Growing Roses in the Tropics
Tara A. Spears
Roses are one of the most popular flowers in the world
due to their gorgeous flowers and deep symbolism. It is
said that there is a rose of every color for every
person, for every emotion. However, besides being
popular for their beauty and fragrance, roses are also
well-known to be one of the more difficult flowers to
grow. Roses need very specific conditions to look and
stay at their best. Just one missing requirement and a
healthy bush of roses can wither and die if not remedied
Given the climate conditions present in tropical
regions, it is no wonder that growing roses can be a
challenge. Roses are sensitive plants—too much or too
little root moisture can kill them quite easily. How do
rose growers in tropical climates manage? It takes
thoughtful placement, constant monitoring of soil
moisture, and vigilance for fungus to keep roses healthy
in the tropics.
Make sure that the soil is well drained. Roses hate wet
feet so one must plan for the rainy season by including
amendments that allow water to move. Dig lots of good
organic matter into the soil like manure and compost.
Because of the intense sun and long dry season, it helps
to minimize evaporation from the soil, and to keep the
roots cooler by applying a nice layer of rock mulch.
Another tip is to plant the rose bush a little higher
than the garden bed so that it is on a little mound.
This will stop the roots from getting soggy from sitting
in water for a long period of time. In the dry season
after the rose bush is established, only a good watering
once a week is necessary.
Black spot on roses: Black spot is a
prevalent rose disease that is caused by the fungus
Diplocarpon Rosae. Should your rose bushes develop the
telltale signs of black spot, remedial measures must be
taken immediately. Otherwise, the bush will begin
producing fewer blooms and the rose's ability to survive
will be jeopardized. When roses exhibit symptoms, first
cut away the affected parts and throw clippings in the
trash, then begin a sulphur treatment.
Like most fungi, black spot thrives in
warm, moist environments so the threat of this disease
is extremely high during the summer rainy season. Spores
will germinate after 7 hours of being wet and when the
ambient temperature is between 65 F (18 C) and 75 F (24
C). The warmer the weather, the quicker the disease
spreads. Proper care of your roses is the only way to
prevent this disease from developing or spreading. Since
spores can survive on fallen leaves, it's crucial to
rake up and remove all dead leaves from the ground and
cut away any infected canes.
At the first sign of black spot, head
to the nursery and purchase wettable sulphur and a soap
containing fungicide. Mix according to directions.
Spray all rose bushes thoroughly including the underside
of leaves as well as the stems. The spores cannot adhere
to the sulphur, so the leaves are protected whenever
they're covered. Because the sulphur will wash off, it's
important to reapply frequently until fungus is gone.
Fungus needs a wet environment for
germination, so take extra care to keep the leaves
moisture-free. For example, plant roses in sunny
locations as opposed to shady places so that the morning
dew evaporates more quickly. Use sprinkler hoses when
watering so that only the roots get watered and not the
leaves. Water early in the day-not after 4 pm- so
there's plenty of time for water to evaporate. Prune the
roses regularly so that air can flow freely among the
leaves. Be sure to allow plenty of space between bushes
for the same reason.
The rose is a symbol of love and
affection. It is indeed the queen of all the flowers. It
acts as a universal code to send love messages. It is
worth more than hundred text messages!
The meaning of rose colors acccording
to the American Rose Society: Red rose - Symbol of love,
beauty, Passion, Respect; Dark Red Rose - Flames of
passion; White and red (bridal) - Happy and long lasting
love; Baby Pink roses - Appreciation, thank you; Yellow
rose - Friendship, Joy, Glad that you are here, Remember
me always, I care for you; Orange - desire and
enthusiasm; Lavender rose - I have fallen in love with
you at first sight.
With thoughtful planting, constant
vigilance for insects and fungus, you can enjoy lovely
roses year round in the tropics. It is well worth the
effort to have fresh cut blossoms from your garden.