This is often the hottest month of the year in South Africa and there are a number of strategies to keep heat stress to a minimum
- When deadheading only remove the dead blooms and don’t shorten or remove stems; the more leaves on a bush, the easier it is for the rose to keep cool because leaves hasten sap flow and cool and shade the stems.
- Make sure the beds are well mulched. This helps shade the roots and the soil, which not only slows down evaporation, but also keeps the water in the soil cool.
- Even well-watered roses can wilt in very hot, dry conditions. Overhead watering, especially at midday, brings some relief to the roses and will not cause black spot. Watering in the evening at this time of the year isn’t a problem because the leaves dry off quickly.
How much water a rose needs depends on a number of factors such as soil type, the slope of the bed and temperature.
This guide should be helpful especially in February:
- Water daily when daytime temperatures are above 35°C
- Every second day when temperatures are between 28°C and 35°C
- Twice weekly when temperatures are between 22°C and 27°C
- Weekly when lower temperatures prevail
- Only fertilise towards the end of February when temperatures are cooler. Fertilising encourages new growth which puts an extra strain on the plant under very hot conditions.
- Pest and Disease Control
- Stick to the preventative spray regimen.