November and February because new tender growth can get freeze damage.
Roses can experience symptoms of Iron or Magnesium deficiencies. Iron defficeincy often occurs during summer months. Be careful when applying these chemicals (spraying or in soil) since over amounts can be harmful.
Always remember to follow directions on labels for amount of any fertilizer to be applied. There are different good products available at garden centers and nurseries, choose according to your need. Ask a qualified, knowledgeable attendant for help in choosing.
Insect And Disease Care Of Roses
Regular treatments with an insecticide is needed for rose care to control the insects “Thrips” and “Mites”. Roses in Florida are susceptible to these two types of pests. For best control and prevention use regular applications of a “Systemic” pesticide, liquid spraying or granular.
Roses in Florida also need rose care from regular treatments with a fungicide to control and prevent fungus problems. Fungus will cause the diseases “Leaf Blackspot” and “Powdery Mildew”. Using liquid spraying or granular is sufficient.
Regular treatments of a pesticide and fungicide will also prevent early loss of foilage and flowers. Following a program of rose care year round for insect and disease control keeps roses in Florida healthy all the time.
“MONTHLY SELECTIVE TRIMMING” is required to keep roses in Florida healthy and productive. Faded flowers need to be removed right after each flush of bloom. Remove lateral flower buds as they form, allowing one bud to mature on each stem. Remove flower buds during first two months after planting. This encourages new growth and helps establish a new plant. The first flowers allowed to develop should be cut with short stems to leave as much foliage as possible. Wait until plants are established before pruning flowers with long stems, then cut only the length of the stem needed.
During “MONTHLY SELECTIVE TRIMING” remove leaf shoots (Suckers) that are growing from the rootstock below the graft union by breaking them off. DO NOT cut them off so all “Basal” buds are removed. They are noticeable due to their location and different appearance. Dead wood and canes showing stem diseases, need to be removed by pruning when first noticed. Prune back to where healthy wood is and do not leave on the ground.
“MAJOR YEARLY PRUNING” needs to be done for roses in Florida, but not as severe as done in northern states. In central and northern Florida it is done once a year during December or January. In southern Florida it may need to be done twice a year, during March and late August, to manage size and not interup winter flowering.
“MAJOR YEARLY PRUNING” is done by removing, some healthy top growth, twigs and branches that are dead, diseased, injured, thin or spindly. Shorten main canes and lateral branches. Remove small twigs and some old canes, making sure you leave at least half the length of each main cane that is one to three years of age. First flowers will appear after eight or nine weeks of a pruning.
To avoid any dieback and to encourage healing make cuts just above a dormant bud (Eye). When an entire branch is removed, always make a smooth cut at the point of juncture.
By doing proper rose care and maintenance you will have a healthy plant with an abundance of beautiful flowers. Roses in Florida will bloom throughout each growing season, if they remain healthy. Rose enthusiasts find it their hobby, and love to spend time gardening because it is rewarding.
Keep on growing roses!
Author, Kurt Kmetz