Take your pick from thousands of bare-root roses this season

When planting roses in the garden, get them watered-in right away and add some transplant fertilizer.

It’s that time of year when garden centers fill their benches back up with a new crop of bare-root roses. Our crews have spent the last several weeks carefully pruning and planting several thousand of them so they can be taken home and lovingly planted in your gardens.

Please remember that roses are seasonal, and they are only ordered once a year. So when they are gone, they are gone until next year.

Here are some tips on how to grow fabulous roses in our maritime climate:

All of the varieties that we carry in the nursery are well suited for our climate, but if you see “disease resistant” on the label, you can be assured that they will do especially well. If you have roses that seem to be prone to diseases, don’t be afraid to tear them out or be willing to spray them several times a year.

A category of roses called landscape or shrub roses is almost completely disease-free and bullet-proof in the garden. Many of the Rugosas are also disease free.

We have so many wonderful varieties to choose from these days, you are sure to find one (or many!) that catch your eye and scream “Take me home!” Once you’ve selected those lucky few to bring home, set them in a very sunny location with good air circulation.

The roses have already been pruned, so you don’t have to worry about that.

When planting this time of year, expect some soil to fall away from the roots. Get them watered-in immediately and add some transplant fertilizer. You also can add a rose-planting soil mix to help them adjust to their new home.

For established roses, fertilize this month with an organic rose food — two cups isn’t too much since it acts very slowly — by scratching it into the soil around the base of the rose. Repeat this procedure after the first flush of blooms in late June. One more fertilization in late August completes the cycle.

When watering, roses respond best to watering from below. Make a watering well or basin around each plant — it’s an easy way to properly give them water. You should only have to fill it once or twice a month in the hot season.

The spring has a tendency to bring up some disease issues. The trick is to spray before you see any disease. It’s a whole lot easier to prevent mildew and black spot than it is to cure it. You can spray a fungicide after you see 6 to 8 inches of new growth. You should only need to spray three times a year, if done right. Do not spray Rugosa roses, as they will burn.

Spring also tends to bring up bug issues. You can try hosing off any infestations. There’s a great selection of natural and synthetic products you can use occasionally to help control those unwanted bugs. Bonide Rose RX (which contains neem oil, an oil extract from the seeds of the neem tree) is a helpful option that we recommend in the nursery. Releasing lady bugs is also a natural way to help.

In late May or early June, plan on picking some beautiful bouquets from your garden. Mix in some summer-blooming perennials and you’ll have a stunning, proudly homegrown lovely bouquet — to keep for yourself or share with a loved one.Tip: Nearly everybody loves a freshly picked, grown-with-love bouquet!

Once the romance of a blooming rose bush is gone, help them rest so they can be their best the following year. Around Thanksgiving, mulch your roses and prune them back to 2 feet tall for the winter. In mid to late March, finish the winter pruning by selecting four or five strong canes and cutting out any dead wood or crossing branches. Just remember: “Hip high in the fall, knee high in the spring.”

Roses are a classic addition to any garden or landscape. Have fun with the varieties you choose — and don’t be afraid to ask your local garden center staff for any help or information along the way!

Steve Smith is the owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville and can be reached at info@sunnysidenursery.net.

Garden roses

Attend a free class all about growing roses 10 a.m. Feb. 22 at Sunnyside Nursery, 3915 Sunnyside Blvd., Marysville. For more information or to sign up, visit www.sunnysidenursery.net.

Talk to us

More in Life

You’ve never seen anything like this woman’s crafting room

Everett resident and retired teacher Melissa Halferty loves all things red, vintage and Frida Kahlo.

Sarah Feinberg will perform as SYLVI, her solo singer-songwriter project, for Everett Music Initiative’s HOMEBODIES streaming series. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)
Streaming concerts help fill a local music void in Everett

HOMEBODIES, hosted by Everett Music Initiative’s Facebook page, will feature performances by local artists.

Four easy-to-grow vegetables you should plant in your garden

If you plant these perennial crops now, you’ll be harvesting their bounty by next year. And every year after that.

Videos offer virtual art lessons during coronavirus shutdown

Mukilteo resident Christine Awad Schmalz is posting instructional videos twice a week on Facebook.

Great Plant Pick: Crocus ‘Goldilocks,’ Goldilocks crocus

This large-flowering bulb features golden blooms with a splash of burgundy on the outer petals.

Pottery sandwich looks good enough to eat — except for the frog

This David Gilhooly sculpture sold for $2,125. He added frogs to his artwork as a running joke.

‘Queen of bluegrass’ to perform in Darrington this summer

Rhonda Vincent is among the headliners who will play at the Darrington Bluegrass Festival July 17-19.

What to stream: ‘Mark Ruffalo Investigates’ movie marathon

Watch “Zodiac,” “Spotlight” and “Dark Waters,” in which the actor plays real-life investigators.

The Camano Wildlife Habitat Project will host a presentation on “Gardening for Pollinators and Birds,” April 15 on Camano Island. (Mike Benbow)
Home and garden events and resources around Snohomish County

Events listed here are scheduled to happen after April 6, when Gov.… Continue reading

Most Read