Here are some great Tips and Tricks from South Florida Rosarians and Growers!
Plant a biodiverse garden. If you only plan for a “Roses Only” type garden, you will probably be endlessly disappointed. Roses in South Florida are fabulous from November through May, but June through October is often another story entirely between blackspot and Chili Thrips and annual prunings. If you have a biodiverse garden where roses are merely one element in a broader design palette that includes annuals, perennials, and even some shrubs and small ornamental trees, you’ll have (a) backup beauty when your roses aren’t looking 100% (note I said “when”, not “if”), (b) beautiful visual complements for the roses when they ARE at their best, and (c) it’s better for the environment and all the little critters that live our their whole lives in our gardens. Win-win for all involved. – Victor Lazzari
Don’t cut roses in the South Florida summer. When we cut roses in the summer, the tender new growth that results from cutting attracts every insect in the state to your rose garden. The energy the plant spends on producing new growth in our hot, humid summers is wasted on spindly stems and inferior blooms and causes stress to the plants. – Debbie Coolidge
Choose the right size pot. Smaller roses should be kept in smaller pots especially in rainy season as the roots could rot in a larger pot that doesn’t dry out. Another option is to plant your smaller pot inside a larger pot if you need it for display. This way, when it’s ready for the larger pot, just lift out the smaller pot, remove the rose and place it in the hole that was already there. Perfect fit. – Denise Abruzzese
During summer, keep the leaves. Summers in Florida are stressful for roses. Be sure to leave lots of mature green leaves on your plants. The leaves help cool your roses in the brutal heat of the summer as well as help remove the extra water in the soil from the heavy summer rains. Leaves also produce energy through photosynthesis which is used for flowers in the winter months but is stored in the plants stems in the summer. – Geoff Coolidge
Research your roses before buying. Know your climate (South Florida is either Zone 10a or 10b, hot and humid). Choose your roses based on health, heat tolerance, and ‘Florida’ size. Don’t believe what the rose catalogs say on mature size. Here in Florida, roses tend to grow bigger and taller if they can tolerate the heat. Roses on Fortuniana root stock also tend to be more vigorous and definitely larger. Check with our Rosarians or other South Florida growers as to the actual size of a particular, mature rose in our climate. If in doubt, add another 2 to 4 feet in size. Plan and plant accordingly. – Kim Wendt
Hard prune between late January and early February in South Florida. This is a great time to do some major cutting. Reducing the size of the established bushes by one-third to one-half will be of benefit to them. Young or small bushes should only be lightly trimmed. Pruning can be a daunting task for novice rose growers. However, pruning does a favor to your rose bushes and they handle it quite well. I have never lost a rose bush due to pruning. – Bill Langford