Don’t you just love receiving flowers, especially roses from your special someone or someones? Valentine’s day is the arbitrary day to do just that and this day reminds me to tend to my own roses!

February is easy to remember as the month to take extra special care of roses. Planting in February gives the rose rootball plenty of cool weather to take hold and gain strength before its first blooming in spring. Plant rosebushes so the top of the rootball is level with the soil in the bed. Roses do better with good air circulation, so make sure they are not crowded by other plants. Be sure to trim or snip back shoots or branches from any other nearby plants that are growing into the rose’s space.

Prune during the middle part of this month. Cut hybrid teas, grandifloras, and floribundas back to a height of 2-3 feet, or at least cut the bush back to about 1/3 to 1/2 its height. Old garden roses, shrub roses, miniatures and climbers can be pruned back sparingly just to control their size. Prune out any dead wood or canes, excessive shoots sprouting in the center of the bush, and excessively long branches. Be sure to prune so that the roses have plenty of air flow through the center of the plant.

Fertilize your roses as well at this time. If your roses have blackspot, collect and dispose of leaves as they yellow and fall. Continue this sanitary practice throughout the growing season. Enjoy the glorious blooms and be rewarded for all your attentive gardening!

Will you be brave enough to plant a rose this year?

A single flower he sent me, since we met.

All tenderly his messenger he chose;

Deep hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet –

One perfect rose.

Dorothy Parker

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