Rosy October: blooming beautiful: care for your bushes

The love affair with old fashioned roses continues, because nothing creates as sumptuous a show in October as these full-petalled varieties.


Covid-19 may have totally disrupted our lives but thankfully it hasn’t changed the cycles of nature, which means that October is still rose month.

The love affair with old fashioned roses continues, because nothing creates as sumptuous a show in October as these full-petalled varieties. 

New roses are also introduced In October and this year they include three new ‘old fashioned’ varieties. ‘Manuela Crabbia’ is a nostalgia rose with huge blooms on strong stems that display many shades of pink. The silvery-pink broad outer petals are edged with carmine and as the rose unfolds, the centre becomes a soft salmon pink.

‘Colette Stella’ is the epitome of a dreamy pink rose, with a distinct rosy perfume. As the many-petalled blooms open into an antique cup shape, the petals become a deeper, warm pink. The 2-m high bush flowers from top to bottom.

‘Pink Polo’ is a tall, vibrant pink rose that opens from a classically shaped bud into a sumptuous quartered bloom, the size of a side plate! The lightly fragrant blooms are carried on long, straight stems; a lovely picking rose. The bush grows to just above shoulder height. It is a white ribbon rose, and a portion of the sales go to CANSA Paarl.

Most of the new roses are ‘Eco-chic’, which means there is no need to spray for fungus disease. They have been bred with disease-resistance in their genes, which is indicated by the ‘ladybird’ logo on their labels.

Rose care is also becoming easier and quicker, with controlled release fertilisers and long-lasting pesticides. Vigolonger fertiliser provides a continual, steady release of nutrition throughout summer and Koinor is a drench that keeps roses free of sucking insects, especially thrips and aphids for up to six months.

In October, the roses never fail to do their best. Even so, rose care doesn’t stop, especially if you want continuous flowering.

Manuela Crabbia rose

The well-being of a rose is easier to assess now than at any other time of the year. A rose with lush reddish- purplish leaves shows that all is well at the roots. Early green leaves and very short stems are a sign that roots are in trouble. The cause is usually compact soil that doesn’t allow the roots to spread out.

A quick remedy is to spike the soil with a fork, as deeply as possible close to the centre of the bush. Add compost so that it falls into the holes, caused by spiking, and water well.

Colette Stella Jan19

Mulching the soil around the roses prevents a hard crust forming on the surface of soil which prevents the water for penetrating, so that it runs off. If that is the case, lightly till the surface of the soil, and then mulch.

Watering is your top priority. Rose should receive a minimum of 10 litres (preferably more) per bush in twice-weekly watering or smaller daily amounts.

If the weather is hot and dry, check the underside of leaves for red spider. If present, spray with Ludwig’s Insect Spray and thoroughly drench the underside of the leaves. To stop the breeding cycle spray three times within two weeks. It will also control aphids, thrips and small leaf eating insects.

Pink Polo LUDbrumirina

The roses will have drawn up a huge amount of nutrition to flower, so this needs to be topped up with an application of Vigorosa halfway through October.

Keep cutting off faded blooms. The bushes look neater and it encourages the rose to develop new blooms.

It is not advisable to pick more than 50 % of blooms off a bush at one time. This reduces the amount of leaves too drastically, which affects the sap flow, stresses the roots, and slows the growth of the bush.

Come and see the roses at the Spring Rose Festival at Ludwig’s Rose farm, north of Pretoria, this weekend. There will be displays of roses, tractor train rides through the roses, rosy refreshments, and children’s playground among the roses. Entrance is free. There will be strict adherence to social distancing recommendations and measures. www.ludwigsroses.co.za or tel:012 5440144. Take the N1 North, Wallmansthal offramp and follow the signs.

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