Roses have long been admired for their fragrance and symbolic, beautiful flowers. In Florida these lovely plants will bloom year-round, making them a wonderful addition to any garden. The key to growing roses successfully in Florida is to select a rose variety that has demonstrated superior pest tolerance and landscape performance in Florida gardens.
The ‘Knock-Out’ series of roses and the ‘Drift Rose’ series are easy to grow and disease resistant. These low maintenance roses are shrub like and produce an open, informal bloom in repeat cycles of about every five weeks throughout the year. A personal favorite is the drift rose, especially the peach and coral colors.
Hybrid tea, grandiflora, floribunda and polyantha are rose varieties that produce an assortment of lovely, florist quality blooms. Certain cultivars of these roses will perform very well in Florida when they have been grafted during nursery production onto a hardy, proven rootstock such as the favored Fortuniana rootstock. The Fortuniana rootstock’s nematode resistant, extensive root system has successfully adapted to our soil and is a superior rootstock for providing the water and nutrients necessary for the success and long term survival of these hybrid roses.
Successful rose plants begin by selecting the right cultivar. Secondly, the rose must be planted in a location which will provide it with at least six hours of daily sunlight. It should be planted with enriched, high quality soil and the root ball should be one to two inches above grade. Roses require regular watering and soil with good drainage. They will perform best with monthly fertilization, preferably with a controlled release fertilizer containing micro-elements and formulated for roses.
Most importantly, when gardening with these lovely plants, “take time to smell the roses”.