Stop and smell the roses! San Diego is the perfect place to grow many varieties of roses. These blossoms are sure to be a gorgeous addition to your landscape and garden, and we are happy to give you our expert rose-growing advice. Here are some tips to help you start your rose garden today!
The best roses to grow in San Diego
While many varieties will do well in San Diego, we have a few suggestions to get you started. Consider adding these rose varieties to your garden:
- Double Delight
- The Fairy
- Julia Child
Growing roses in San Diego
- Characteristics: Double Delight roses have a rich fragrance and beautiful multi-toned petals. The stunning blossoms grow on a medium-sized shrub. The Fairy rose bush produces many small, light pink flowers. These shrubs are small but hardy. Iceberg roses are the classic white blooms seen in many landscapes. The bushes are medium-sized and very disease-resistant. Fragrant Julia Child roses are a rich yellow color. This variety is a smaller shrub and can easily be grown in containers.
HOW TO GROW ROSES 101
Tips to Grow Roses in San Diego
Roses are best planted in the spring or fall (when there is no risk of frost). For the new rose gardener, it is easy to find roses that come in containers at your local nursery. These are more simple to plant and establish than bare-root roses.
Try to space your roses at least three feet apart if you plant multiple bushes.
When selecting a location for your rose bushes, it's important to remember the soil conditions that will allow it to thrive:
- Soil type: Roses like a rich, loamy soil. It is very important that your soil drains well, in order to ensure that the roots do not stay soaking wet.
- Mulch: Mulching is very important. It keeps the soil cool in summer and warm in winter. It retains moisture, controls weak growth, and renews and rebuilds the humus content of the soil around the plants. We recommend using G&B Organics Soil Building Conditioner or a bark product like Sierra® Walk on Bark.
These quick soil tips will help your roses to reach their full potential.
Roses are best off with deep, infrequent watering. This is where well-draining soil will prove beneficial for your plants.
- Water thoroughly: Give your roses a thorough, deep watering once a week from early spring to fall. Pay attention to any roses you have in containers, since the moisture will be depleted more quickly.
- Adjust for the season: Roses can take lots of water during the growing season if the drainage is good, but will not tolerate wet feet in the winter. You should not have to water your plants until there is at least 6 inches of new growth and the soil starts to dry out. Avoid watering at night to cut down on fungus and disease.
Understanding the water requirements for your roses throughout the year will pay off with healthy bushes and beautiful blossoms when the growing season comes.
Now that your roses are growing, they'll need a bit of maintenance to ensure that they keep thriving. Here are some quick guidelines for rose care:
- Fertilize. Roses are heavy feeders and need food to get the maximum bloom, but not in the winter dormant season. The rule of thumb is to give them their first feeding in March or when the rose has six inches of new growth (whichever happens first). After that, feeding every two months through October is recommended. For the best organic results, use G&B Organics Rose & Flower Food.
- Prune. In San Diego, pruning is best done around January. As a general rule, one should cut out the old wood, keep the new wood, and above all, retain the symmetrical shape of the plant. New wood is generally almost all green, second year growth is green with grey or brown streaks, and third year wood (the stuff you want to cut off) is almost solid wood-looking with very little green. The remaining new wood should be cut back at least half the length of its growth during the previous season but not be pruned below 18 inches in height. Each cut should be made a quarter-inch above an eye facing the outside. Weak wood and crossed branches should also be removed. Plants pruned severely will produce fewer, but higher quality blooms. Moderate pruning will result in a greater abundance of blooms.
- Spray. Like all living plants, roses may be attacked by insects and fungus diseases. It is important to apply one application of dormant spray to each rose. A good copper fungicide such as Monterey® Liqui-Cop, combined with a spray oil such as Monterey Horticultural Oil may be used to control both over-wintering insects and diseases in a single spraying.
MAINTAINING ROSES ALL YEAR LONG
Spring: When pruning is complete, carefully rake up and discard all pruned material, including leaves and old mulch, and toss all out with the trash. This will discourage diseases and insects. If you have been troubled by fungus diseases on your roses, a spring spray of lime sulfur will kill the over-wintered spores of black spot and mildew.
Summer: Water! Roses are very thirsty plants. Adjust your sprinkler systems to increase either the duration or the frequency of your water cycle in the rose garden. If you hand water, soak them well at least three times a week…more if the heat really goes up. Add a nice mulchy, organic, soil additive around your roses such as Gardner & Bloome Soil Building Compost. Prune 1/3 of the bush toward the end of August to promote a good fall bloom. Spray with a good organic fungicide and insecticide combination to fight summer rose pests and summer plagues such as rust and black spot. Last but not least, enjoy your roses!
Fall: Fall is one of the best blooming seasons for roses. Remove faded flowers, cutting back to at least the first leaf with five leaflets. Roses can be lightly sheared after blooms fade. Water regularly and deeply; at least once a week in most areas but more frequently in the hottest climates. Replenish mulches to conserve water and reduce weeds. Fertilizing and protecting roses from late season insects and diseases is also very important.
Winter: As your roses enter the dormant season, remember to prune and spray, as well as add mulch when necessary. Avoid watering at night to minimize the risk of fungus and disease.
Keep these guidelines in mind and you'll be soon be growing and enjoying your own beautiful roses!