Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Allow Roses to go to Seed
Stop deadheading your roses now. By allowing the plants to form hips (seedpods) you are signaling the plant to go into dormancy. All plants need a resting period, and besides, the migrating flocks of robins love rose hips!
Treat for Fungus Disease
Cool, damp nights are an invitation for fungus disease. Spray with horticultural oil or dust with sulfur powder if you see signs of black spot, powdery mildew, or rust. Your best defense against fungus disease is good housekeeping. Keep fallen leaves picked up and the soil under roses clean.
Continue watering your rose plants until the winter rains begin. Roses in containers always require more water than those growing in the ground.
Propagate Roses From Cuttings
Fall is the perfect time to start roses from cuttings. Select blooming wood of varieties you want to grow. Remove the flower, strip the bottom leaves, allowing a few leaves to remain to support the young plant. Dip the cuttings in a rooting hormone, then place them in a 6-inch container filled with fresh potting soil. Place the container inside a large plastic bag to retain moisture and heat, and set it in an area with bright, indirect light. Mist frequently to keep the cuttings moist. When you begin to see growth, tug gently on the cuttings. If roots have formed, there will be resistance. Remove the plastic bag at that point and treat the little plants with care until planting time, usually in a few months.
Keep Cut Roses Longer
A beautiful bouquet of roses will last much longer if you follow a few simple cutting instructions. Cut early in the morning before the dew has dried from the leaves. Immediately plunge the cut stems into a deep bucket filled with hot water. Allow the cut flowers to rest for a few hours, or as long as overnight, before you arrange them in the vase.