Thursday, April 11, 2013

Why aren't my roses blooming? Possible reasons.

Preface:  I don't have an issue with roses blooming, any more...  But this blog is a dummy's guide to gardening (I, being the dummy).  I wanted to post this because I get asked this a lot.  I, always, say I haven't been gardening very long so I am only giving my humble opinion on the subject.  So people who comment on this blog, probably know WAY more than I do but the following is my interpretation of why roses don't bloom and how to get them to bloom again.   Initially, I did have this problem and I don't anymore and I just wanted to give my opinion, as to why.

Last year, was my first year gardening.  I started out with azaleas and it gravitated over to roses.  I am probably like most newbie, would-be gardeners.  I go to the nursery and see a beautiful rose plant.  It has beautiful flowers.  Excited, I take it home.  Dig a hole and feel so happy that now I have a beautiful rose plant in my landscape.  The rose finishes its blooms and then does nothing!  For months!  It just sat there as a shrub and I didn't know why.  I began to think I had a defective plant or a one hit wonder.  Maybe they superglued the rose!  I, eventually, figured a few things out and they started blooming beautifully again.

I feel I stumbled upon the reason, however.  They way I stumbled upon the reason and reason itself might be different, however.  

Through trial and error my roses bloomed all the time after I figured it out.  Before I give my interpretation  I want to give my mind set.

I have to come think of plants like every other living thing on earth.  It, fundamentally, has two purposes

  • To survive
  • To procreate
A flowering plant is akin to a woman trying to get pregnant.  To get pregnant or be pregnant, you need additional resources to do so.  If the woman is struggling herself, her body will not try to go through the process of becoming pregnant (create a flower) if she does not have the necessary resource to live and have a baby.  More over, if she is pregnant (rose has hips/seeds) the body doesn't attempt to have another while she is already pregnant.  If she just had a baby, (seeds have already set) her body might be drained of resources to go again.   Now, this is my layman, amateur interpretation of plants,....but I don't think I am off the mark too much.

That being said, I want to tell you what happened that made them bloom again.  I was at the co-op and picked up a bottle of Bayer All In One Advanced care.  I followed the instructions and they came to life.  That implies that food and disease was at issue.  I think that is only part of the issue, personally.
Great stuff

My opinion why roses don't flower?  Stress. Environmental Stress that is.

WATER.   It gets real, real hot I think that the real reason they didn't bloom (or at least the major reason) is WATER.  Plants need a bunch of other stuff too..but in the midst of extreme heat, it seems almost impossible sometimes to over water plants.  They get stressed out and lose their leaves.  They aren't dead but to keep leaves means to allocate water to the leaves.  If the plant is trying to survive, I suspect it want's to protect the cane first, then leaves, then new growth, then flowers.  If the plant is losing leaves, I think it is under heat stress.  So the first reason, I think they didn't flower was water....and sometimes the heat is just a not sure more water will help but making sure it's getting enough.

Last year some roses bushes were for display and some were for cut roses.  The above are Europena roses.  I cut them all the time for flowers in the home.  What happened was my display roses were sporadic in flower and Europenas wouldn't stop.  I have since discovered that if the plant has the resources to flower it will keep trying hard if the flower is gone.  Point is cut the stems to have a new flower on that stem.    I read the other day that in order for a stem to reflower you have to cut below the stem with five leaves on it.  Meaning when the flower is spent,  cut under where you see the first stem that has five leaves on the same stem.  If you don't cut that far, that stem will not have another rose on it.
I couldn't figure out why Europenas were blooming so much more than the others,...I thought it was just the plant's cultivar.

Disease  and Pests
The Bayer works systemically.  Meaning you don't have spray it on the foliage.  It goes through the roots.  But black spot, aphids etc do parasitically cause the plant problems.  It won't stop flowering, but the plant has to deal with it and flower too.  I tried to remove diseased leaves as often as possible and spray for the bugs.  I have been using coffee grounds lately but Spectricide is something that I use.  Although, I heard Sevin is what can help control RRD or witch's broom.  I am not trying to get heavy in this topic but to mention it. Oh, DON'T spray in the heat of the day.
I probably overfertilize.  I do it weekly.  However, I have changed some things in respect to this.  I used a lot of Miracle Gro last year and this year, not going to do that as much.  I am not an "organic" gardener at all.  I am perfectly comfortable with chemicals...  That being said, I think there is something to be said for over medicating people or plants.  So I have opted to be "gentler" in my feeding.  I do think that too much synthetic causes build up and will have negative effects.  So this year...Miracle Gro will be used sparingly.  I could probably type pages about food.  But if you are lost in this area, I would follow the directions on the Bayer and leave it at that.

Meaning what type of rose is it?  Is it a repeat bloomer, does it bloom one time of year, or is it a "sleep, creep, and leap" plant?  What I mean is the different roses have different characteristics.  Some only bloom a few times a year.  Most roses that I have purchased are repeat bloomers.  Also, roses (or at least it is my understanding) that they go through a resting period.  Some roses need to be established a couple of years before they take off.  

Sun and Drainage
I grouped this because I need to tend to my roses before it rains, today.  

These roses get some shade.  They are on a slope and it's very clay soil here.  The ones that get partial shade, actually fare better because of the heat.  This spot isn't ideal but water is very convenient (now) here so they do okay.  Knockouts are serious troopers to adverse conditions.  They aren't my favorite but a must for beginner rose gardeners.  They are very forgiving.

Off Topic.....  Okay experts......I have this tree growing around my rose garden that is in bloom.  I have no idea what it is but it's very pretty.  I was hard for me to get the picture but maybe ya'll can tell me what it is...It looks like sedum or hydrangea type flower.  Anyone have a guess?


NellJean said...

Looks as if you've figured out about blooms and the lack of.

I can only guess about your mystery tree from such a distance. I would have to see the blooms and leaves and stems up close, smell the scent of the leaves and so on, but my best guess is Elderberry.

Janie Jurkiewicz said...

Nell, looked it up. I think you are right.

Violet Muse said...

Hi Janie, Your story sounds very similar to mine without the success :) I am wondering if you live in Georgia like I do? It's very hot here in middle Ga and these are the first roses I've tried to grow. KOR are supposed to be so easy..... do they have to grow for 2/3 years to be established?
So happy for you,your roses look beautiful!
Dee Dee from Middle Georgia

Anonymous said...

I have used Bayer for 2 or 3 years with success, except this year. Healthy, green, almost no blooms. I may get some compost/organic stuff and see what happens.

Your mystery plant is a Viburnum. Very hardy, evergreen, many varieties. Terrific landscaping staple.

Janie Jurkiewicz said...

Thanks, it has to be one of the most popular posts.

Anonymous said...

The Dummy is "I", really? How about the "Dummy" (we're in agreement) is 'me' meaning 'you'.

Anonymous said...

''Dear" Anonymous,
What a petty snob you are...correcting grammar? Did you read what you wrote? Are you trying to be humorous? No wonder your roses aren't blooming!
Green Thumb...not so dumb

Carla Badenhorst said...

This is very interesting. I live in a very hot and humid part of South Africa and we are in the middle of a terrible draught, therefore we have water restrictions. My roses have been doing great for the last 4 years. Some aren't flowering and a few have list their leaves. It makes perfect sense that they are in shock and trying to save the stems therefore letting the leaves die. Thanks so much, I will get a not too strong fertiliser and put a little extra water.