We’re hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t enjoy the smell of fresh roses gracing their home or garden. Their delicate perfume and charming appearance will enrich any and every environment. And thanks to advancements in horticulture and preservation techniques, we can enjoy the sweet smell of roses just about year-round.
But how exactly is this accomplished? Roses aren’t perennial flowers, after all. If you’ve ever had specific questions about the bloom cycle and growing habits of the classic rose, then continue reading this article to find them answered. Here at Venus ET Fleur®, we are experts when it comes to this radiant flower, and we have assembled the most relevant facts and information about its cycles of growth, along with a wealth of tips for any green-thumbed reader aspiring to cultivate rosebushes of their own.
Whether you’re looking to learn more about growing your own roses or simply curious about the best time of year to pick up the freshest roses, continue reading this article to learn everything there is to know about why and when roses bloom.
When Do Roses Bloom?
Roses bloom in cycles. The time between when a fully-bloomed rose is cut and when a new bud blooms in its place is defined by gardeners as its “bloom cycle.” The bloom cycle of most modern roses is about 6-8 weeks, with some exceptions.
Most modern varietals of rose will bloom continuously, meaning that they can have a number of bloom cycles over the course of a season, which is typically May through October, depending on the climate. For example, in Southern California, rose season will often begin as early as March, while in equatorial climates, roses can actually be grown year-round. Most commercial roses are grown in such climates, for the obvious reason that they allow for continuous production.
In most climes, rose plants will begin their first bloom cycle after the last winter frost (assuming they’ve been pruned properly). From there, one is typically able to harvest rose blossoms every 6-8 weeks until the end of the season.
These general rules don’t apply to all species of rose, however. There are three main categories of rose bloom cycles.
Certain breeds of rose only bloom once per season. The most well-known of these is the Carolina rose, Rosa Carolina. This species of rose enjoys its first and only bloom in May and is found growing wild in many parts of the US, particularly in the south. Many older rose varieties, discernible by their five distinctive petals, are derived from various once-blooming species. Other popular varieties of these are the "Madame Hardy" rose, a hybrid damask that blooms further along in the summer, and the "Constance Spry," a modern version of the English rose.
Rarer even than the previous category, there are only a few twice-blooming rose species known to us (though some once-bloomers will occasionally throw out an irregular second bloom near the end of the growing season in the late summer or fall). Damask roses (Rosa damascena), a highly popular variant that originated in the Middle East, are one example of this rare trait. These roses are also unique in that they typically bloom in late summer or fall.
Another less well-known of these types is the broad-petaled “Quatre saisons blanc mousseux,” which literally translates from French to “four seasons sparkling white.” True to its name, this fragrant bloom is almost always white, though hybridists in recent history have bred them in light pink as well.
Your average garden rose is probably a repeat bloomer, which means you can often harvest from them a number of bloom crops before the end of the season. Another classic example is the hybrid tea “Peace” rose, which is quite popular with gardeners as its bloom cycle takes three to five weeks, which is much shorter than the average.
Growing Your Own Roses
Now that you understand a little bit more about the different kinds of roses and their various bloom cycles, here are a few helpful tips if you want to grow your own rose garden.
Planting Your Roses
There are two ways to begin your rose-planting journey. The first is with bare-root roses. These should be purchased from a mail-order company with your ideal planting date firmly in mind. Bare-root roses should be planted the moment they arrive. They will usually be shipped in the early spring when the plants are fully dormant (before they have “leafed out”).
On arrival, bare-root roses will look like little more than a bundle of sticks—note that they are not dead, but only dormant. Makes sure that the material in which they are packed is moist and keep them in a cool dark place until ready to plant.
You may also opt for potted roses, sometimes called container roses. These can also be ordered or bought at a local nursery. These are best planted in late spring, though you can begin growing late in the season—just make sure to water them properly, especially as it gets hotter in the summer.
Planting Your Roses
You want to select a site where your roses will receive a minimum of six hours of sunlight a day. Anything less will result in less-than-ideal blooms. Morning sun is particularly important because it helps to dry out the leaves, preventing blight and other plant-based diseases.
Remember, as the sun shifts throughout the year, the angle of the sun (and your rose’s much-needed food source) will change! Those of you living in the northern half of the U.S. will want to choose a site that offers full sun year-round. The more sun you have, the more buds your bush will yield. If in the southern half of the U.S., plants your roses in spots that offer a little bit of afternoon shade, which will give those sunbaked blooms a much-needed rest.
When it comes to finally planting, roses prefer a slightly acidic soil pH, somewhere between 5.5 and 7.0. A pH of 6.5 is right on the money for most home gardening outfits. Once planted, water the roots liberally.
Watering and Pruning
Your roses want diligent watering. Under ideal summer conditions, you want to water the full root zone about twice a week. This is preferred to more frequent, shallower sprinklings, as a lesser volume likely won’t penetrate to the very bottom of the root network.
That said, don’t drown them! Too much water can kill roses—you want your soil to be damp, but with no visible standing water.
As for pruning, steps may vary depending on how you want your rosebush to look and produce. It’s a lot to get into at this late date in the article, but we have already published an extensive guide to pruning your rose bush that we encourage you to avail yourself of when the time comes!
Feeding Your Roses
We shy away from the use of artificial fertilizers, particularly liquid ones, as they tend to promote undergrowth that can attract aphids and other hungry pests. Instead, lean on natural fertilizers or, even better, home compost to fertilize your bush’s soil before, after, and during the growing season.
Early in the growing period, usually May and June, magnesium sulfate can act as a wonderful and natural growth accelerant. A tablespoon of Epsom salts will provide a necessary dose. However, a fun alternative source of magnesium can come from an unlikely source: a simple banana peel.
Banana peels are a natural source of magnesium, sulfur, calcium, and phosphates—all things that roses love and which help them to grow sooner and faster. Bury a mushy old banana or two near the base of your bush and watch those babies bloom!
Real Roses That Last a Year, From Venus ET Fleur
We admire anyone who pursues the noble goal of growing their own roses at home, but you don’t need a home garden to enjoy their fragrance year-round.
Our specialty here at Venus ET Fleur is our handcrafted Eternity® Rose arrangements, which feature 100-percent real roses grown on our rose farm in Ecuador (which, as you now know, allows them to be harvested year-round).
While you toil in the garden, soaking roots and burying bananas, as you come inside for a cool glass of water, you can enjoy the striking appearance and sweet fragrance of our Fleura Vase, which showcases two dozen gorgeous Eternity Roses housed in an elegant porcelain vessel. And because these are Eternity Roses, they will last for a full year given the proper care—meaning you can enjoy their full vibrancy long after the end of the growing season.
There’s nothing quite like fresh roses grown by hand. We sincerely hope that this brief guide is helpful to you as you tackle a new rose-growing season. And there is no doubt in our minds that your first bloom will come through splendidly in time for National Rose Month this June.
We here at Venus ET Fleur wish you the best of luck this summer. Happy growing!