Growing Roses in Malibu/Drought
Many people think that roses would be hard to grow here in Malibu where it is foggy a lot . But actually it is very easy and roses also do well with a lot less water then you think.
One of the funny things about Malibu, is that we really are in a mediterranean climate see for yourself
so roses grow early well there too and if you really want to see roses take off, try growing some of these rose varieties:
Tea roses, tea roses, tea roses, and perhaps did I mention tea roses? They will bloom all of the time in Malibu starting in the early spring and keep right on thru summer and onto fall with little care and regular but deep watering. There are many varieties of tea roses, google it and you will see.
The Robin Hood Rose
Also known as Mediterranean Musk Rose, this is a Rose hedge that produces delicate flowers that last early spring, all summer and if your lucky into early fall. Grows in clusters, much like a typical rose bush. Very fragrant (I mean really fragrant!), very resistant to diseases and pests especially if grown organically. It also is resistant to the diseases that the fog brings and to top it off, it will do with little water as long as the water is kept below ground and deep and well amended, well mulched.
Place a drip line around the rose about 2 feet out from base yet within the well. Try a 2 gallon per hour drip head. One rose should get three drip heads placed at 12-4-8 on the clock. Watering should be done once a week for an hour but you might have to do that twice a week during extremely hot months and especially if you have bad soil. You can help reduce watering while keeping happy roses by applying rock dust (for minerals) compost and mulch with a good acid mulch like Azalea-Gardenia mix which we have available here in Malibu. I would make sure the compost is alive.
Avoid having a rose next to a lawn as over head watering is not good.
Apply a good organic fertilizer once a month. Spray with a good organic liquid fertilizer made for foliar feeding such as liquid seaweed. There are many organic liquid rose fertilizers available that you can spray. Learn to use Coffee, Cream and Molasses once a month to keep Brix levels up. Use 1 gallon liquid coffee, 1 cup milk, and 1 oz granny smith molasses. Spray roses in afternoon or early in am.
Roses love compost tea so spray them that once a month too.
Use coffee grinds around base of plants, mixed into soil, will increase earthworms.
Remember to prune them back in February, yes February not January. This will be much better for them as it will help them avoid the aphids come spring time.
Use a refractometer to determine the roses Brix level if you wish to see if they are healthy or not and if you are doing the right thing or not. Roses should have around a 20 Brix level reading, higher would be excellent. A refractometer does not have to cost much. They range from $35 (EBAy) to Thousands of dollars for labs. I have one that cost me $35, one that cost me $300 both give the same reading.
Happy organic rose growing!
Any questions? Email me firstname.lastname@example.org