Roses have long been admired for their fragrance and beautiful flowers. We can successfully grow roses in South Florida depending on the variety that is selected. Even better, many of these roses will bloom year-round, making them a wonderful addition to any garden. The key to growing roses successfully is to select a rose variety that has demonstrated superior pest tolerance and landscape performance in our unique climate and soil conditions.
The Drift and SunRosa roses have been developed to perform well in our hot, rainy and humid summers. They come in various colors and fragrances, and will grow to 2 ½ feet making them an ideal border plant with color. The ‘Knock-Out’ series of roses are also hardy and can bloom throughout the year. Belinda’s Dream is our favorite fragrant shrub rose. The Don Juan, mini-rose, and Louise Phillipe are great rose climbers. These low maintenance roses produce open, informal blooms in repeat cycles throughout the year.
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 Fortuniana rootstock. This is a hardy, proven Florida rootstock, resisting nematode infestation while developing an extensive root system to provide the water and nutrients necessary for long term success.
After selecting the right cultivar, 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, 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 regular fertilization, preferably with a controlled-release fertilizer containing all 16 elements and microelements, specifically formulated for our climate and soil. Our preference is Nurseryman’s Sure-gro 6-8-10 rose fertilizer which is a highly effective 60 day product used in some of the most prestigious rose gardens throughout Florida
Most importantly, when gardening with these lovely plants, “take time to smell the roses.”