As I have explained before, I attend a small farmer’s market most Tuesdays called Tasty Tuesday. Tables set up in front of the New Port Richey library sell seasonal fresh produce and sometimes flowers. This particular morning I was captivated by the mini rose arrangements on display in a farmhouse metal carrier.
My friend is one of the few people I know who successfully grows roses in Florida. Think about. How many of you think roses when you hear the name Florida? Nope I didn’t think so. I know some of you might live in Florida and grow roses. I envy you – it doesn’t work for me.
It is warm nearly all year with much of the year hot and humid. The roses just tend to burn out. I gave up trying to grow them years ago, but I do love roses. My friend feeds them continuously to keep them happy and they are growing next to a tree and get 6 to 8 hours of sun. Roses can live in the sun in Florida but need care. First, you must replace central Florida’s sandy soil with top soil. Second, they need to be planted in the sun gradually if bought from a nursery. Nursery plants are not grown in full sun. So when I buy a plant at Lowe’s that says full sun, I may need to slowly adjust it to the full sun starting with part sun. Third, you need to watch for mold/fungus disease due to the high humidity and treat when needed. In the summer with our constant rain, they can die from disease. Fourth, you need to use a high-grade rose food and feed consistently. She suggests a liquid fertilizer. If you are close to the coast, they don’t like salt in the air or water either. For the average home garden in central Florida, roses are hard work. Most of my neighbors do not attempt them. In blocks of gardens, I have only see 2 with a small rose bush. Lots of tropical plants are used which only need protection from the occasional cold weather in January.
So this is the closest I get to having home-grown fragrant roses. I buy them from my friend. Yes I envy my friends in cooler climates with the roses and other flowers I can’t grow, but next January I might have a hibiscus flowering while you are in the snow. I can handle that.
For information on growing heirloom roses, check HeirloomRoses.com.
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