How to Grow Roses
Rose hips are the fruits of the rose plant. Rose hips are typically orange-red in color, can be consumed fresh, but are more often processed into various jams, jellies and similar.
Any larger quantities of rose hips are collected in rose gardens and from wild roses.
Roses are one of the most common flowers found in small gardens and backyards. They can be grown on permanent location or in the pots and containers, alone or with many other companion plants.
There are three main groups of roses: species (wild) roses, old garden roses and modern roses.
Wild roses are climbing or shrub-like roses that often bloom only in late spring and early summer and have fruits (hips) in autumn.
Old garden roses are in general easy to grow, they are disease-resistant, relatively winter-hardy and grow in several shrub and vine sizes. They have wonderful and pleasant perfume, something not often found in modern roses.
Any rose identified after 1867, is considered as a 'modern rose'. Modern roses are result of various crossbreeding of the hybrid tea roses. The colors are varied and often very rich. Although modern roses are preferred by small gardeners due to many reasons, such roses do require proper care.
Soil Preparation for Growing Roses
Roses prefer sunny positions with loamy soil, rich in nutrients and organic matter. Soil should drain well - roses don't like 'wet feet' and when grown in such conditions, they are prone to diseases and root rot. Also, when growing roses on permanent positions, keep in mind that strong winds can damage the plants and such windy positions should be avoided.
Soil should have pH between 6.3 and 6.8 - roses will tolerate anything between 5.5 and 7, but optimal pH is around 6.5. If you have heavy, alkaline soil and want to grow roses, feel free to add plenty of aged manure, compost and humus and even some sand (but not much) and till everything at least 30cm (12 inches) deep.
Roses are strong feeders and they benefit from periodic fertilization, but too much nitrogen at once should be avoided - in such conditions, roses can grow big, but they are weak and prone to diseases and pests.
In late winter, add aged manure and compost/humus to the plants, add some balanced NPK fertilizer (for example 10-10-10, or 8-10-12 or similar) and till the soil. When roses start to bloom, add some, for example, liquid fertilizer every month to promote growth and blooming.
Note that contact between aged manure and NPK fertilizers with rose plant should be avoided, while humus/compost can't hurt the plant.
In the autumn, some 4-5 weeks before first frost, add again some aged manure and compost/manure - roses are still growing, but they feel that winter is coming and they are preparing themselves for colder days. These nutrients will help roses to grow stronger and to better cope with winter and frost.
Mulching protects soil from the sun, keeps the moisture and prevents most of the weeds. Also, good mulch in contact with the soil starts to decompose, and feeds the roses.
Watering the Roses
Roses like moist soil, but they don't like waterlogged soil. During summer heat, watering 2 or 3 times per week, with 2-3 cm (1 inch) if water is required. If your soil is very sandy and doesn't retain moisture well, water more often - such soil can be improved by adding compost, humus and other types of organic matter.
Roses grown in pots and containers, during summer heat and periods of strong growth, can be watered practically on a daily basis.
How to Prune Roses
Roses are pruned when required. Removing old flowers stimulates growth of new once - this prevents gardener from growing rose hips, but roses are often grown only as decorative plants. When grown for rose hips, flowers must be left.
When pruning, remove everything that is broken, ill or shouldn't grow where it is growing - rose bushes should not be grown too dense.
Strongest pruning should be done late in winter and in early spring when rose is still dormant.
Roses During Winter
Before first frost, especially in colder areas, roses should be protect from cold wind and frost. The easiest method is using straw and plastic nets - straw act as thermal insulation, while nets keep straw firmly placed.
Sturdier varieties can be protected only with nets and can survive winter easily - snow on the net, if not too heavy acts as additional insulation. Too much snow, on the other hand, can break branches and should be removed.
If grown in pots, roses during winter should be moved indoors, in area that is not heated, but protected from low temperatures.
Note: plants grown in pots, that are left outdoors, must have really good drainage and insulated not only plants, but pots as well - frozen water/moisture in the soil can damage the roots and even kill the plants.
Pests and Diseases
There are numerous pests that attack roses, aphid being the biggest problem. Aphids like roses that grow in nitrogen rich soil - such roses can grow really fast and tall, so be sure not to overfeed the roses with too much nitrogen. Also, having ladybugs, green lacewings and similar insects can help fight aphids and similar pests. After all, few bugs can't hurt healthy and strong rose plant.
However, when attack is too strong, insecticides must be used - use them very carefully, especially if roses are grown for food (rose hips) and not only as decorative plants. If roses are grown for rose hip production, choose insecticides that are intended for vegetables like tomatoes and similar.
Anyway, such chemicals kill good insects, too!