White roses are loved for their beauty and fragrance. They are cultivated for a variety of landscape effects or for cutting. Following are tips on planting and maintenance of your white rose garden whether you’re a novice or an experienced rose gardener.
Planting Your White Rose Garden
After purchasing the bushes for your white rose garden, remove any packing material around the root, and allow the roots to soak overnight in a bucket of water. Make sure the hole you dig is large enough for your rose bush to spread out its roots. Roses will grow best in protected spots with full sun. The plants require at least 8 to 10 hours of sunlight per day for optimum growth. The soil should be rich with nutrients from compost, or other organic material, as nitrogen is a necessity for beautiful blooms.
Create a small cone of soil in the center of the hole and place the bush on top of it. Spread the roots out around it. Once your rose bush is properly seated, add a mixture of half water and half soil. This allows for any air trapped in the soil to escape. Finish filling the hole with soil and water the bush again. To prevent disease, water your rose bushes at the roots only.
White Rose Garden Maintenance
Now that your white rose garden has been properly planted, it will require regular maintenance. Water your roses no more than two times per week with only an inch of water each time (unless you live in a hot climate). Never use any plant or flower food not specifically labeled for roses. Roses require a nitrogen- and iron-rich food base.
Adding a 2 to 4 inch layer of organic mulch will help deter weeds, improve the garden’s appearance and prevent moisture loss. Leave several inches around the stem of each plant un-mulched. As the mulch decomposes, it will use up the soil nitrogen. Apply a fertilizer mix around the base of the plants, dibble it into the soil and water well.
Prune your white roses when they are dormant to improve the health of the plant and control the shape. First, remove any leaves that remain on the plant. Next, remove any dead, diseased or injured wood (look for branches with a different color). One way to tell if you should trim a branch is to cut off a bit from the tip of the stem. If it’s green inside then it’s alive. If the stem is brown inside, trim it.
Remove any branches which cross through the center of the plant to improve air circulation. Place the blade of a pruning shear flat against the stem to remove the branch. This will prevent new growth from forming and inhibiting air circulation once again.
After pruning, rake up any fallen leaves from under the plant and spray with a copper and lime mixture or a lime and sulfur spray to kill insect eggs.
Use these planting and maintenance tips to enjoy your white rose garden for years.