Tips and tricks for growing great roses as seen on KDKA’s PTL

Roses have a reputation for being hard to grow, but make them happy and they will thrive.

Roses have a reputation for being hard to grow, but make them happy and they will thrive.


Roses are really pretty easy to grow if you make them happy. First thing is to find the right place for them. Most like full sun, but they will limp along with less than nominal light. My garden doesn’t have full sun, so I plant them where they get as much as possible and also choose varieties that don’t mind a little shade like ‘Zephirine Drouhin.’That’s the thornless climber I brought on the show. Decades ago I saw it in a Park Seed catalog and fell in love with the plant. Sometimes those early crushes capture us for a lifetime. I’m compelled to grow the rose in my garden. I planted a second one this spring, but baby rabbits have done a number on the plant. Hot Pepper Wax will prevent any further damage.
Flower Carpet roses are tough and beautiful. Knock Out roses are pretty easy to grow too. One of the most popular roses this year is Anna’s Promise, named for a character from Downton Abbey.

Roses should be planted in good soil amended with compost and fed monthly with Rosetone, an easy to find, inexpensive, organic granular fertilizer.

Chewing insects like Japanese beetles can be easily controlled with an organic product called Capt. Jack’s Dead Bug Brew from Bonide. Most good garden centers will carry it. It can’t harm us, our pets, good bugs or the environment.

The most problematic disease is called black spot and it’s easily prevented using a homemade remedy called the Cornell Mixture. Take one gallon of water and mix in a tablespoon of baking soda, tablespoon of horticultural oil (available at garden centers) and a drop of unscented dish soap. Put the mixture in a sprayer and treat the plant every couple weeks if the weather is wet, cold and or humid.

Serenade is a commercially available organic fungicide which also works great.

Find the right rose for you to love, it will return the affection time and time again in the form of flowers and fragrance.

All the plants on the show came from Hahn Nursery.

Stop and smell the roses might be a cliche, but it’s more relevant today than ever.

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