Tips for Planting a Rose in the Lehigh Valley Area, Zone 6b

Roses are easier to grow than ever.  Hybridizers are producing beautiful fragrant roses that are disease resistance.  Here are six tips to grow healthy roses in the Lehigh Valley area.

1. Choose a rose:  a rose is essentially a flowering shrub.  So keep size in mind when selecting.  Make sure the rose is hardy to zone 6.  Decide which is most important: fragrance, color, amount of thorns, disease-resistance, type of rose.

2. Location:  full sun (4-8 hours).  If shade is inevitable, morning sun with afternoon shade is preferred over morning shade with afternoon sun.

3.  Planting:  Potted roses can be planted most any time of the year, though LVRS recommends planting in the spring and late summer, due to our hot (and often dry) July and August.  Bare root roses should be planted as quickly as possible, and are generally shipped in early spring.  Roses sold in bags should be planted in the spring.

4.  Planting, part 2:  Dig a hole 18" wide and deep.  Add 50% compost to the soil.  Carefully place the rose in the hole so that the bud union is at grade, or that the crown is at grade.  Planting lower is better than planting higher.  Water the rose and add soil if needed.  Mulch is helpful to preserve soil moisture.

5. Water.  Much of the Lehigh Valley has clay soil.  If you hit water when you dug your 18" hole, you will need to be careful about watering: too much and your roots will rot.  In general, 1" of water a week is sufficient for a new rose planted in native soil.  Established roses rarely need watering (due to all that clay!).  Roses planted in raised beds or containers will require weekly watering.

6. Fertilizing.  LVRS has its own custom organic fertilizer with mycorrhizal fungi to help root growth.  While roses will live without feeding, routine applications of an organic fertilizer 4-6 times during the season will ensure your rose reblooms with vigor.

7. Pruning.  Roses bloom on new wood.  Pruning in the spring around the time that the forsythia blooms is a good way to rejuvenate your rose.  Different types of roses are pruned differently, so contact LVRS for help with how to prune your particular rose.

8.  Enjoy!  And then start planning where to plant your next rose!

If you have questions, or want to learn more about the care and cultivation of roses, join LVRS and ARS!  We love to talk roses, compare notes and find out what new things are happening in the world of roses.

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