Saturday, September 11, 2010

Late summer roses

Roses are one of the most drought resistant plants available but when the summer temps get really hot, the flowers are minimal. In late summer and early fall, however, they usually bounce back with blooms that hang on until the first frost. This is especially true for the older roses. The above is "Weeping China Doll", a polyantha rose that is very easy to grow. I grow it as a stand-alone shrub but I've seen it grown as a climber.

To get more fall blooms, trim back roses in mid-summer and continue fertilizing through August. As fall approaches, stop giving roses fertilizer because this will prompt them to put out growth that will be nipped by frost.

"Weeping China Doll" is a very dense, twiggy rose. For a rose like this, I cut it back with hedge shears or the electric trimmer. It sounds brutal but it won't hurt the rose.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

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