by: Carrie A. Blakley
Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink! Well, not for humans at least. Plants, on the other hand, are getting a lot of water. For some plants, it might be too much water. Roses, for example, and other such waste-land plants. Yes, roses are a type of a waste land plant. We typically think of a rose as being some type of delicate, dainty, sweet smelling flower that needs special care, special soil, and a special place to be planted. Think again. Roses are one of the hardiest plants out there. The reason there are so many rose enthusiasts out there, who tend to be quite a bit over protective of their dear roses, is because roses are prone to various problems, ranging from minor diseases to total root rot, and back again. Larger roses also happen to be a favorite food of the local wild life, most specifically, deer. What of the miniature roses though? Deer almost never even bother to give them a second look. But, why?
I did some research on this a few years back, as I too was asking myself the same question: Why are the deer mowing down my larger roses, but not the abundance of miniature roses that are sitting right next to the larger plants? Answer: Because there aren’t enough little roses to make one bit of difference to a deer, and because most miniature roses often have twice as many little thorns, that run almost all the way up to the base of the flower, the deer just don’t seem to see the point in eating something that’s going to inevitably puncture their mouths with tiny perforations. Well, that certainly makes sense. So now, I invest in miniature roses, rather than their much larger relatives. There is one draw back to caring for a miniature rose, and it’s mentioned in the above paragraph – too much water.
Water ‘mold’, and mildew, are the two top causes of roses getting those horrific black spots all over the leaves, and once it sets in, it can be a royal pain in the neck to get removed. First, and foremost, do not let any of these leaves get onto the soil. If they do, remove the top layer of soil, and replace it with a very dry, sterilized soil (you can sterilize potting soil by baking it in the oven at 200F for about 30 – 60 minutes, in a 3″ deep dish, that’s covered with foil). Clip the remaining leaves that have black spots all over them, but do not let these leaves fall to the ground! Make sure you clip the leaves over a container. If you see any smaller branches that are also covered in these spots, prune those as well. It can be a chore, and by the time you’re done, the poor rose bush will look like it just got the world’s worst hair cut. In the end, however, it will flourish, and you’ll be very happy with the results. So, stay safe, stay dry and, if you’re feeling a bit down, go out and stay with a rose bush for a bit. You’ll be happy that you did! Have a great week everyone!