If you’re looking for an interesting addition to your rose garden, consider Blue Girl. A hybrid tea, it blooms in double flowers that are generally more lavender than blue. A compact shrub, the Blue Girl grows 2 to 3 feet in height, with a 2-foot spread. If grown in full sun in its USDA hardiness zones (4 to 10), the Blue Girl will bloom in spring and fall.
Like all roses, Blue Girl does best when watered weekly and deeply. During hot, dry periods you may need to supply more water. The best way to water the Blue Girl is with drip irrigation or a soaker hose that will supply the water slowly and deeply. Try to keep water off the foliage to avoid fungal disease.
Fertilize the Blue Girl monthly during the growing season with rose food, according to the rate suggested on the package. I make my own, following an American Rose Society recipe:
- 1 cup bone meal or superphosphate (0-20-0)
- 1 cup cottonseed meal
- 1/2 cup blood meal
- 1/2 cup fish meal
- 1/2 cup epsom salts (magnesium sulphate)
Full disclosure: I get commissions from purchases made through links in this post. I haven’t received any products for free — all of the ones I refer you to are those that I purchase and use in my own garden.
The Society recommends that you use the recipe above for the first spring feeding and then you can switch to chemical fertilizers for the subsequent ones.
Water the rose as you normally do before applying the fertilizer and then sprinkle it evenly around the bush, at the at the drip line. Use a rake to lightly scratch the powder into the surface of the soil and then water again. The American Rose Society recommends that if you live in a region with a long growing season, do another application in early September.
Deadhead the Blue Girl rose bush periodically. The leaves on roses grow in clusters, count them and when you find a five leaf cluster, cut just above the cluster, using sharp pruning shears. Check the area around the base of the Blue Girl for suckers (small, immature growth) and break them off the plant or pull from the soil.
Prepare the rose for winter if you live in a cold region of the country. Stop fertilizing the Blue Girl rose in August and discontinue deadheading in October. Remove all foliage after the first hard frost and prune off all dead and diseased wood. Rake the planting bed to remove all plant debris. Add 5 inches of mulch around the base of the Blue Girl shrub and cover the entire plant with leaves or straw.
Prune the Blue Girl rose in early spring by removing all but four healthy, strong canes (stems). Cut the others at the base of the plant. Remove any winter-damaged canes and any that are crossing over others.
Add a fresh, 3-inch layer of mulch after spring pruning. Keep it 2 inches away from the wood and spread it out to 3 feet, completely surrounding the base of the Blue Girl bush.
Of course, these are just common sense rose basics. If you’d like to gain more experience, do visit the American Rose Society’s website.