Plant Roses for Your Garden’s Future

Erin Conant

Throughout history, roses have been quintessential symbols of beauty and often represent some of life’s most intimate and cherished moments. In San Antonio, roses are the epitome of perseverance. While many lawns, shrubs and trees perish in long droughts, old roses rebound in full bloom.

Old (aka antique) roses are treasured for their resilience including tolerance to cold, heat and drought, strong fragrance, and adaptability to problematic, alkaline soils of clay and rock. More importantly, they’re not a maintenance burden since they don’t require the heavy fertilizing, spraying and nurturing that modern roses typically do.

When incorporating roses into your landscape, there are just a few steps to start them off right:

  • Plant them in full sun.
  • Add organic material to the planting area.
  • Water them deeply and infrequently. (It’s not unheard of to water them only twice a month.)
  • Remove dead and crossing canes, and reduce the rose’s height by no more than 1/3 twice a year (Valentine’s Day and Labor Day, for example) to encourage new growth.

Most local nurseries carry antique and Earth-Kind roses,and several varieties including Old BlushMutabilis, and Belinda’s Dream are featured in the landscape at SAWS headquarters.

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