Time to Plant Roses and Other Flowers for Spring Color
Planting roses or maintaining those you have yields many years of beautiful bushes when cared for properly. Flowers add such a blast of color and fragrance that is worthwhile as you enjoy your own landscaping or entertain. Now is a great time and perfect weather to enjoy the easy steps outlined. If you are tired of plants that froze, try some listed below.
Rose Care in the Desert
If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to prepare your roses for spring growth. There are a few important tasks you should undertake to assure your roses a vigorous rebirth.
Roses like rich, organic, slightly acidic, well-drained soil. First, acidify our alkaline soil using water soluble soil acidifier. Second, mulch around the plants with mulch to provide the organic material necessary for building a healthy soil structure.
Fertilize your roses so that they have the nutrients necessary for them to sustain the heavy growth and flowering of the coming year. Our desert soil is particularly lacking in the macro-nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus. Roses also need several micro-nutrients, (including magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, molybdenum and boron) which are of limited availability in our alkaline soil. One of the most popular rose fertilizers is Magnum Grow Rose Food.
As the year progresses, fertilize your roses every four to six weeks. Put out ladybugs now to help with aphids during warm weather and signs of rust or mildew. Green Light Rose Defense is an efficient organic product containing Neem oil and works as both an insecticide and fungicide. If your flowers open up and appear to be burned around the edges you probably have in infestation of thrips. Thrips are tiny insects that get into
the flower bud while it is at an early stage. One of the best controls for thrip is Bayer Systemic Rose Food.
Removing spent blooms throughout the year is called “dead-heading” and is essential for the vigor of roses. There is a lot of mystique about how to prune roses in season, but the most important thing to remember is that when you take off the stem, you do so immediately above an outside facing leaf bud. Keep dead leaves cleaned up from around the base.
Now that you’ve devoted all that care and attention, they’ll reward you with a long season of beauty and delightful fragrance. So sit back and enjoy and pick some to beautify your home.
Spring & Summer Annual Flowers
Its time to plant spring and summer flowers. But, before you decide just what to plant, prepare your soil to provide an anchor for roots, a reservoir for moisture and store the nutrients necessary for healthy plant growth. Unless you are a newcomer to Arizona gardening, you know that our arid soil is extremely alkaline and contains little organic matter. Yet, with the proper soil preparation these problems are easily overcome.
Our high alkalinity frequently gives us pH values of 8.0 or above. Nutrients needed for plant growth are more readily available when the soil pH is neutral, or 7.0. We have fabulous results with water soluble soil acidifier. It breaks apart the heavy clay and caliche particles and allows for the drainage of salts. Once these salts are beyond the root zone, the plant takes up the nutrients and has a far better chance of staying healthy. Typical application rate is .5 to one pound per 100 square feet of planting area but a laboratory soil test (available at local nurseries) will tell you exactly what and how much your soil needs.
Solve the problem of too little organic matter by the simple process of adding mulch to our beds. In sandy soils, mulch helps in retaining moisture and in clay soils, it aids in aeration. As a top dressing, it helps to retard weed growth, cools the soil in hot weather and helps to prevent evaporation.
Composted leaves (“green waste”) are adequate if properly composted, but decompose rapidly. Manure is usually too high in salts.
After planting, topically apply Flower Power 15-15-15. This fertilizer is a balanced slow-release blend of essential nutrients. The typical application rate is .5 to one pound of fertilizer per 100 square feet of garden space. Many of today’s flower varieties perform better with regular feeding. The nutrients will ensure healthy growth and heavy bloom and will last from 60-90 days before you next need to fertilize.
Once your beds are prepared your next step is to choose your beautiful spring and summer flowers.