The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.
Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
(A Revision of Bulletin 78)
ROSES IN FLORIDA
G. H. BLACKMON, J. V. WATKINS, W. L. FLOYD
Sk Revisin of
^^aB^S.A, o^. '/
Fig. 1.-Antoine Rivoire, a hybrid tea with creamy-white blooms
delicately tinted with pink, is usually very dependable.
AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN
AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida, Florida State College for Women,
And United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
Wilmon Newell, Director
BOARD OF CONTROL
R. P. TERRY, Chairman, Miami
THOMAS W. BRYANT, Lakeland
W. M. PALMER, Ocala
H. P. ADAIR, Jacksonville
C. P. HELFENSTEIN, Live Oak
J. T. DIAMOND, Secretary, Tallahassee
STAFF, AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE
JOHN J. TIGERT, M.A., LL.D., President of the University
WILMON NEWELL, D.Sc., Director of Extension'
A. P. SPENCER, M.S., Vice-Director and County Agent Leader
J. FRANCIS COOPER, M.S.A., Editor1
JEFFERSON THOMAS, Assistant Editor
CLYDE BEALE, A.B., Assistant Editori
E. F. STANTON, Supervisor, Egg-Laying Contest
RUBY NEWHALL, Administrative Managerl
COOPERATIVE AGRICULTURAL DEMONSTRATION WORK
W. T. NETTLES, B.S., District Agent
H. G. CLAYTON, M.S.A., District Agent, Organization and Outlook Specialist
J. LEE SMITH, District Agent and Agronomist
R. S. DENNIS, B.S.A., Assistant District Agent
A. E. DUNSCOMBE, M.S., Assistant District Agent
R. W. BLACKLOCK, A.B., Boys' Club Agent
E. F. DEBUSK, B.S., Citriculturist
A. L. SHEALY, D.V.M., Animal Industrialist1
HAMLIN L. BROWN, B.S., Dairyman
N. R. MEHRHOF, M.AGR., Poultryman1
D. F. SOWELL, M.S., Assistant Poultryman
WALTER J. SHEELY, B.S., Animal Husbandman
C. V. NOBLE, PH.D., Agricultural Economist1
D. E. TIMMONS, M.S.A., Agricultural Economist, Marketing
CHARLES M. HAMPSON, M.S., Agricultural Economist, Farm Management
R. H. HOWARD, M.S.A., Asst. Agr. Economist, Farm Management
GRAY MILEY, B.S.A., Asst. Agr. Economist, Farm Management
JOSEPH C. BEDSOLE, B.S.A., Asst. Economist, Farm Management
RUBY BROWN, Asst. Home Economist
R. V. ALLISON, PH.D., Soil Conservationisti
COOPERATIVE HOME DEMONSTRATION WORK
MARY E. KEOWN, M.S., State Agent
LuCY BELLE SETTLE, M.A., District Agent
RUBY MCDAVID, District Agent
ETHYL HOLLOWAY, B.S.H.E., District Agent
ANNA MAE SIKES, B.S., Nutritionist
VIRGINIA P. MOORE, Home Improvement Agent
ISABELLE S. THURSBY, Economist in Food Conservation
CLARINE BELCHER, M.S., Clothing Specialist
NEGRO EXTENSION WORK
A. A. TURNER, Local District Agent
BEULAH SHUTE, Local District Agent
ROSES IN FLORIDA
By G. H. BLACKMON, J. V. WATKINS and W. L. FLOYD1
Roses in the Landscape ............ ..... 4 Watering ........................ ............ .. 16
Classification .. .... .. .... ... 6 Pruning ....................... ... ......... 17
Varieties ....... ........... ..... ......... 10 Late Summer Treatment ... ....... 17
Propagation and Handling ... ... 10 Handling Blooms .............. ................ .. 19
Transplanting ........ .... ......... 13 Commercial Growing ......................... 19
Planting ................................................ 14 Insects .................. .............. 21
Care of the Garden ...................... 15 Diseases .. .. ..... ........... .... .. 22
Fertilizing .... ............ ............. 15 Summarized Suggestions ... ...... ....... 24
The rose probably enjoys the greatest popularity of all flower-
ing plants and is extensively grown for both pleasure and profit.
It has been cultivated for as long a period of time as any
ornamental plant and the flowers are acceptable for decorative
purposes on all occasions. Its history is quite romantic and
it has figured in the literature of all languages and nations
down through the ages.
In Florida the rose is of great importance and hundreds of
thousands of bushes are planted annually by amateur and com-
mercial growers. However, many factors affecting growth must
be taken into consideration if there is to be abundant flower
production. Varieties available have been introduced from loca-
tions outside the state and many are not suited to the climatic
and soil conditions here. Consequently, one must select varieties
with care to obtain beautiful flowers in great numbers. Never-
theless, it can be safely said that the growing of roses is not
so difficult if suitable precautions are taken in the selection
of varieties and planting stock and providing conditions for
Some of the stronger growing varieties, with proper care,
will give fairly satisfactory results in permanent planting but
only a comparative few will produce the abundance of bloom
in subsequent years that will be obtained the first season after
transplanting. This situation has given rise to one type of
rose culture in which the plants are treated as annuals. By
this method new stock is purchased from the nurseries each
autumn for the cutting garden and the plants are kept in a
vigorous, thrifty condition so as to give maximum flower pro-
1Blackmon: Horticulturist, Florida Agricultural Experiment Station;
Watkins: Assistant Professor of Horticulture, College of Agriculture;
Floyd: Formerly Assistant Dean, College of Agriculture, University of
Florida, now Emeritus Professor of Horticulture.
Florida Cooperative Extension
duction throughout the growing season. At the end of the
blooming season, in early fall, the plants are removed and the
soil is made ready for setting the new stock. When roses are
grown in this manner it is possible to increase the variety list
greatly, as many will produce blooms for one season that would
not be satisfactory over a period of several years. However,
this method cannot be successfully followed unless strong No. 1
stock is secured with which to make the annual plantings.
The growing of roses as permanent plants seems to be the
natural method of handling the garden and is desired by ama-
teurs wherever possible. Varieties must be selected that can
be successfully carried over several seasons to justify their
place in the garden. This can be done but it will require care-
ful attention to the spraying program, for the control of insects
and diseases and the nutrition of the plants if flowers with
'long stems are to be provided in abundance.
ROSES IN THE LANDSCAPE
When a plant demonstrates its adaptability in a new country
so well that it naturalizes without aid from the hand of man,
that plant deserves consideration when we plan our gardens.
It seems to be a gardening tradition to seek the exotic, the
unusual, the rare plants for one's garden, and this trait is
commendable in that it sets one's garden above the common-
place, giving it distinction and charm. But all too often, in
our seeking for the unusual, we overlook the very excellent
plant material that is growing at our very doorsteps. These
tried and true materials should be used as the firm foundations
upon which the weaker growers, the temperamental garden
plants, should be allowed to lean for stalwart support.
The roses that inspire this tribute to dependable naturalized
plant material are, of course, the Cherokee rose (Rosa laevi-
gata), that native of China that has found a congenial home
in Florida, and the Macartney rose (Rosa bracteata) that con-
tributes so magnificently to the spring garden picture.
In addition to these naturalized oriental species, any garden-
conscious person is well acquainted with certain other members
of this great genus, Rosa, that, although not naturalizing them-
selves, show remarkable tenacity of life in our trying semi-
tropical climate. First place in this class might be given to
Yellow Banksian (Rosa banksiae). This robust, evergreen,
thornless climber exhibits an adaptability that is positively
Roses in Florida
astounding when one thinks of the very short lives of some of
our most popular cutting varieties. An important position must
be given, perhaps, to that comparative newcomer to Florida
gardens, Belle of Portugal. This hybrid of Rosa gigantea is
almost assured of success in the deep South and the vigor with
which it grows and the myriads of huge pink flowers that
it produces each spring should satisfy the most critical of
Next in this class of persistent garden roses for the lower
South we might list the interesting Noisette group (Rosa noiset-
tiana) which contains that long-time favorite, indispensable in
every garden of the old South shade-loving Marechal Niel.
In this group that was originated by John Champney in Charles-
ton we find also Reve d'Or and Lamarque, two other very tena-
These rampant climbers and some of their descendants can
be depended upon to contribute very definitely to the garden
ensemble year after trying year, while cutting roses are suc-
cumbing to the ravages of blackspot, brown canker and the
upsetting influences of light sandy soils and not enough rest.
The rampant climbing forms, always excellent material for
background for enframement and definition, are so well adapted
to the Florida climate that they are very long-lived and seldom
need replacing, while the temperamental bush hybrids that are
demanded today for flower arrangements can be grown in closely
planted beds in front of the climbers and discarded and replaced
If the garden design calls for a fence or trellis one or more
of the striking climbers can be trained on the structure. The
planting interval should be about eight feet. Very often a
vigorous vine can be used to climb up that narrow space on
either side of the garage doors and, when tied to horizontal
wires, it can be encouraged to cover, and thus soften and add
a great deal of interest to the gable end. The yellow Banksian
is beautifully adapted to this use.
Most of us have seen the delightful effect that can be attained
by planting vigorous climbing roses by pine trees so that the
canes may be secured to the tree trunks as they grow. Members
of the Noisette group are charming when grown in this way.
One of the most popular of garden appurtenances is the com-
bination gate and arbor with seats on either side. This structure,
in its many variations, lends itself beautifully to the planting
Florida Cooperative Extension
of attractive climbing roses. It shows them off well and it
allows for their easy maintenance.
In a garden of formal design nothing is more attractive than
pillar roses. Posts of material and color that reflect the feeling
of the garden are set at strategic accent points, and on these
posts are trained climbing roses. By judicious pruning and
careful tying, these pillars are kept neat and compact and when
in bloom the roses are very telling in the garden picture.
In the modern mode for white houses of brick or concrete
block, some certain climbing forms are very effective components
of the garden when they are grown espalier-wise against a
A rose that persists in many older northern Florida towns
is Marie van Houtte. This old fashioned tea rose assumes
picturesque shapes, develops a great deal of character as the
years pass and these old, gnarly plants are often used effectively
in patio plantings. If they are selected and transplanted with
forethought and care they can create a most attractive picture.
Bush roses in close bed formation should not be used in the
foreground or as a main feature of the landscape plan. When
the plants are dormant (modern cutting roses need a specific
rest) and properly and closely pruned, they leave a great deal
to be desired from an aesthetic point of view. Roses that are
wanted for the house must be cut as the first or second petal
unfurls, and this cutting of the immature flowers precludes any
garden value that the rose plants might have.
For these reasons the writers believe that the rose bed should
be in an enclosed portion of the grounds, preferably as a part
of that screened utilitarian area that designers call the cutting
Roses are ordinarily classified according to the original species
from which they descended. The lineage has become so complex
through years of hybridization that the classes overlap con-
siderably, and no one can say definitely, for example, whether
or not a modern cutting rose should fall into the Tea class
rather than in the Pernetiana or the Hybrid Tea classification.
However, the list herewith presents the horticultural classifica-
tion usually accepted by most students of rose pedigrees. This
is intended for use by Florida gardeners and does not include
many other groups of roses successfully grown in Northern
states but of doubtful value in the Gulf Coast region.
Roses in Florida
TEA.-This class of garden roses is indigenous to the warmer
parts of Asia and comprises many of the varieties most cher-
ished in old gardens of the deep South. The plants are rather
vigorous growers when good conditions are provided, although
they are easily injured by l9w temperatures. The tea-scented
Fig. 2.-Radiance is probably the most reliable pink hybrid tea.
flowers are usually of delightful form and exhibit a wide range
of colors. Continuous blooming is characteristic of this group
unless dormancy is induced by low temperatures. Among the
best of the Tea roses for Florida might be listed the following
well known varieties: Duchesse de Brabant, Lady Hillingdon,
Mme. Lambard, Marie van Houtte, Minnie Francis and Safrano.
Florida Cooperative Extension
HYBRID TEA.-In this group is found the great majority
of sorts that are offered to meet the present day demands for
fancy cutting roses. Pedigrees of Hybrid Tea roses are very
complex and varieties that really should fall into other classes
are often placed in this group. Hybrid Tea roses are more
nearly perpetual bloomers than are members of the Hybrid
Perpetual group. They combine nearly all of the colors possible
in the genus Rosa, are usually characterized by long pointed
buds, strongly scented of tea. Some few of the scores of Hybrid
Tea roses successfully grown in Florida gardens are Antoine
Rivoire, Dainty Bess, Editor McFarland, Etoile de Hollande,
President Hoover, the Radiances, Talisman and others.
PERNETIANA is a term used to denote many of the highly
colored roses originated by the great French hybridizer Pernet-
Ducher. In this class the yellow pigment is occasioned by a
strong infusion of blood of the Persian yellow rose. Generally
speaking, Pernetiana roses are extremely short-lived in Florida.
NOISETTE.-John Champney originated this class of climb-
ing roses in Charleston, South Carolina, early in the 19th century.
Many have shown remarkable adaptability to conditions of the
Lower South and some are closely associated with the charming
ante-bellum gardens that have become so famous through res-
toration during the past decade. Chromatella, Marechal Niel,
Lamarque, and Reve d'Or are members of the Noisette group.
POLYANTHA.-As the name implies, roses of this group
bear many flowers in clusters. The plants are dwarf in habit,
more or less everblooming, exhibiting a wide range of warm
colors. For corsage use no rose can surpass Cecile Brunner, the
Sweetheart rose. It is found listed in this Polyantha group
along with Baby Rambler, Chatillon, Miss Edith Cavell, George
Elger and Tip-Top.
HYBRID PERPETUAL.-Large flowers borne on stiff, up-
right stems characterize this class of garden roses. With the
outstanding developments in the Hybrid Tea group, Hybrid
Perpetuals are rapidly vanishing from the Florida scene. Prac-
tically the only survivor of this one-time great class of roses
is Frau Karl Druschki. This old fashioned white flower is of
such size and charming form and grace that it will be difficult
to surpass as a white rose for cutting.
VARIOUS SPECIES.-Several species of the genus Rosa
have representatives that are part and parcel of Florida garden-
Roses in Florida
ing, and these are listed herewith for want of better classifica-
Rosa chinensis is represented in the gardens of the lower
South by that remarkably tenacious plant that is so widely
distributed, Louis Philippe. Demonstrating a marked ability
to persist in spite of the high temperature and high humidity,
this old fashioned red-flowered variety has earned for itself
a place in the hearts of Florida gardeners. Rosa laevigata,
which we call the Cherokee rose; Rosa bracteata, the Macartney
rose; Rosa banksiae, the Banksian rose; and Rosa gigantea,
represented by Belle of Portugal, are all outstandingly beautiful
climbers that are firmly established as excellent garden plants.
Fig. 3.-Paul's Searlet
Climber is a profuse
spring bloomer in West-
Florida Cooperative Extension
All are capable of multiplication by cuttings or layers and this,
together with their extreme persistence, adds greatly to their
Rosa wichuraiana is the forebear of many of our best climbers
but, in Florida, none will prove satisfactory except in the ex-
treme northern and western parts, where many gardens are
glorified by members of this class as they blossom each spring.
Among the excellent sorts for this extreme northern section
are American Pillar, Paul's Scarlet Climber and Silver Moon.
The following varieties are given for the guidance of those
who may desire to select a few well chosen ones for home and
commercial plantings. There are many others listed in various
nursery catalogs and new ones are being constantly introduced.
Many growers desire particular varieties for special purposes
and these are planted repeatedly, while others occasionally
change at least a part of their requirements in order to test
out some of the many varieties being offered for sale.
Antoine Rivoire. HT.
Creamy white tinted with pink.
Baby Rambler. Poly. Red.
Briarcliff. HT. Rose pink.
Cecile Brunner. Poly. Shell pink.
Chatillon. Poly. Bright pink.
Dainty Bess. HT. Pink.
Duchesse de Brabant. T. Pink.
Editor McFarland. HT. Pink.
Etoile de Hollande. HT. Red.
Frau Karl Druschki. HP. White.
George Elger. Poly. Coppery
Kaiserin Auguste Viktoria. HT.
Lady Hillingdon. T. Apricot
Louis Philippe. C. Red.
Mme. Lambard. T. Rosy salmon.
Marie van Houtte. T. Creamy
Minnie Francis. T. Dark pink.
Miss Edith Cavell. Poly. Blood red.
Mrs. Aaron Ward. HT. Yellow.
Mrs. Charles Bell. HT. Shell pink.
President Herbert Hoover. HT.
Shades of orange.
Radiance. HT. Pink.
Red Radiance. HT. Red.
Safrano. T. Yellow.
Talisman. HT. Golden yellow
Tip-Top. Poly. Tri-color.
American Pillar. HW. Crimson.
Belle of Portugal. H. Gig. Pink.
Cherokee (R. laevigata). White.
Chromomatella. Nois. Creamy
Fortune Double Yellow. Nois.
Lamarque. Nois. Creamy white.
Macartney (R. bracteata). White.
Marechal Niel. Nois. Yellow.
Paul's Scarlet. HW. Scarlet.
Reve d'Or. Nois. Buff yellow.
Silver Moon. HW. Creamy white.
Yellow Banksian (R. banksiae).
PROPAGATION AND HANDLING
Roses are easily grown from cuttings and a few varieties,
such as Louis Philippe, Banksia, Cherokee and Macartney, do
well when so grown; other vigorous kinds do fairly well, but
Roses in Florida
most of the other varieties are propagated by budding and graft-
ing onto rootstocks grown solely for this purpose. Many under-
stocks have been used for roses, including Mme. Plantier,
Cherokee, Rosa multiflora, R. canina, R. fortuneana and R.
odorata. For many years R. canina was the principal rootstock
used, until R. odorata took its place. However, in late years
R. multiflora has largely replaced all others until now most
nurseries are growing a thornless strain of this species as a
rootstock for varieties which are budded and grafted.
The stocks are grown from cuttings which are made during
December and January of each year. Well matured, one-year
dormant canes are selected and cut into pieces six to eight inches
in length; all buds are removed with a sharp knife except the
top one or two from which the new top growth is to be produced.
The cuttings may be placed in a callousing pit, but in most cases
are immediately lined out in the nursery row with just the top
bud exposed. In lining out cuttings it is important that the
soil be pressed firmly about them their entire length, either with
the feet or by using a wooden tamp made especially for the
Rosa multiflora cuttings root readily if made and handled
properly, and will make suitable growth for budding during July
and August. The shield budding method is the one employed
in rose propagation. The buds are inserted just below the
surface of the ground and tied in place. Several materials may
be used for this but in recent years thin rubber strips cut
especially for this purpose have been used extensively. After
budding the stocks receive no further attention until late in
the dormant season, except to remove those ties which cause
injury, when they are cut back to the bud to force it into growth.
After the bud has forced and attained five to six inches in
height, all suckers are removed to insure strong, vigorous growth
in the new top.
Only a small percentage of field-grown roses are grafted, all
by the whip-graft method. The soil is removed from around
the stocks and the scions are inserted below the surface of the
ground and tied in place with waxed string. The soil is then
replaced about the scion, leaving only the top bud exposed.
When the plants are fully mature and most of the growth has
hardened in the fall they are ready to be dug and graded. Some
nurseries will undertake to supply stock the latter part of Sep-
tember but generally this is too early for best results and it
Florida Cooperative Extension
would be safer to allow the plants to remain in the nursery
until late October and November before shipment. The bulk
of this stock is moved during December, January and February.
Fig. 4.-Miss Edith Cavell
is a desirable blood-red Poly-
Digging is accomplished either by hand or with a digger
drawn by horses and mules or a tractor with a high clearance.
Some nurseries practice puddling the roots as soon as the plants
are lifted; this is an easy method of keeping the stock in good
condition. Clay and water are mixed until a thick, muddy ma-
terial results that will adhere readily to the roots as they are
After digging, the plants are graded and designated as Nos.
1, 11/, 2 and 3. Number 1 is strongest and No. 3 smallest,
with 112 and 2 sizes intermediate. Number 1 stock is the best
to plant, although 1 and 2 are sometimes used because of
their low price; the Number 3 grade should never be set in the
garden for flower production.
Roses in Florida
Orders for large quantities of rose plants are frequently filled
direct from the nursery but most small orders are taken from
the heel yards in which the plants are being constantly renewed
from the field as the supply becomes exhausted. In such storage
grounds the plants are placed in trenches and covered with soil
to at least five or six inches deeper than the ground line on the
stem. The soil is wet thoroughly so as to settle it about the
roots and, by handling in this manner, the plants are kept in
Several points must be taken into account in selecting the
locations for the heel yards. They must be well drained and
the soil of such a type that it will readily remain moist so that
the roots will stay fresh and vigorous. The soil must be one
that can be handled easily, otherwise it will be difficult to protect
the roots of the plants completely. A good loam of some one of
the sandy soil series will be found to be best for convenience in
handling, as it can be easily shoveled regardless of moisture
Several weeks before the plants are ordered from the nursery
the bed should be thoroughly prepared, its location having been
more or less predetermined by the design of the grounds. It
should not be situated near trees or large shrubs whose roots
will rob the soil of plant food and water and whose foliage will
intercept the sun's rays. Trees far enough away to allow not
less than five hours of sunlight a day, preferably in the morn-
ing, may be tolerated provided plenty of plant food and water
are given to supply what the roses need after the trees have
taken their toll. A root restricter, made by burying galvanized
roofing vertically along the edge of the garden nearest the
trees or shrubs, will be beneficial in keeping out the roots for
a year or two. The sheets must overlap several inches. It is
advisable to dig down to the bottom of this metal at least every
two years to ascertain whether or not any of the roots have
gone under or between the plates.
An abundant supply of water is necessary and some provision
must be made for proper irrigation of the rose garden. On the
other hand roses cannot stand wet feet, so a well drained loca-
tion should be chosen. If this is not possible, raised beds should
be used to assure the passage of standing water.
Florida Cooperative Extension
In laying out the rose garden narrow beds, preferably not
over five feet in width, are recommended so that weeding, prun-
ing, dusting and spraying, and the gathering of the flowers can
be accomplished from walks on both sides. Tender new growth
is easily broken off by gardeners if they are required to walk
between the plants when working. Nothing surpasses turf for
garden walks. The grass, if properly grown and sheared, makes
well-nigh perfect enframement for beds of roses.
It is considered good practice to arrange trellises for climbing
roses as a boundary around the rose garden to protect the more
delicate bush varieties from winds. Dwarf Polyantha varieties
may well be used as an edging next to the walks.
For climbing and pillar roses, six feet is a satisfactory plant-
ing distance. Hybrid Perpetuals and strong growing Hybrid
Teas should be planted two to three feet apart, while the less
robust Teas and Hybrid Teas succeed well in checks of either
18 inches or two feet. Polyanthas may stand as close as 14
inches in the row. Close planting is desirable because the shade
cast on the ground by the foliage is of benefit in keeping down
the soil temperature.
If the soil is loose, poor sand, remove it to a depth of 15 to
18 inches and replace it with a compost of rotted leaves, cow
manure, and good hammock earth. The older this compost is
the better. It is necessary to add large amounts of organic
matter if the soil is a light sand. In western Florida, if the
garden be on a clay or clay loam soil, this preparation is not
necessary. The addition of cow manure to the soil, about three
inches deep, and turning it deep, is sufficient preparation usually.
The best planting time is when the plants are completely
dormant; this is usually December to early February but may
vary, of course, in either direction as much as several weeks.
It is a good plan to obtain the bushes as soon as possible after
they become dormant so that the root systems may be well
established by spring. Choose an overcast day for planting if
possible. The plants should be carefully pruned back to four
or five eyes, and all broken or bruised roots should be cut off
clean and smooth.
The holes for the plants must be sufficiently large to accom-
modate the root systems without crowding. In the bottom of
each hole drop two handfuls of bone meal, and cover it lightly
Roses in Florida
with topsoil. Dip the roots of each plant in a bucket of water
just before planting. This is helpful in making good contact
with the soil particles. Insert the new bush so that the root
system maintains its former shape and position, and so that
the bush will stand at the same level that it grew in the nursery
row. With plenty of water, work the soil about the roots,
filling the hole to the ground level. Pack firmly by trampling
with the feet, and build a large saucer of earth about the plant
to hold water. Fill this saucer every four or five days unless
there is sufficient natural moisture available in the soil.
CARE OF THE GARDEN
The mulch system in the rose garden is preferred to clean
cultivation. Most organic materials such as weeds, leaves, and
grass clippings which accumulate about the home grounds make
a satisfactory mulch. Oak leaves are excellent for this purpose
and generally can be easily obtained during the period of heavy
leaf shed; at that time they can be gathered and placed in the
garden, covering the soil to a depth of from four to six inches.
Cow manure applied two or three inches deep over the entire
garden soil is a most excellent practice and will give good results.
Fertilizing.-Under practically all conditions it is necessary
to apply commercial fertilizers if the plants are to make vigorous
growth and maximum flower production. In preparing the bed
for a new planting an application of some good source of phos-
phoric acid and potash should be made and spaded into the soil.
If superphosphate and sulfate of potash are used they can be
applied at the rate of four to six pounds and three to four pounds
respectively to each 100 square feet of the rose garden. Where
the application was not made and in old gardens it is recom-
mended that a fertilizer containing 4 to 6 percent nitrogen,
8 to 10 percent phosphoric acid and 6 to 8 percent potash be
applied during February. The amount of this mixture to use
will vary somewhat under different conditions but, generally,
15 to 20 pounds per 100 square feet or about one-half pound
per plant will prove satisfactory.
Fertilizer during the growing season should consist of nitro-
genous materials applied on several different dates. Three appli-
cations-about April, June and August -will generally meet
the requirements of the plants if the organic material has been
maintained in the soil, but they can be applied at shorter in-
Florida Cooperative Extension
tervals if necessary. The amount to apply each time will depend
on the source of nitrogen used; in most instances from one to
four ounces per plant,
S depending on the per-
cent nitrogen in the
S materials, will be suf-
ing is important, as
the plants should nev-
er suffer a setback due
to a dry condition of
the soil. Where there
is no competition in
the garden from roots
of nearby trees, about
two or three thorough
waterings each week
during dry weather
will suffice. However,
if roots from other
plants penetrate the
soil of the rose garden,
it may be necessary to
Fig. 5.-The Silver Moon, a hybrid Wichuraiana, is a de- water oftener and
sirable white climber for Northern and Western Florida.
some soils may require
a daily application. With certain clay soils that have a high
water-holding capacity and no outside root competition, one or
two thorough waterings each week may meet the requirements
of the plants. The grower must study the plant and soil condi-
tions and apply moisture as often as necessary to maintain
adequate growth and an abundance of bloom.
In applying water it is better to flood the soil if possible,
otherwise use a good sprinkling system so as to give an even
distribution over the entire garden. Where the latter method
is used a good type of ordinary whirling lawn sprinkler will
give satisfactory coverage if it is set so as to water the entire
area. It will be found convenient to follow the practice of
turning on the water in the morning after the buds are cut,
allowing it to run for as long a period as required.
The care of climbers does not differ greatly from that of
the roses in the cutting garden, except that the wood growth
Roses in Florida
is for a different purpose. With climbers the flowers are pro-
duced for show and are borne on short stems on the canes, which
are directed over and along some type of support, while in the
cutting garden the aim is to grow buds with long stems to be
used for decorative purposes and the plants must be fed con-
stantly to maintain vigorous growth and development. Organic
materials and commercial fertilizers should be applied to meet
the requirements of the climbing types at all times.
Pruning.-The pruning of plants at time of setting has been
discussed already and during the first year very little additional
pruning will be required. In cutting the flowers there will be
a certain amount of canes removed and the stubs which are left
should contain not less than two or three vegetative buds and
healthy leaves. If there is a tendency for the plants to grow
too rank, a certain amount of judicious heading back can be
practiced by pinching out the terminal buds.
After the first year, plants will continue to require adequate
pruning to produce growth suitable for satisfactory cut flowers.
This pruning, which should be done during late January or early
February, consists in removing about half of the wood by cutting
back the canes to an outside vegetative bud at the proper loca-
tion on the stem. All dead and diseased canes should be cut
out completely and under no conditions should they be left in
the garden. As a matter of precaution in the control of dis-
eases in general it will be found helpful if all wood cut from the
plants is carried out of the garden and destroyed.
Some disbudding will be required with certain varieties, if
stems containing a single flower bud are to be had. This can
be accomplished best by watching the growth of the canes and
pinching or breaking off any lateral flower buds which may
appear as growth progresses.
LATE SUMMER TREATMENT
The rainy season is attended by a flush of growth which
produces a profusion of blooms. After the rainy season, which
is often followed by drought conditions, the plants may be
allowed to rest in preparation for a season of blooms in the
early fall. During this rest period irrigation may be withheld
and the plants may be pruned so as to make them shapely and
compact. With the advent of cool weather an abundant supply
of water and plant food will bring the rose bushes into a flush
of growth which is necessary for the production of blooms.
Florida Cooperative Extension
Fig. 6.-Mrs. Aaron Ward is a hybrid tea with yellow blooms.
Climbers are never pruned severely except where it is neces-
sary to renew certain of the old canes that are in poor condition.
They are directed over some type of support such as a trellis,
fence, or rockery, and the aim is to have a great show of flowers
in season. Some growth will have to be removed occasionally
but the amount is small, as the pruning is principally a thinning
process and the removal of diseased and dead canes.
Roses in Florida
Shrub and bush roses are pruned only to cut out dead and
unsightly canes and to eliminate diseased wood. Such plants
are grown for their showy blossoms, which materially add color
to the landscape when they are properly located.
Standards are used for special purposes in the well-arranged
and organized planting and require only enough pruning to main-
tain their particular shape and effect. However, diseased and
dead wood must be cut out and any exceptionally rank-growing
canes should be headed in to keep the top in well-balanced pro-
portions so that it will be pleasing and attractive.
Early morning, while the dew is still on the leaves, is the
best time to cut roses. Select buds with two or more petals
open and cut them with as short stems as possible. Cutting
roses with long stems is sometimes necessary but this practice
greatly reduces the leaf area and thus causes a serious check
to the plant. A plant is dependent upon its leaves for its wel-
fare and if it is to succeed it must not be defoliated. Small,
sharp pruning shears are best for cutting roses. The cut should
be made on a slant, just above an eye which points away from
the center of the bush.
If there is evidence of rose canker, the wounds caused by
cutting the buds should be protected by painting immediately
with sulfur or bordeaux paste.
As soon as possible after the buds are gathered place them
in a deep vessel of cold water and hold in a cool place for an
hour or two before arranging them. Flower arrangements
should not be placed in a draft, in direct sunlight or near heat-
ing appliances. Each day cut a half inch or so off of the end
of each stem and renew the water in the container.
Those living in areas where there is a demand for blossoms
to be used for decorative purposes often develop a profitable local
market for well formed bloom buds of good quality on long, stiff
stems. The plants are grown for only one year, when they
are discarded and new stock is planted just as early in the
fall as it becomes dormant enough to be dug and handled safely
by the nurseries.
The Radiances are the most satisfactory as a rule, the Red
Radiance being the variety most extensively grown for this
Florida Cooperative Extension
purpose. Other varieties planted to a less extent to produce
cut blooms for the market are Charles K. Douglas, Talisman,
Golden Ophelia, Kaiserin Auguste Viktoria, Briarcliff, Editor
McFarland and Etoile de Hollande.
A fertile, well drained location is important. It should be
well manured and prepared before planting. Cow manure in
Fig. 7.-Frau Karl Drusehki, often called White American Beauty,
is difficult to surpass as a white cutting rose.
Roses in Florida
liberal quantities or, if it is not obtainable, cottonseed meal or
tankage broadcast and plowed or disked in at the rate of one
to three tons per acre at least two weeks before planting is a
good preliminary preparation.
It is best to set the plants in rows three feet apart, spacing
them one and a half or two feet in the rows, mixing bone meal
with the soil in the bottom of each hole prior to placing the
roses. Mulching is not practicable for large areas, and so
abundant fertilizer and a limited amount of shallow cultivation
should be given. Cultivation may begin when signs of new
growth appear and continue at intervals, only as often as neces-
sary to keep down weeds and grass.
When flowers begin to form, an application of 1,000 to 1,500
pounds of fertilizer, already described, may be made and cul-
tivated in lightly to increase growth and bloom production.
During the rainy season apply one to two tons of raw bone meal
per acre and occasionally chop down all weeds with a hoe. In
the hot, dry period following the rainy season, prune lightly,
removing all weak wood and cutting back very long stems.
About the middle or latter part of August fertilize with nitro-
genous material and cultivate as in the spring and irrigate if
possible, if rains are infrequent. This will stimulate growth
on which the last blooms will form.
Some growers, especially on the lower East Coast, are succeed-
ing with roses on muck lands. As such soil is usually rich in
nitrogen, this element is reduced in the fertilizer but phos-
phorus and potash are used liberally. Well balanced fertilization,
careful attention to drainage, cultivation and other factors
important in sandy land growing will insure success.
Rose aphids, or plant lice, at times are serious pests in the
rose garden. They may gather in great numbers on the tender
new growth and about new buds. Stunted shoots and imperfect
blooms are the result if the insects are allowed to go unchecked.
Nicotine and soap sprays or nicotine dust are efficient controls.
Rose beetles occasionally feed on the tender buds. It is im-
portant that thistles be destroyed because they are hosts to
"By Prof. J. R. Watson, Entomologist and Head of Dept. of Entomology,
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station.
Florida Cooperative Extension
Flower thrips are extremely troublesome during dry seasons.
They are tiny, light-yellow insects that infest the blooms in
numbers beyond estimation. Browned petals and balled buds
that fail to open (similar to the injury caused by rose canker)
often result from attacks of thrips. Some varieties of roses
are more seriously injured than others. All roses should be
gathered as soon as they open sufficiently, and frequent applica-
tions of nicotine should be made if these insects are numerous.
As weeds and flowers of many kinds harbor thrips, a careful
cleanup program is recommended.
Pumpkin bugs often attack roses, especially during the fall,
and punctured buds of abnormal shapes result from their feed-
ing in the rose garden. Knocking them off into a pan containing
a little kerosene may be practiced. Spraying is of little or no
value. Thistles harbor pumpkin bugs, so they should not be
allowed to grow near the rose garden. Catch crops, such as
sunflowers, may prove of benefit if the bugs are systematically
collected from them.
Cottony-cushion scale, when found feeding on the under sides
of leaves or on the canes, is best controlled by colonies of Vedalia,
a small beetle which is a specific predator. A citronella spray,
if applied under very high pressure, will give an effective check.
It is possible to reduce the infestation by washing the scale
from the bushes with a vigorous stream from the nozzle of
the garden hose.
Red spider may be kept in check by dusting with sulfur or
by heavy syringing with the hose.
Black spot is one of the most serious diseases with which the
rosarian has to contend. It is first evident in the form of round
or irregular black spots on the upper surface of the leaves. As
these enlarge the leaves turn yellow and drop off. When the
leaves are severely infected they may shed without turning
yellow. The infection starts near the ground and spreads up-
ward on the plant until it is nearly defoliated. This reduction
of the leaf area checks and stunts the bushes. The leaves which
fall off are a serious source of infection, since they produce
myriads of spores of the fungus. It is very important that
all infected leaves be burned or otherwise destroyed.
"By Erdman West, Mycologist, Florida Agricultural Experiment Station.
Roses in Florida
Black spot is especially prevalent during hot, humid weather,
and at this time special precautions should be taken to protect
the rose garden from the ravages of this disease.
Copper compounds, such as bordeaux mixture, Flordo spray
or ammoniacal copper carbonate, a colorless spray, are efficacious
when applied frequently. Calcium caseinate, soaps or oil emul-
sions assure good coverage when added to sprays that contain
no spreader. The disease spreads so rapidly that a coating of
some fungicide should cover the plants at all times to forestall
the entrance of the fungus into the tissues of the plants. Plants
in vigorous growth seem to be less severely injured.
Recent research has shown that very fine sulfur is effective
in controlling black spot if a coating of the material is kept
on the leaves. The grade known as 300 mesh is used as a spray
or dust. Dusting is usually preferable. Sulfur sprays may be
bought in the form of paste. Caution! During the summer,
rose foliage that is covered with sulfur may suffer considerable
injury from burning.
Powdery mildew is a serious menace to roses, especially the
climbing varieties. Dorothy Perkins, Crimson Rambler and
many of the common bush varieties are highly susceptible.
The leaves and shoots of affected plants become dwarfed and
covered with a grayish-white coating. The shoots and buds
of those varieties most susceptible become deformed. Sulfur
fungicides, either dusts or sprays, are satisfactory for the con-
trol of mildew.
Rose canker causes the failure of more rose gardens than any
other single disease. Several fungi causing similar symptoms
are responsible for the trouble. The canes are the part most
frequently attacked. Small purplish spots develop along the
stem, and as they enlarge they become grayish or brownish in
the center. As soon as a cane is girdled, the upper portion
dies. The fungus usually continues down the stem, unless
pruned out, and, if it reaches the crown, kills the whole plant.
The disease frequently begins around pruning cuts and other
injuries, from which it spreads rapidly, killing the bark as it
The leaves are not affected to the same degree as the stems.
The flowers are often attacked, the outer petals turning brown,
drying and then dying. The flower is bound so tightly by these
dead petals that it fails to expand. This condition is frequently
confused with the injury caused by thrips.
Florida Cooperative Extension
Either a copper fungicide or one containing finely ground
sulfur may be applied consistently and thoroughly after the
removal of all affected canes. All parts of the plant must be
kept covered with the protective coating. During periods of
rapid growth and damp weather it may be necessary to apply
a fungicide once a week or oftener. It is necessary to add cal-
cium caseinate, soap or oil emulsion to some sprays to obtain
Pruning wounds should be covered with liquid or melted
grafting wax, lead paint or bordeaux paste immediately after
they are made. Further protection may be obtained by dipping
the shears in alcohol or formalin solution after each cut. Many
fungi can invade the pruning cuts on dormant plants and cause
severe damage, while established or growing bushes are un-
affected by them. Consequently it is very important to treat
these on new plants if you would avoid the loss of plants during
the first year. It is probably the most serious trouble during
When setting a new rose bed be careful to use only healthy
plants. It is easier to keep rose canker out of the garden than
to cure it after it is present.
Locate the rose garden so that it receives at least five hours
of sun each day, and avoid trees and large shrubs.
Buy rose bushes of Number 1 grade that are budded or
grafted on a suitable stock.
Enrich the soil before planting.
Plant bush varieties in beds 18 to 24 inches apart each way,
and space climbers at least six feet apart.
To have ample buds of a given color for flower arrangements,
set several plants of a desired variety.
Plant as early during the dormant season as possible, setting
at the same level as the bushes stood in the nursery row.
Use a heavy mulch of some organic material.
Give plenty of water and plant food. Fertilize several times
during the growing season. Remember that roses must grow
Prune twice each season. Remove dead, infected and weak
wood. Give heaviest pruning when plants are dormant.
Dust or spray with a good fungicide and insecticide to con-
trol diseases and insects.
Replace weak, unthrifty plants each dormant season.