A living rose - the gift of love for Valentine's Day

Feb Wk2

Presenting a bunch of cut roses is the traditional way of celebrating Valentine’s Day, but a rose plant that will live for many years is a far more appropriate way to acknowledge a long-lasting commitment.

Which rose to choose

For most, red roses will always the number one choice for Valentine’s Day. Old-fashioned favourites like Papa Meilland and Mr Lincoln have traditionally beautiful, fragrant, red flowers.

Other roses can be chosen because they have Valentine-friendly names. Some good Valentine’s Day suggestions are: Angel Face, Best Friend, My Hero, Scentimental, Racy Lady, My Girl or Sexy Rexy (bred by New Zealand’s best-known rose breeder, Sam McGredy).

Specific rose varieties may be in short supply at this time of year (winter’s the season for the greatest choice) but you’re bound to find some potted roses on sale.

Where to plant?

Bush roses are best planted in an open spot in the garden. Lots of sun and plenty of air movement will reduce the risk of fungal diseases. Before planting, dig in heaps of rich, old organic matter.

Smaller roses will grow happily in pots. Yates Tuscan pots, with their good drainage and portability, are available up to a 500mm size so they’re perfect for potted roses. A top quality potting mix (such as Yates Premium or Professional) is always the best potting medium to use.

If you decide that a Valentine’s Day rose should work for its keep in the garden, then the ground-covering Flower Carpets, or a vertical-growing climber can be planted to perform a useful function in the landscape.

Keeping roses healthy

Modern roses grow so quickly and produce such an abundance of blooms that they need far more fertiliser than their wild forebears ever did. Feed the plants regularly, especially during the months of active growth (September-April). This growth period can be shorter in cooler climates, so adjust accordingly.

Yates Gro-Plus Professional Rose Food provides continuous controlled release feeding for up to three months. Vary the rose diet occasionally by feeding with Yates Blood & Bone. And a boost with Yates Nitrosol Organic will help the rose to build its natural defence mechanisms.

If problems appear, Yates ready-to-use Rose Gun or the concentrate Super Shield will help keep roses free of pests and diseases.


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