Growing Roses in Los Angeles by a Lazy Gardener

Growing Roses in Los Angeles by a Lazy Gardener

Roses in Pasadena Garden

Roses in Pasadena Garden

Growing roses in Los Angeles by a lazy Gardener.

Living in Pasadena, the Rose City, we are blessed with perfect conditions for growing roses. I have upwards of 40 rose bushes in my front and back yards, many of which I inherited from previous owners. Some of the oldest bushes are probably 40 or 50 years old. I’ve added some English and heirloom rose varieties. The existing roses are all types, hybrid Tea, Grandiflora, bush and climbing roses. I find the English roses, which are more fragile, do best with a little light shade during the hottest part of the day here in my Pasadena garden.

Having said all that, I’m a lazy gardener, especially when it comes to roses. I don’t do a lot of cutting back and I don’t like using a lot of sprays and artificial chemicals. But I do get lots of blooms – big ones too. Wanna know my secret?

Epsom Salts. Yep, plain old drug store variety Epsom Salts AKA Magnesium Sulfate, a naturally occuring mineral. Interesting fact: Epsom salts get their name from Epsom, England, where it was originally mined.

I add Epsom Salts 2 or 3 times per year, whenever blooming slows down.  I feed all my other plants with Epsom Salts as well. But I get the most spectacular results with my roses – more canes, more and bigger blooms.

I’ve been doing this for 7 or 8 years and have not seen any adverse effects.

I sprinkle 1/2 cup around the base of each plant and water it in. That’s it. You can also dissolve 1/2 cup in one gallon of water (doesn’t have to be exact) and water each plant or spray it on as a folliar spray. But as I said, I’m lazy. It takes me about 15 minutes to apply to all 40 rose bushes.

Mixed rose bouquet from my Pasadena, CA garden

Mixed rose bouquet from my Pasadena, CA garden

Here is an important  home staging and curb appeal tip: If you are planning on putting your house on the market and you have rose bushes, apply Epsom Salts as directed above, about 4 weeks before listing. Your plants will go crazy and look fabulous for potential buyers. If you don’t have any roses in your front yard or near the front door, pick up some Iceberg roses in white or pink. They are inexpensive (Lowes, Home Depot, OSH, Armstrongs) require little or no care beyond regular water and they bloom almost all year long.

By the way, Epsom Salts are great for humans too. Google “epsom salts”. You’ll be amazed at the number of  uses for this very old fashioned, low tech health and beauty aid. I keep several boxes in my house at all times, some for me and some for my plants!

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