Plant roses far enough apart and prune out stems from the center of each plant so that there is plenty of air circulation. This can help prevent black spot, rust, and powdery mildew.
To help get rid of powdery mildew, you can clean off your roses thoroughly with a strong spray of water from a hose in the summer. Hosing should be done when powdery mildew starts, but after black spot season is over, and should be repeated every three to five days. This cleaning will also wash off most aphids.
Then it is essential to pick up all fallen parts (petals, leaves, and cuttings) since they can harbor fungi and pests that will reinfect your plants. This debris should not be composted but should be disposed of.
One good spray for black spot consists of a tablespoon of baking soda , a tablespoon of vegetable oil, and two drops of dishwashing liquid in a gallon of water. Be sure to shake well before spraying. Another spray consists of a clove of garlic chopped and added to a gallon of water. Or, you can get Soap-Shield Fungicidal Soap already made, which controls black spot, powdery mildew, and rust; and is rain resistant, all natural, and environmentally friendly.
When spraying, be sure to get the undersides of the leaves as well as the tops, and do this early on a sunny day so the water has plenty of time to dry. Spray roses every week or two until there is no more sign of disease.
Fungi and aphids can remain over the winter and come back to life again in the spring. To control that, remove all the old mulch from around the roses at the first sign of spring and replace it with fresh mulch or compost, although compost will help to smother and kill the problem much better than mulch. Continue to remove the old material once a month until winter.
Aphids can leave honeydew on roses, resulting in the growth of sooty mold, which attracts ants and blackens leaves. A severe infestation can lead to drying and curling of new leaves, and can even prevent buds from opening. After hosing, Home lady beetles (ladybugs) and/or Green Lacewings can be released on the rose plants to eat the aphids. You can fill your garden with live bugs that arrive in the mail.
Aphids attack when a plant’s resistance is low, and regular fertilizing can help to prevent this. But, over fertilizing can also bring aphids, so moderation is best. Seaweed is best for adding potassium, and rabbit droppings are high in nitrogen. (If you don’t live near the ocean, you can get kelp meal ). Dried coffee grounds and ground egg shells make good fertilizer for roses. For those that don’t drink coffee or just need more coffee grounds, some coffee houses are happy to give theirs away. Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) promotes stronger, sturdier stems, richer green foliage and deeper, richer colors in roses.
According to Rose Magazine, you can make your roses unpalatable to aphids and other pests is by spraying them with a solution of a half water and half Listerine . You can also make your own insecticide by adding one garlic bulb to two cups of water. This should be put in the blender, or you can purchase crushed garlic. The mixture must set for a day or two and then be strained before use. Add the garlic water to a gallon of water and spray it on the tops and bottoms of leaves.
Planting garlic, onions, chives, marigolds, petunias, lavender, or chrysanthemums in with your roses will help to keep pests away.
Natural Rose Garden
Rose plants will develop mildew if you get the leaves wet too late in the day for all of the water to dry before the cool of the evening. If your area is hot or dry enough that roses need to be watered in the afternoon, water only the ground around the plants instead.
Never touch roses (the flowers), as this will discolor the petals.
Where the weather gets very cold in the winter, it is best to prune roses in the late fall. The branches should be cut close to the ground. In areas where the winters are mild, you do not have to go through a period without blooming roses. In this case, “prune” your roses weekly–each time you get a dead bloom. Simply cut that branch as far back as possible to leave one full leaf set (three on some roses and five on others), cutting just above this leaf set.
Roses grow best with heat. Plant them next to the house wall (on the sunny side) or any concrete wall. Where you have roses in the open, add a layer of small rocks around the plants. The sun will heat the rocks.
To keep your rose garden virtually free or weeds and grass, put down a weed barrier mat . Place your roses on top until you find a pattern that you like, then make a cut in the fabric so you can plant each one. The mat between roses can be hidden with mulch or bark. For an established rose garden, you can place the weed mat between plants, getting as close each rose as possible.
A yard full of rose blooms is very pretty, but feel free to cut some and bring them in to also beautify the house. The more you cut roses, the more blooms you’ll get in return. So feel free to pamper yourself.
Shop at garage sales and thrift stores to pick up all the cheap vases you can. A few cut roses and some greenery in a vase are a welcome surprise for anyone in the hospital, sick at home, celebrating a birthday, or just lonely.