The Growing of Roses
STATE OF FLORIDA
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
NATHAN MAYO, Commissioner
I I -, I -*,, -"*,I r-)" "t' IM16
Locating the Rose Garden ------- --- ---.----- 5
Preparation of the Soil _--- ---- ------ 7
Drainage ------------------------ 9
"Own-Root" or "Grafted" Roses -------- 10
Rose Races or Groups .-----...--------------. 12
Selection of Varieties -------------- 15
Novelties ...........--.-----------------. 15
Standard Sorts --.....--.------------------- - 19
Planting Suggestions ..-----.-----------20
Fertilizing and Summer Care .----.-----------. 22
Pruning ...----.---...-------------------- 24
Diseases of Roses .---....-..----------.-----.-- 25
Insect Enemies of Roses -------- 27
In Conclusion .....---------------. --.-------- 27
The Growing of Roses in Florida
`, Edited by Ralph Stoutamire
Even with its tremendous wealth of plants and flowers,
o '2Florida is generally supposed to be poorly suited to the
growing of roses. And the experiences of many who have
Attempted to grow roses here which they grew in other
states apparently have justified this supposition. The rose
family, however, is extremely large and diverse, and for-
tunately there are many members of it which not only may
be expected to do well with us, but which really are better
suited to this region than to others. As these facts become
more generally known, rose culture in Florida may be ex-
pected to make rapid strides.
But it is true there are certain disadvantages to the grow-
ing of roses in this state. Such disadvantages are poor soil,
common prevalence of the nematode which causes the dis-
ease known as root-knot, and hot, humid summers which
are hard on roses generally and on northern varieties par-
ticularly. However, means have been found to overcome
these difficulties. Then we have the advantage of being
able to cut quantities of blooming roses during our winters,
while most of the rest of the United States is wrapped in
snow and sleet.
LOCATING THE ROSE GARDEN
Roses can be used in so many ways around the home that
before purchasing your plants it is well to give some con-
sideration to where to plant them. Roughly, however,
these uses fall into two main groups: Roses for strictly cut-
flower purposes, and roses for garden ornamentation.
Heretofore the former has generally prevailed, but with the
increasing interest in beautification, as sponsored by our
garden clubs, more and more interest is being shown in the
growing of roses for landscaping or ground ornamentation.
In locating a rose bed for strictly cutting purposes, do
not place it in the middle of the front lawn or in any other
prominent position where it might detract from the beauty
of the grounds. Rather locate it in a secluded place where
full care can be devoted to its development without the ne-
cessity of considering its relation to the beauty of the
grounds as a whole. A naturally rich, damp soil is prefer-
red, but it must have ample drainage.
An abundance of light is essential as roses will not do
well in shady places. Quite frequently roses for cutting
6 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
purposes are planted in the vegetable garden, which suits
them admirably. If the grounds are too restricted to afford
such a space, a rose bed may be created in the back yard or
against the garage or boundary fence, but the requirement
of ample light must be remembered. The difficulties of
soil and drainage may be overcome, as will be shown later,
but ample sunlight is one requirement that must be con-
stantly borne in mind and provided for. Hedges or wind-
breaks, or some other protection from high winds, should
also be provided for, if possible, if one wishes to produce
the best grade of cutting roses with really good foliage.
The location of rose beds for show purposes must of
necessity conform with the landscape plan for the grounds
as a whole, and on larger properties where a landscape
architect is to advise in the layout consult him before the
beds are located. On small properties, however, or where
no general plan of beautification has yet been adopted, the
average person can locate the beds, but it must be borne in
mind that they should fit in or harmonize with the layout
or with the grounds as a whole. The beds should always
add to the attractiveness of other portions of the grounds
and lead or direct the eye toward other attractive features
of the garden. Certainly they should never emphasize un-
sightly points or objects. For example, a series of garden
arches covered with climbing roses and leading the eye
down to a formal garden area, a pool or fountain, or even
a distant view of a river or lake, can be most charming and
beautiful. But if it led the eye toward unsightly out-build-
ings, the smoking chimneys of an industrial plant, or the
city dump, it certainly would be undesirable.
An ornamental rose bed may be of either a formal or in-
formal nature, as the development of the grounds may sug-
gest. A garden space, devoted to flowers terminating with
a pergola, pool, or fountain, gives an excellent opportunity
for formal beds bordering this area on the walks leading to
it, or as hedges or edgings for the flower beds themselves.
If the garden is informal, however, scattered beds of roses
may be introduced among the shrubbery, borders, or even
in the foundation planting around the house itself.
As will be shown later, roses for these show beds should
really belong to a different class than those especially for
cutting, since the cutting, or exhibition roses as they are
sometimes called, do not as a rule carry a sufficient quan-
tity of flowers at a time to make much of a show. It is
better also to confine each of these show beds to a single va-
riety, or at least to varieties of a similar color, if possible
to do so.
GROWING ROSES IN FLORIDA 7
PREPARATION OF THE SOIL
One of the commonest causes for rose failure in this state,
and yet the one least understood since the effects do not
show up immediately, is improper soil preparation. Most
Fig. 1.-Marechal Niel (a noisette) one of the climbers, the culture
of which should be encouraged. (American Rose Society photo.)
Note:-All illustrations in this bulletin are of Florida-grown
8 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Florida soils are largely made up of sand with very little
vegetable matter (humus) or plant food. In dry weather
it is difficult to keep such soil moist. Hard rains pack the
sand and bring its fine particles together, which prevent
any penetration of air to the roots. The soil then turns
"sour" and plants growing on it "scald" under the hot sun.
Fig. 2.-Reve D'Or, another climber (Noisette group). Note the extra-
ordinarily heavy bloom. (American Rose Society photo.)
GROWING ROSES IN FLORIDA 9
Clay added to sandy soil mixture is useful in retaining
moisture in dry weather, as well as providing a number of
useful chemical elements that seem to give better color and
fragrance to the flowers, but it is of no service in overcom-
ing summer difficulties. In fact, unless a good grade of
top-soil clay that has been well sweetened by cultivation and
is known to contain a fair proportion of plant food can be
secured, it would be well to omit the clay entirely. Many
of the finest roses in Florida are being grown without the
slightest portion of clay in the soil mixture. The old idea,
therefore, that clay is an essential element to rose culture
was long ago disproved.
Humus, on the other hand, is an absolute essential for
permanent success, and unless the soil already contains an
adequate supply, and few high-ground soils do, it should
be added liberally. Dairy and stable manures are composed
largely of humus and should be used in preference to chem-
ical fertilizers in the original preparation of the soil. Good
true "peaty" muck, either brown or black, is excellent in
the preparation of these soil mixtures, as is also well-rotted
leaf mould. Care must be taken, however, to avoid sticky
black "gumbo" soils, commonly sold for muck but which
really are not muck. German peat moss, which is common-
ly stocked by nearly all florists, nurserymen and seed
houses, may be used in the absence of good muck or leaf
mould, but it is not as rich in plant food.
An ideal rose soil may be made up of one part of good
top soil, which is known to be free from nematodes, one
part of good humus of some of the forms previously men-
tioned, and one part of well-rotted dairy or stable manure.
If good top-soil clay is available, the inclusion of it by one
half of the top soil portion (one-sixth of the whole) will be
beneficial in giving better color to the roses. However, it
is not essential and had better be omitted unless it is known
to be the best quality and has been sweetened by cultiva-
tion. It must also be thoroughly mixed with the other ma-
terials and not left in lumps or clods. It is an excellent idea
to mix these materials together in a pile and let them stand
for two or three weeks before filling into the rose beds.
Keep thoroughly moist at all times, as this promotes the
growth of beneficial soil bacteria.
Proper drainage is an item too often overlooked by rose
growers, though it is as essential as a proper water supply.
Roses require an ample supply of moisture and thrive mar-
10 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
velously upon it. Water must drain through the soil prompt-
ly, however, for if it accumulates and stands, the soil be-
comes stagnant, the fine feeder roots will be destroyed and
the plants will be unable to properly assimilate their food.
They then become sick and die.
It is, therefore, an excellent idea on all except the highest
and driest citrus soils to provide subdrainage. Do this
through a row or two of drain tiles covered with a three-
or four-inch layer of cinders or a deeper layer of rough
straw or leaves. Lay the drain tile just below the main lay-
er of rose soil. The tile must, of course, have an outlet in-
to a ditch or sewer or down hill into lower ground.
The roots of roses do not grow deeply, as a rule, and from
12 to 18 inches of good soil will be found adequate for their
culture. Excavate the bed, therefore, to a depth of from
about 24 to 30 inches, allowing from 10 to 18 inches for the
tile and drain material, and fill in with the soil compost pre-
pared as above. A 6-inch board set on edge around the
bed will be helpful in retaining water and mulch material
on top of the bed. It will also give a neat and finished ap-
pearance to the job. In filling the bed originally, raise its
surface about three inches above the surrounding surface.
Settling will then bring it to about the proper or desired
"OWN-ROOT" OR GRAFTED ROSES
After determining the type of rose garden to plant, lay-
ing it out to fit in harmoniously with the entire grounds
and preparing the beds as previously described, the pros-
pective rose grower has yet to decide what rose plants and
rose types to purchase and where and how to purchase them.
Shall the stock be "own-root," budded or grafted; pot or
field-grown; two-year-old or small cutting plants only a
few weeks old?
The forms and varieties of rose plants offered the public
is almost infinite, as much so as patent medicine prepara-
tions. But, as in a serious question of health the purchaser
would do well to consult a trained physician, so in a really
serious effort to effect the best results in rose growing the
purchaser would do well to consult established nurserymen
and florists who have spent many years in this business
and who are thoroughly familiar with local conditions.
Much good, of course, is done by many drugs not regularly
prescribed by qualified physicians, and much beauty and
happiness have come from the small pot roses and second-
grade roses so commonly sold in five-and-ten-cent and de-
GROWING ROSES IN FLORIDA
apartment stores. On the other hand the losses to the public
through inferior and poorly cared for stock which could
not be expected to live except with the most careful atten-
tion, must run into many millions of dollars annually.
Florida's soils and climate are not especially suited to
most present-day popular rose varieties. Thus it stands
to reason that such varieties will, when budded or grafted
on a thrifty free-bloming rootstock, have a better average
Fig. 3.-Popular and common White Cherokee, especially adapted for
the trellis or fence. (American Rose Society photo.)
chance of success than when grown on their own roots.
Multiflora, Texas Canina, and Texas Wax or Odorata root-
stocks are excellently suited to Florida conditions and will
give a high average of success. Ragged Robin, Madam
Plantier and Cherokee are not now generally considered
so highly, although many excellent roses have been grown
on their roots. Rugosa and Manetti stocks can not be con-
sidered at all in this climate, although they are excellent
for more northern conditions.
Strong two-year-old, field-grown plants on vigorous
stocks as described above, handled during the cooler fall
and winter months, unquestionably have a much better
chance of success than small, tender, pot-grown plants on
their own roots, which even if successful must take many
12 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
months to attain the size and vigor already attained by the
heavier stock offered by most nurserymen.
The lighter, second-grade plants offered in some of the
better department stores, if carefully wrapped and handled
so as not to become broken by constant "handling" of cus-
tomers or dried out by exposure, will give a good average
of success to the experienced gardener who knows how to
pick good plants. All too often, however, many plants on
the counters are hopelessly ruined from exposure and fre-
quently are half dead when bought. The assortment of va-
rieties is nearly always limited and mainly to those varie-
ties with which the grower is overstocked and which he can
better afford to sell for next to nothing rather than to
throw away entirely.
Care must be taken also to guard against old worn-out
greenhouse roses which have literally been "junked" after
several years of "forcing" and which no reputable nursery-
man would think of offering to customers. As in other
merchandise, therefore, highest quality material, backed by
the established reputation of an experienced grower, will
be found a better value in the long run than stock designed
merely to sell at a low price and backed by no experience or
guarantee of satisfaction.
This is not intended as an attack upon the 10-cent or de-
partment store. Nor is it to particularly champion the
cause of the nurseries. Rather it is a simple statement of
ROSE RACES OR GROUPS
Roses as a family are divided into several different
groups, just like the human family. As there is consider-
able differences in their adaptability to this climate, the
Florida rose grower should familiarize himself with at least
the broader classifications of the family. These are rough-
ly Hybrid Perpetuals, Hybrid Teas, Tea roses, Polyanthas,
China or Bengal roses, Noisettes, Banksias, Cherokee roses,
and Hybrid Giganteas.
Hybrid Perpetual, or "June roses" as they are popularly
known in the North from their habit of blooming at that
season, are excellent for those states to the north of us,
because of their cold resistance. They have the disadvant-
age of having only one main blooming season, though a
few scattered blossoms may come along at other times.
In Florida where we are anxious to have as much bloom as
possible during the cooler months from December to April,
this group does not give enough bloom to class it as satis-
GROWING ROSES IN FLORIDA
Hybrid Tea roses, on the other hand, which have been
built up by crossing Hybrid Perpetuals with free-blooming
but tender Tea roses, are much better adapted to our cli-
mate and have the advantage of free-blooming habits. This
is a large group, however, and many of its members, par-
ticularly those which have blood of the Austrian Briar rose
in their parentage, are poorly suited to our hot and wet
summers. This particular group was originated about 1900
in France by M. Pernet-Ducher and is now generally sep-
arated from the other Hybrid Tea roses by most rosarians
and called Pernetianas. They offer some very beautiful red
and yellow, orange and flame shades, and many of our best
greenhouse cut-flower varieties belong to this class, but as
a whole they are not well suited to Florida conditions and
can not be recommended for growing here except for ex-
Tea roses are noted for their vigorous growth and free-
dom of bloom and, while too tender for northern states, are
perfectly at home in Florida and other Gulf states. Gen-
erally they are especially fragrant and carry good foliage
which is quite free from black spot and mildew. Coming
originally from southern China where the climate is very
similar to our own, they are evidently quite at home here,
since many have attained great age and large proportions.
Since most rose breeding is done in other sections, there
are practically no new varieties in this group, and as a
whole it must be considered inferior in form and color
range to the Hybrid Tea group which has had the advant-
age of more constant attention by rose breeders.
Polyantha roses are notable for their large clusters of
flowers, usually small and flat, although there is a wide
variation in the group, some having small, pointed flowers
like miniature roses and others approaching almost the size
of the ordinary Hybrid Teas. They are all very free-bloom-
ing and, because of this fact and their splendid show of
color with so many flowers open at one time, are sure to
become increasingly popular in Florida as they become bet-
ter known. While not so interesting as cut flowers, they
will be especially useful as borders for beds and hedges of
other types and for landscape decoration in general.
China or Bengal roses are a small group little known in
the North, but likely to prove increasingly valuable in this
state, since they come from a climate similar to our own
and, like the Tea roses, are especially vigorous and free-
blooming. Further experimentation and hybridization are
badly needed in this group. The well known Louis Philippe
rose, which is grown so commonly in this state that it has
14 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
come to be called sometimes the Florida rose, is a member
of this group.
Noisette roses which originated in Charleston, S. C.
more than a century ago are another group of proved adapt-
ability to this climate. Most of these old varieties have dis-
appeared from commerce, but several, such as Marechal
Niel and Reve D'Or, are among our finest climbers. The
Banksia roses, of which there are only two, the white and
the yellow-flowered, also deserve more attention. Very
vigorous and free-blooming, they have the disadvantage,
however, of blooming during only one season.
Cherokee roses have proved so well adapted to our cli-
mate that the common white form has escaped from cultiva-
tion and "gone native" to such an extent that many people
have come to think of it as a native rose. But they are not.
They came originally from China and the island of For-
mosa in southern Japan. The comparatively recent intro-
duction of the pink and red forms have added considerable
interest to this group. Some of the best known climbing
roses of the North, such as Silver Moon, have been origin-
ated by combining the blood of the Cherokee strain with
that of the hardier Wichuraiana species. As a whole, how-
ever, this group of hybrid Wichuraianas is suited only to
the northern portion of Florida. Like all the Cherokees,
they have the disadvantage of blooming mainly in spring.
If the Cherokees could be crossed with the free-blooming
and climbing Tea roses, some especially worth while results
should be obtained.
The old McCartney rose, which belongs to the group of
Bracteata roses, has also commonly escaped from cultiva-
tion and is often confused with White Cherokee. Some in-
teresting new varieties might confidently be expected from
crosses of this variety and some of the freer-blooming Tea
One of the most promising groups now receiving atten-
tion at the hands of rose breeders is the hybrid Gigantea,
resulting from crosses with Rosa odorata gigantea, native
to Indo-China. Interesting new roses from the hands of
Allister Clark of Australia and Pedro Dot of Spain have
more or less blood of this group in their parentage. The
splendid Belle of Portugal rose is a well known exponent
of this group. If some work could be done in Florida to
combine this group with some of our better Tea or China
roses, much better results would likely be obtained, how-
ever, than from the introduction of varieties whose par-
ents are not always suited to this climate.
GROWING ROSES IN FLORIDA
SELECTION OF VARIETIES
With over three thousand separate and distinct varieties
of roses in commerce today, the amateur is naturally con-
fused as to which particular varieties might most likely
prove successful in his own rose garden. While a thorough
understanding of the various groups of roses, as outlined
above, will help the amateur in making a selection, since it
shows the various types which have proved most successful
in the past and which to avoid as generally unsuited to our
climate, after all the best guide will be the proved experi-
ences of others in your locality. The study and observation
of other rose gardens in your particular region will suggest
many satisfactory varieties. This group may be supple-
mented by judicious experimentation with other new sorts
which, from their parentage, would seem most likely to
Hundreds of new roses are sent out each season, but few
of them possess any improvements over previously existing
varieties. Many also come from groups which obviously
are unsuited to this climate. The amateur, therefore, un-
less unusually well fixed financially, would do well to limit
his choice of new varieties to those which may be recom-
mended to him by the rosarian who has already tried them
under similar conditions, or whose knowledge and famili-
arity with local conditions may cause him to believe that
there is a reasonably good chance of their success.
In the list of cutting roses, some of the newer sorts which
have thus proved sufficiently successful to justify their
trial throughout the state may be listed as follows:
Abol-a fine, white flower, deliciously fragrant. Very
Chas. P. Kilham-beautifully shaped blooms of brilliant
E. G. Hill-dazzling, dark red flowers, freely born.
Etoile de Hollande-brilliant red flowers. Plant is vig-
orous and free.
Golden Dawn-large, light yellow flower which does not
Lady Margaret Stewart-golden yellow, shaded orange.
Mrs. E. P. Thorn-bright, canary yellow, vigorous and
16 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Mrs. Henry Bowles-one of the very best new pink roses.
Pres. Herbert Hoover-like Talisman, but more pink.
Rev. F. Page Roberts-copper-red buds, opening golden-
Souvenir-a golden-yellow sport of Talisman.
Souvenir de Madam Boullet-orange-yellow flowers like
Talisman-bi-colored. Scarlet-orange and rich yellow.
Among the garden roses that are more suitable for show
than for cutting should be mentioned Betty Uprichard, a
brilliant orange-carmine flower suggestive of Madam Ed-
ouard Herriot but which is much better for this climate.
Margaret McGredy whose large orange vermillion flowers
are so profusely born that they literally cover the plant,
should be mentioned also.
The above roses are in the large-flowered Hybrid Tea
class. But there are also some splendid new Polyanthas for
garden decoration as, for example, the peculiarly colored
Golden Salmon and the later Gloria Mundi which is even
more brilliant. Else Poulsen and Kirsten Poulsen belong to
a new type of Polyanthas of taller growth and with large
single flowers profusely born. The former is a bright rose
pink and the latter a light red. Gruss an Aachen, while not
new, is not nearly as well known as it should be and is es-
pecially interesting as it is quite different from the ordin-
ary type, having flowers almost as large as some Tea roses
and of the true rose shape. They are very freely born and
the plant is almost continuously in bloom. The color is an
interesting and charming combination of orange, yellow,
white and pink, all in one flower.
While by no means new, Comtesse du Cayla and Madam
Eugene Resol deserve trial in the list of garden roses as
they add yellow and pink shades to the group of China roses
so well exemplified by the well known Louis Philippe. They
are similar to that variety in growth, freedom of bloom and
shape of flower.
Interest in climbing roses is rapidly increasing, due not
only to their decorative value, but also to the fact that a well
grown plant will supply so many more cut flowers. Some
worth while new varieties of this group which have orig-
GROWING ROSES IN FLORIDA
Fig. 4.-Red and Pink Radiance. Perhaps our most universally popular
roses. (American Rose Society photo.)
inated as climbing sports from the bush varieties are climb-
ing Pink and Red Radiances, climbing forms of both Pink
and White Cochets, Lady Hillingdon, General McArthur
and Hadley. The most interesting new climbers, however,
are the Australian introductions, such as Black Boy, Gwen
Nash, Kitty Kininmouth, Nora Cunningham and Scorcher.
18 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
I 4 -
Fig. 5.-Duchess de Brabant. A Tea rose which heads a list of 12
favorite roses selected by two University of Florida authorities.
(American Rose Society photo.)
Well worth trying, but time alone can tell how well suited
to our climate they will prove. Madam Gregoire Staechelin
(Spanish Beauty) and Mermaid are two other new sorts
well worth trying, though they probably are not so free-
blooming as the climbing Teas or Hybrid Teas.
GROWING ROSES IN FLORIDA
Among cutting roses, in the better known and more com-
monly grown sorts, we have in white Kaiserin Auguste Vic-
toria, White Maman Cochet, and White Killarney. In light
pink we have Antoine Rivoire, Madam Butterfly, Wm. R.
Smith, Mrs. Chas. Bell, and Pink Maman Cochet. In deep-
er pink, Radiance, Columbia, Jonkheer J. L. Mock, and
Mary Countess of Ilchester. In red we have, of course,
Red Radiance, also Etoile de France, General MacArthur,
and Francis Scott Key. Good yellow roses for cutting are
not at all common, but we would suggest Luxembourg, Sun-
burst, and Golden Ophelia, as among the best.
Any of the above can, of course, be used for garden dec-
oration, just as the following can be used for cut flowers.
But generally speaking the two groups will be found best
suited to the purposes for which they are here recom-
As garden varieties we recommend in the larger flower-
ing roses, in white, such sorts as Marie Van Houtte, The
Bride, and Mrs. Dudley Cross (Helen Good), although they
all have more or less of a yellowish color. In true yellow
and orange shades we suggest Alexander Hill Gray, So-
frano, Mlle. Franziska Kruger, Lady Hillingdon, and Mrs.
A. R. Waddell.
Satisfactory pink garden roses are readily available from
the group composed of such varieties as Duchesse de Bra-
bant, Minnie Frances, Madam Lambard, and M. Jules
Groles. In reds, Louis Philippe, Gruss an Teplitz (Virgin-
ia R. Coxe), Freiherr Von Marschall, Papa Gontier, and
Red Letter Day.
The small-flowered Polyantha roses so valuable for gar-
den decoration are represented by such well known sorts as
Mlle. Cecile Brunner (the pink sweetheart rose) and
George Elger (the yellow sweetheart rose) ; also Catherine
Zeimet (white), Chatillon Rose (shell pink), Anna Muller
(rose), Miss Edith Cavell (scarlet), and Ideal (dark red),
in the flat-flowered type.
Among climbers, and surely the decorative possibilities
of this group should be more emphasized, we suggest the
Devoniensis Madam Clothilde Soupert
White Cherokee Cl. K. A. Victoria
20 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Cl. Cecil Brunner Pink Cherokee (Anemone)
Cl. Malmaison Cl. Killarney
Reine Marie Henriette
Red Cherokee Ramona Cl. Souvenir of Wootoon
Marechal Niel, Chromatella, Wm. Allen Richardson, Reve
D'Or, Yellow Banksia, Cl. Perle des Jardins.
With reasonable care and attention roses may be trans-
planted successfully at any season of the year. It is more
difficult to handle them, however, during the warmer sum-
mer months when they are soft and full of new growth. If
transplanted then they must be guarded carefully against
drying out, must be cut back to mature wood, and the plants
shaded until they are well established. For that reason fall
and winter, when roses are most dormant, are usually con-
sidered the most favorable time for planting. The exact
season varies according to the weather but is usually from
about November 15 to March 15.
Plants usually come well packed from the commercial
nursery, but care must be taken to see that they do not dry
out after arrival, either while still in the package or after
opening and before being set. If a considerable number are
being planted, only two or three should be taken from the
package at a time. All others should remain in the pack-
age securely covered until their time to be planted.
As the plants are taken from the bundle, look over each
one carefully and cut off any broken or di eased branches
or roots. Most nurserymen cut back their plants to the
proper condition for planting at time shipment is made;
but if this has not been done, thin out the small weak
branches to from three to five main shoots and cut these
back to from 8 to 10 inches in length. Also cut off any ex-
tra long roots that might make it difficult to set the plant.
The rose bed will have been already prepared, if previ-
ous suggestions have been followed, so the next considera-
tion is proper distance of planting. Too often roses are
scattered entirely too far apart. It is much better to have
them sufficiently close together, so that the necessary wa-
GROWING ROSES IN FLORIDA
tering, fertilizing and other work may be done to the plants
as a group, rather than to a collection of individuals separ-
ated by more or less lawn area. Roses will benefit also
when they are grown close enough together to shade the
soil and keep it moist, and the landscape effect will be im-
proved when the plants form a single mass of foliage and
flowers and the individual plants do not stand out as sep-
arate specimens. Planting distances therefore vary accord-
ing to the vigor of growth of the varieties planted, but
should run from about 20 to 24 inches apart for the Tea
roses and stronger growing Hybrid Teas, and from about
15 to 18 inches for the less vigorous sorts. Because of fre-
quent work-cultivation, pruning, spraying, etc.-individ-
ual rose beds ought not be made more than 5 or 6 feet wide.
Every plant has to be reached from time to time.
Fig. 6.-Radiance roses are entirely within place in interior home
decoration. (American Rose Society photo.)
22 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
In planting make the hole sufficiently large to accom-
modate the roots without twisting or crowding; spread
them out as nearly as possible as they grew originally in
the field. Place the plant as nearly as possible at the same
depth that it grew in the nursery row. Deep planting,
formerly recommended, has been found injurious in that it
compels the plant to grow an entirely different root system.
Shallow planting, on the other hand, enables the plant to
dry out too quickly, encourages suckering from the root-
stock and other troubles. With budded plants this means
that the "bud" or "union" will be at or just beneath the soil
As the soil is filled into the hole, shake the plant slight-
ly from time to time to settle the soil around the roots, and
when the hole is filled tramp down the soil firmly to elim-
inate all air spaces. Use plenty of water in planting, as the
water will fill in the soil around the roots and eliminate air
spaces much better than can be done by hand or by tramp-
ing. After planting and watering mulch the soil with a
layer of leaves, grass, hay or peat moss, both to conserve
the moisture and to keep the soil cool.
In order to identify each rose, label each plant. Also
make a diagram plat of the whole bed, so that if labels are
lost or become illegible a check back can be made. It is in-
teresting to put on the label the date of planting and the
source from which the plants were secured. Stencilled la-
bels (in sheet zinc or aluminum) can be secured from most
commercial nurseries. Attached by copper wires, these la-
bels are absolutely permanent. They are comparatively in-
expensive. Wood and paper labels, though cheaper, are
short lived, but painting will make them last much longer.
Be careful in attaching any kind of label to make a large
enough loop of wire, so that it will not cut into the growing
FERTILIZING AND SUMMER CARE
Florida soils generally are very porous and rainfall here
is quite heavy, which means that available plant food soon
leeches out of the rose bed. For this reason we must either
continually apply readily available plant food or apply a
material which, remaining in the soil, is constantly becom-
ing available, if vigorous and steady growth is desired.
Organic fertilizers, such as stable and dairy manures
and bone meal, are very desirable for fertilizing roses, since
they are not so easily washed out of the soil, but they are
also less quickly available than chemical mixtures. Occa-
GROWING ROSES IN FLORIDA
sional additions of a complete chemical formula is desirable
to supplement organic materials.
If the rose bed has been well made in the first place, no
fertilization should be necessary for the first two or three
months following planting. After this, however, regular
applications at intervals of a month or six weeks will be
beneficial. Moderate applications usually are more desir-
able than larger amounts at greater intervals of time. If
a chemical mixture is used, from a quarter to half a pound
per plant is sufficient, according to the age of the plant, as-
suming they are set fairly closely together. If the distance
apart is greater, increase the amount.
A commercial fertilizer, analyzing about 5 per cent of ni-
trogen, from 5 to 8 percent of phosphoric acid, and 5 per-
cent of potash, preferably as much as possible from organic
materials, will give excellent results. Tankage is excellent
to stimulate growth when plants lag, but it must be fol-
lowed up with a complete fertilizer or some material which
will furnish potash. An occasional application of well-rot-
ted stable manure and bone meal as a top-dressing around
the plants, raked into the soil as well as can be done with-
out disturbing the roots, maintains the humus in the soil
and keeps it in condition to retain moisture and plant food,
while at the same time furnishing plant foods itself. Hard
wood ashes, as a source of potash, may be helpful but should
be used with caution because of their lime content. Lime
is of very questionable value to roses and can be definitely
injurious, if applied soon after applications of strong ma-
nures as it releases the ammonia in the manures, thus los-
ing much of their fertilizing value.
A recent interesting development in rose culture is the
apparent discovery that the coloration in rose blossoms-
particularly in such highly colored sorts as Talisman, Presi-
dent Hoover, etc.-is intensified by an ample supply of iron
salts in the soil. This might prove especially important
here in Florida where many of our soils are entirely lack-
ing in iron. Nitrate of iron is the form recommended, and
a tablespoonful to the plant three or four times a year is
the amount suggested.
Roses can not, of course, be forced to their highest point
of growth and floriferousness indefinitely. Because of the
heat and humidity of summer, when flowers are of poor
quality anyway, that season is the time for the plants' rest
period. Fertilizers should be withheld at this time, unless
the plants seem to be suffering from a lack of plant food,
and a heavy mulch of dry grass, hay or peat moss put over
24 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
the entire bed to keep the soil moist and as cool as possible
during these warmest months.
The matter of rose pruning is not nearly so vital in Flor-
ida as in some other regions and becomes largely a matter
of convenience. The general ideas in pruning are to con-
serve the health of the plant by removing old wood and to
reduce the number of growing stems in order that all the
Fig. 7.-Attractive rose garden in Florida. Grass promenade. (Ameri-
can Rose Society photo.)
vigor of the plant may be thrown into these few remaining
shoots to give larger flowers and longer stems. Generally
speaking, hard pruning means long stems and big (but
In the North Mother Nature does much of the pruning,
since roses are nearly always cut back severely by cold
weather and man's part becomes largely the removal of the
wood so damaged. Such severe pruning is entirely prac-
tical on the Hybrid Perpetuals and Hybrid Teas grown in
that region, especially since it comes automatically at a
time when the rose plant is most completely dormant. Here
in Florida, however, where the rose hardly ever is dormant
and where vigorous ever-blooming Tea roses and Noisettes
GROWING ROSES IN FLORIDA
and more vigorous Hybrid Teas are more grown than per-
petuals, such severe pruning would seriously injure the vi-
tality of the plant. Pruning in Florida becomes, therefore,
a matter of constantly keeping the plant in the best con-
dition and of the height and size desired, rather than a se-
vere cutting back at any particular season.
Since roses are at their best during the cooler winter
months, which is generally the season when we wish our
gardens to present their most attractive appearance, a good
working out of the rose garden as soon as the hot summer
rainy season is over, usually the latter part of September
or early October, is recommended. Remove all dead wood,
any branches that cross or are too close together, and old
hard wood on which buds have already sprouted. Try to
leave from three to six vigorous shoots of recent growth
with young fresh "eyes" ready to break out into growth.
Cut the branches just above an eye, leaving the last eye
on the upper or inner side of the branch so that the next
growth will keep the bush upright and compact rather than
Disease spores most commonly enter the plant through
fresh wounds such as are made in pruning, so it is always
an excellent precaution to paint the stubs wherever a shoot
has been removed with some antiseptic preparation like
bordeaux paste or black asphaltum paint.
In gathering rose flowers many inexperienced growers
make the mistake of cutting off every bit of the young
growth which carries the flower. This leaves no young
fresh eyes from which new growth can spring. While
usually a vigorous plant will eventually force new eyes from
old wood, it is a strain on the plant's vitality. Then too,
the grower loses the flowers which quite probably would
have bloomed several times while new eyes were starting
from the old wood. In cutting flowers, therefore, always
leave at least one eye, or preferably two, of new growth to
facilitate growth of the next shoot.
DISEASES OF ROSES
Enemies of roses may be divided roughly into two
groups, insect pests and true diseases. The latter group,
more prevalent and difficult to combat, is mentioned first.
There are three main ones-black spot, powdery mildew
and canker. Of the last there are several kinds.
Black spot is the commonest disease affecting the rose.
It may be recognized as a dark brown or purplish spot on
26 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
the leaves, enlarging rapidly and spreading to other leaves.
This spot is followed by a yellowish zone. This yellowish
zone spreads to the whole leaf which then drops off. Some
roses are more susceptible to this trouble than others, but
nearly all seem to be more or less affected. It completely
defoliates the more susceptible varieties and so reduces
their vitality that they are killed out entirely.
Powdery mildew may be recognized as a bluish, powdery
growth on the leaves and young stems. It causes a more
or less malformation of the leaves; they are wrinkled and
uneven. It is most likely to occur in cloudy, damp, cool
weather, and especially in sheltered locations where ventila-
tion is poor.
Canker in its various forms has not been recognized as
a rose disease as long as the two previous troubles. Yet it
is infinitely more serious, since it quickly kills the plants,
if proper control measures are not taken promptly. It can
be recognized as dead patches on stems and branches. These
keep spreading until they girdle a whole cane, killing all
above that point and spreading backward until the entire
plant is destroyed.
Since nothing can restore injured tissue, once it is af-
fected, prevention is the only control. This may be ac-
complished by removing all affected parts and keeping all
new growth coated with a protective antiseptic which pre-
vents the entry of the disease organism into this new area.
All leaves affected with black spot should be carefully re-
moved from the plant and ground beneath it and burned.
Any effective fungicide (spray or dust) may be used to
give this protective covering to the new growth, but it must
be applied regularly and often enough to keep all new
growth covered if the treatment is to be effective. Fresh
cuts-where cancerous growth has been removed or fol-
iage pruned away-should be painted with some antiseptic.
Undiluted bordeaux mixture is excellent for this purpose,
as is also asphaltum roof paints.
Bordeaux mixture is unsurpassed as a fungicide. But as
it colors flowers and leaves, another agent must be used
when one contemplates cutting roses. Various prepara-
tions have been placed on the market for this purpose, but
none is more effective than "Massey Dust" (prepared by a
Cornell University pathologist of that name upon the re-
quest of the American Rose Society). It is composed of 9
parts of dusting sulphur and 1 part of lead arsenate. The
sulphur is to control the fungous troubles mentioned above,
while the lead arsenate is to control leaf-eating insects. It
GROWING ROSES IN FLORIDA
should be applied when foliage is dry and air still, and ap-
plied so thoroughly that both upper and under surfaces of
the leaves are covered completely but lightly. A too heavy
covering, especially when the leaves are already wet, will
INSECT ENEMIES OF ROSES
Insect enemies of roses may be divided into two classes:
leaf-eating insects and sucking insects.
Leaf-eaters: Lead arsenate is the best control measure for
the first group. Since it is highly poisonous, it will be ef-
fective if the leaves are covered with it whenever trouble
of this kind is suspected. Massey dust suggested above
automatically controls this class of rose enemies, while at
the same time preventing the more common diseases.
Sucking Insects: The two commonest sucking insects are
aphids (plant lice) and red spiders. These can be control-
led only by contact insecticides-for instance, "Black Leaf
40" and the pyrethrum mixtures such as "Evergreen" and
"Red Arrow." These are commercial preparations and full
directions for their use usually are printed on the packages.
Thrips, which may be recognized as tiny, yellowish or
brownish insects inside the flowers themselves, may be con-
trolled by thoroughly spraying with any good contact in-
secticide. But before spraying, carefully remove all flow-
ers and buds (that show color), not disturbing the thrips,
and drop into a can of water containing a little kerosene.
Even though this bulletin is quite lengthy and attempts
to cover many important steps in rose culture, the enthusi-
ast is sure to be confronted by other problems. He (or she)
will want solutions. Or he may be proud of some unusual
personal success, and this entitles him to tell somebody
about it. Membership in the American Rose Society is sug-
gested. Annual dues entitles one to the magazine and other
publications worth more than the money involved. Per-
sonal contacts from this membership are beyond any mone-
tary value. The Florida Rose Society is a unit of the na-
tional, and by all means the Florida rose grower should be
affiliated with this organization. (If interested communi-
cate with Norman A. Reasoner, Oneco, Florida, whose help
in compiling this bulletin has been of inestimable value.)
Mention must also be made of the University of Florida
with its experiment stations, agricultural extension serv-
28 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
ice and county and home agents in many counties. Bulle-
tin 59 of the Florida Agricultural Extension Service,
Gainesville, entitled "Rose Growing," can be had for the
asking. Most valuable information can be found in the
publications and even the catalogs of the commercial nur-
series and seed houses. Thus one eager to secure knowl-
edge on this fascinating subject may turn to many sources
for it, just as has this writer in compiling these pages.
PEPPER PRINTING COMPANY, GAINESVILLE, FLA.