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(ARA) - It's summer and roses are blooming all over. During the summer months, this ever-popular flower is at the height of blossoming. And with plenty of sunshine and good growing conditions, roses can add elegance to any landscape.
America is one great rose garden. These intriguing, addictive plants thrive in every growing zone, from the dry heat of the Southwest to the cool damp of the Pacific Northwest to the protective snow pack of the Northeast. They combine their exceptional beauty with durable versatility.
So forget the scary stories about temperamental, delicate plants. Roses are sturdy, unfussy garden additions. Get started with roses by consulting a basic handbook on varieties and essential care. Roses are now available in an astonishing variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Visit local nurseries and botanical gardens for a look at living plants. Evaluate your site for soil and light and for the effect you desire: Do you want a rose hedge or climbers for a fence, for example.
There are volumes of theories on rose care, but you can begin on the assumption that roses require sun and water. Choose a site with moist, well-drained soil, preferably in full sun, and provide plenty of water and nutrients.
Enjoy the fruits of your labor during summertime gatherings. Fresh cut roses are the perfect addition to any celebration. Mixing red, yellow, pink and peach roses in a colored glass vase or stylish ceramic container adds elegance and charm. For cut roses:
-- Remove any leaves from the roses that might fall below the waterline when placed in the vase, as they will promote bacterial growth.
-- To extend the life of the roses, use a sharp knife or shears to cut an inch from the bottom of the stem while holding it under water. Cutting stems under water prevents air from blocking the flow of water to the head of the bud.
-- Place roses loosely, yet evenly spaced in the vase
-- Place the vase in a cool spot, away from direct sunlight and appliances that give off heat.
-- Add warm water to the vase every day. Always keep the vase full.
In honor of the rose, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM is offering special savings on roses during July and August. Visit 1800flowers.com to get all of the details.
Don't let the delicate appearance fool you! These little gems are hardy enough to grow outdoors in zones 6-10 without winter protection, and with a good cover of mulch they will survive winters as far north as zone 4. Miniature roses are surprisingly easy to grow, and they look great as edgings for your beds or borders, accent plants for rock gardens, and as houseplants.
Miniature roses range in size from the micro-minis which grow to about five inches, up to a height four feet or more. The flowers are from 1/2 inch to two inches in diameter, and the range of colors is similar to that of full-sized roses. Most types will bloom from spring until frost. Unfortunately, miniature roses have little or no fragrance.
When grown indoors as pot plants, miniature roses need a little special care. Even when grown in the sunniest window, they will usually need supplemental light. You will know your rose isn't getting enough light when the stems seem to stretch out leaving wide spaces between the leaves.
Miniature roses also need lots of humidity if kept indoors. Set your pot in a tray of pebbles and water. The pebbles will support the pot above the water level so the soil doesn't become waterlogged. As it evaporates, the water will provide the plant with extra humidity. If you house is very dry, run a cool-mist vaporizer now and then.
Spider mites and whiteflies are drawn to indoor miniature roses. To reduce the chances of these pests attacking your plants, give them a weekly shower. Take care to thoroughly rinse both the tops and the undersides of the leaves. To treat whiteflies, use an insecticidal soap at five day intervals or spray with a solution of four parts water to three parts rubbing alcohol -- add a squirt of dish soap for good measure -- and keep the plant out of the light until the alcohol dries completely.
Soap spray and alcohol spray also work for spider mites, and you might also try buttermilk spray: mix 1/2 cup buttermilk with 4 cups wheat flour to 5 gallons of water. Quarantine infested plants until you are sure that the insects are irradiated. In extreme cases, you can strip the leaves off the plant and cut it back by half. Don't worry, you won't kill it, and you'll soon see signs of new growth.
For the best blooms, use a fertilizer that is high in potassium. The last number in the N-P-K ratio indicates the amount of potassium, and an N-P-K ratio of 5-5-10 is a good choice. Mix the fertilizer to about 1/4 strength and use it once a week.
After your roses spend a season indoors, it's best to plant them outdoors and get new, disease and pest-free plants to use indoors. They can be planted directly in the garden or kept in containers, but remember that outdoor plants in small containers can dry out quickly. Harden them off before placing them outdoors permanently.
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Roses should be cut early in the morning while there's still dew on the leaves. The reason is, the flowers are full of moisture after having had all night to pull water up from the roots. If you cut late in the day, the flowers will have lost most of their moisture through transpiration. So, to extend the life of the roses, cut them early in the day.
The propagation of Roses. Boy this must be hard to do. Roses are a mystery to many gardeners. Something so beautiful must be really difficult to grow from cuttings, at least so think some gardeners. This is not the case at all. Roses are actually quite easy to propagate if you give them a fair chance.
A fair chance is nothing more than creating an environment that will sustain them while they establish roots. It is a natural process for a piece of a plant that has been separated from the rest of the plant to immediately begin every effort to establish new roots to stay alive. Of course without any help from you this is not going to happen, but with your help it can, and will happen quite quickly.
Roses, like all plants, have certain basic needs that must be met during the rooting process. Since the cutting you are trying to propagate has no roots, it has no way of picking up water, something that is very important to the cutting's survival. So you must create conditions around the cutting of very high humidity. As close to 100% humidity as possible.
One easy way to do this is to make a mini propagation hut by sticking the cutting in a flat, or right in the soil and cover it with a mason jar. Of course you must be careful of exactly where you choose to root this cutting. The cutting needs some sunlight, but too much sun shining through the mason jar will cause the cutting to become over heated. An area that is at least partial shade works best.
The soil in which you stick this cutting should be moist but not wet. Coarse sand or potting soil mixed 50/50 with perlite should work fine. A sterile soil mix is best because you are creating humid conditions that are great for growing all kinds of fungus etc. Starting with sterile soil gives your cuttings a fair chance.
Dipping the cutting in a rooting compound after it has been lightly scored down one side will also help to induce rooting much quicker. You score the cutting to expose the cambium layer which is the layer of tissue just below the bark. From this cambium layer is where the rooting will take place. Scoring the cutting can be done by lightly scraping the bark on one side of the cutting. This would should be about ½-1" in length from the bottom of the cutting up. The cutting should be 4-5" long if possible. Remove the leaves from the bottom of the cutting, but leave as many leaves as possible near the top. The leaves are necessary for food and hormone production while the rooting takes place.
Follow these propagation tips and your rose cuttings should root quite well. The length of time it takes them to root is determined by a lot of factors, such as the variety of the rose, and the temperature of the soil and the air. To learn more about creating the ideal environment for rooting rose cuttings as well as many other cuttings visit the freeplants.com home page.