Short flower stems
Francis Alberts of Gqeberha writes: I’m so disappointed with my ‘Hestrie’ rose as the flower stems seem to be shorter than usual and aren’t as good for picking. Is this normal for this rose?
Ludwig replies: If the stems of roses are unnaturally short and have already formed flower buds, it’s most likely an indication of not enough water at root level. Push a fork into the soil and wiggle it to make holes, rather than loosening the soil. Then water well and within a few days you should notice a difference. With lots of water pushed into the stems, leaves and blooms, the plants will not only look healthier but will withstand heat and dry wind much better, and the flowers will last much longer on the bush.