Chinese Rose Care Essentials for Enchanting Gardens

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Rose is a common flowering plant and one of the top ten famous flowers in China. It boasts rich varieties and colors, a long flowering period, and a strong fragrance, making it a beloved ornamental plant for many. Roses are not only beautiful but also hold various values and meanings. This article will introduce rose-related knowledge from several aspects.

Care Guidelines

Although roses are not very demanding plants, paying attention to some care points can help them grow better and more vigorously.

  • Planting Soil: Roses prefer loose, fertile, organic-rich, and slightly acidic soil with good drainage. It is better to use a mix of potting soil and garden soil. This ensures better nutrient absorption and stronger root anchoring, benefiting roses.
  • Planting Time: The period from May to October is the peak season for rose growth, and it’s suitable for planting roses during this time. However, for earlier flowering, planting in spring is preferable. The optimal temperature for plant budding and growth is around 18-20°C. After transplanting rose seedlings, water them to help establish roots. Provide shade during excessively high temperatures.
  • Maintenance Management: When the temperature exceeds 25°C, growth speeds up, making the plant susceptible to various diseases and pests. During this time, pay attention to spraying pesticides for prevention. Roses require 5-6 hours of sunlight daily. Insufficient light can lead to weak growth or stunted plants. During summer, provide shade when necessary. After May, when flowering begins, try to water in the evening, ensuring proper watering and periodic leaf spraying in the summer for cooling.
  • Sunlight Requirements: Roses love sunlight, and they should receive at least half a day of sunlight to produce vibrant flowers. Roses are sun-loving plants, and insufficient light can lead to weak branches and leaves. Therefore, exposure to sunlight is crucial during the care period.
  • Watering: For potted roses, avoid letting the soil dry out completely. When watering, ensure thorough soaking. In hot summer weather with high evaporation rates, increase the frequency of watering. Watering is best done in the evening to ensure thorough hydration.
  • Fertilization Method: In early March during the budding period, apply well-rotted bean cake, chicken manure, and duck manure. When flower buds open, use a light liquid fertilizer once. In summer, when flowers wither and axillary buds are not developing, apply diluted liquid fertilizer to promote abundant flowering in autumn.
  • Pruning: Don’t hesitate to trim the lower branches and leaves of roses. After flowering, promptly remove faded flowers. Pruning during the growing season is essential. Trim about 1 cm above the branch bifurcation. Be ruthless in cutting off flower buds from young seedlings, as it significantly hinders growth.

Morphological Characteristics

Roses are deciduous shrubs or evergreen shrubs, or climbing and creeping vines, reaching heights of 1 to 5 meters.

  • Stems: Brownish-green stems with or without thorns, the size and density of which vary by variety.
  • Leaves: Alternate arrangement, odd-pinnate compound leaves with 3-5 leaflets. Leaflets are generally 3-6 cm long, ovate or ovate-lanceolate, gradually pointed at the apex, serrated margins, and smooth on both sides.
  • Flowers: Born at the top of the branches, solitary or clustered, rich in color—red, pink, white, yellow, purple, etc. Diverse flower shapes, including single-petal, semi-double, and double-petal. Petals have elongated tips with feather-like lobes. The pistils extend beyond the calyx tube, and each ovary contains 1 ovule. Flowers may have a faint fragrance or be odorless.
  • Fruit: Fleshy rose hips, spherical or pear-shaped, green before maturity and turning red or yellow when ripe. The top splits open to reveal 5-14 bony achenes (seeds).

Distribution Range

Roses are originally from China and are one of China’s traditional famous flowers. Through introduction and cultivation, roses have spread worldwide and become one of the most popular flowers globally. Roses exhibit strong adaptability and can grow in temperate, subtropical, and tropical regions. Cultivation of roses is a common practice throughout China, especially in North China, East China, and Southwest China.

Propagation Methods

There are various methods for propagating roses, with the commonly used ones being cutting, grafting, division, and seeding.

Cutting Method:

  1. Cut robust branches into 10-15 cm cuttings, removing lower leaves and thorns.
  2. Keep 2-3 upper leaves and insert the cuttings into moist sand or peat soil.
  3. Cover with a layer of plastic film to maintain humidity and place in semi-shade for rooting.
  4. After 30-40 days, the cuttings should root and survive.

Grafting Method:

  1. Use branches from excellent varieties as scions and graft them onto wild or cold-resistant varieties.
  2. Grafting methods include cleft grafting, whip-and-tongue grafting, and bud grafting.
  3. After grafting, wrap the wound with plastic film or tape to maintain humidity and ventilation.
  4. Healing generally occurs within 2-3 weeks.

Division Method:

  1. Dig up large rose plants, ensuring each divided plant has enough roots and branches.
  2. Transplant the divided plants into new soil, water thoroughly, and apply a moderate amount of fertilizer.

Seeding Method:

  1. Clean collected rose seeds and soak them in warm water for 24 hours.
  2. Sow the seeds in fertile, loose, well-drained soil in spring or autumn, covering them with a layer of fine sand to maintain humidity.
  3. Water regularly and weed after seeding. Germination usually occurs in 20-30 days.

Disease and Pest Control

Diseases

  • Choose disease-resistant varieties.
  • Proper pruning for ventilation, reducing leaf wetness, and lowering disease conditions.
  • Timely removal of fallen leaves and diseased branches to prevent the spread of pathogens.
  • Spray fungicides like carbendazim, mancozeb, or thiophanate-methyl every 10-15 days for 3-4 times.

Pests

  • Use physical methods such as yellow sticky traps for aphids and leafhoppers, manual removal for mites and moth larvae.
  • Introduce natural predators like ladybugs, spiders, and parasitic wasps for biological control.
  • Spray insecticides like spinosad, imidacloprid, or cypermethrin every 7-10 days for 2-3 times.

Main Values

Gardening and Greening: Roses, with their rich colors and diverse forms, are suitable for beautifying places such as yards, parks, and roads, enhancing the greenery and vitality of cities.

Medicinal Value: Various parts of roses, including flowers, leaves, and roots, have medicinal value. They can be used to treat or prevent diseases such as colds, coughs, indigestion, and skin inflammation.

Economic Value: Roses are not only sold as cut flowers but can also be processed into products such as perfume, tea, and jam, possessing economic value and market potential.

Cultural Significance

Roses are one of China’s national flowers and one of the world’s oldest flowers. They have a long history and profound cultural significance in China, symbolizing eternal love, beauty, nobility, and resilience. Referred to as the “King of Flowers,” the name “rose” originates from its flowering characteristics—blooming with different colors and shapes each month, hence the name “rose,” meaning “a festival every month.” Roses have a long tradition of cultivation and appreciation in Chinese history and are hailed as “the best among flowers.” They are widely represented in Chinese literature, art, and folklore, serving as inspiration for poets, painters, and scholars.

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