Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Ask Heirloom Gardener: Are Heirloom Roses Hard to Grow?

Question from the mailbag (heirloomgardener[at]aol[dot]com): Are heirloom roses hard to grow?

Answer from Heirloom Gardener: In short, my answer is no, they are not hard to grow. I'm not sure why heirloom roses have a misperception of being difficult, when my experience has been the exact opposite. In fact, I wrote a whole post about how easy they are, How to Care for Heirloom Roses: No Chemicals, No Sprays and No Special Treatment Required. A short excerpt:

"Heirloom roses are wonderful because they grow with very little care. In response to a recent question, you do not need to use chemicals to grow these roses. If you are into organic gardening or low maintenance gardening, then old garden roses are the plants for you. Look for the following classes of roses: alba, moss, damask, portland, centifolia, and gallicas. Also, include in your selection species and rugosa roses.
Most likely, the only one of these to be found in the average garden center is the so called beach rose: either rugosa alba or the pink single rugosa. Fortunately, they are easily available from specialty nurseries, such as: Antique Rose Emporium, Ashdown Roses, and Rogue Valley Roses. All three offer wonderful containerized own root roses. Rogue Valley Roses also has larger than normal roses for shipment."

In addition, I wrote a related post, Six Trouble Free Heirloom Roses, which includes recommendations of particularly easy heirlooms: Rose de Rescht, Paul Neyron, Madame Plantier, Variegata di Bologna, Henry Martin, and Tuscany Superb. In that post, I wrote:

"The old garden roses are so easy to grow. In most cases, you can dig a hole, add in some compost, plant the rose, water it well for the first year, and from there its requirements are the same as other shrubs in your garden. What they lack in remontancy is made up with fragrance and profusion of bloom. Also, if you grow the Portlands and Bourbons, you can have repeat blooming shrubs as well."

1 comment:

Laurie and Joshua said...

Thanks for the info.
I was not aware that Heirloom roses were so easy to grow.
(I finally caught prof. einstein)

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