When adding rose plants and bushes to your garden, consider growth habits, hardiness zone, bloom times, disease resistance, stem length and your personal style. You may wish to plant a mass of one color of rose bushes, blend different colors through your spaces, or incorporate them in mixed perennial beds.
Types of roses:
The idea of rose gardening may conjure images of stately flowering hedges, twirling vines, or long stems in bouquets. However, roses are an incredibly diverse set of ornamentals. What type of rose should you plant? You're limited only by your imagination and planting space.
Climbing Roses: Climbing roses bring vertical interest to the garden, and they're also ideal for covering walls, fencing, or arches with lush foliage and attractive flowers. The individual blooms of climbing roses can be exquisite, making them excellent cut flowers. Climbing roses are available in single or double varieties, and many of our favorites are hybrids of classic climbing roses and other, heartier bloomers. Use climbing roses to create a beautiful, highly-textured backdrop for your other perennials.
Floribunda Roses: Floribunda varieties, named for the Latin phrase meaning "many flowering" were created to produce high-yield plants with classic shape and form. Floribunda roses are a cross of polylantha roses, a heavily-blooming subset of flowers first bred in the 19th century, and classic hybrid teas, which are beloved for their elegant shape and sweet fragrance. Floribunda roses never disappoint, combining amazing color varieties and that classic "rose" shape with a huge floral yield. Plant these in the cutting garden and prepare to be wowed.
Grandiflora Roses: Grandiflora roses were hybridized from a cross of hybrid teas and floribundas, and are generally larger-blooming and taller than floribunda varieties. These queenly roses feature multiple blooms per stem, and absolutely overwhelm the garden with breathtakingly blooms in any imaginable shade. Grandifloras often feature incredibly full forms, with layers upon layers of fragrant petals.
Groundcover roses: Why not fill a sparse place in the garden with the scent and beauty of roses? Groundcover roses do just what their name suggests. Fill your landscape with these specialized varieties of low-growing roses. Landscape roses, or ground cover roses, are often armed with excellent disease resistance and reblooming properties.
Hybrid Tea Roses: In the 20th century, hybrid teas were considered to be the newest, hardiest varieties, and gained fast popularity for their unheard-of vigor. But for gardeners today, they may well, indeed, be your grandma's roses—classic, lovely flowers with tightly-wrapped petals, blooming all season long in stunning, colorfast bursts. There are many reasons behind hybrid tea roses' ongoing popularity. Grow these classic beauties, and you'll quickly learn why these "new heirlooms" are beloved around the world.
Shrub Roses: Shrub roses, also called bush roses, are bushier plants that can be used to build a hedge or divide a yard. English roses are a major subspecies, as are vigorous, huge-blooming Knock Out roses. Our Freedom Roses are ever-blooming varieties, sure to delight with velvety blooms and impressive height all season long.
Miniature Roses: Miniature roses are perfect for patio planting, or for installation in the landscape. Despite their delicate look, most miniatures are actually easier to care for than their full-size counterparts, due to their wild, naturalized lineage. These are as close to set-and-forget roses as one can find, and you'll prize their attractive blooms and disease resistance.
Tree Roses: Tree roses are a beautiful way to add height and architectural interest, with elevated flowers. Tree roses are typically hybrid tea or floribunda roses grafted to a taller trunk to create dramatic height.
How to grow roses
Roses have a reputation for being fickle and hard to please. But, with recent breeding improvements in roses like Floribunda, Grandiflora, and even hybrid teas, growing roses can be easy! Most modern roses are bred to produce tons of flowers and will thrive with minimal care.
Roses do best in loamy, well-drained soil, so add peat moss to your soil to amend it and encourage better drainage. You'll also want to get the pH of your soil into the 6.5 to 7 range, soil that is too alkaline or too acidic can affect the growth of rose plants. Usually, adding limestone to the soil will even out any acidity, while adding aluminum sulfate or sulfur to the soil will lower the pH level of alkaline soil.
Roses need a lot of water, and most varieties should be watered deeply twice per week, early in the day. Morning watering helps decrease the opportunity for your roses to develop powdery mildew. By watering in the morning, you're giving your roses the daylight hours to dry out before nightfall. As your roses grow, you'll need to add a rose-friendly fertilizer, alfalfa meal or compost to keep the soil thriving. Try using a balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 fertilizer, as soon as the roses start growing in the spring, and about once per month through the growing season.
At the end of the season, most roses benefit from winterizing with a layer of much; in harsh climates roses should be fully covered to protect from frost, snow and wind. Be sure to uncover and remove mulch from the roses as soon as the danger of frost has passed.
Removing spent flowers from your rose plants encourages new ones to appear. However, don't dramatically prune the branches of your existing roses until early spring after the danger of frost is gone and before flowering begins.
When to plant roses
Roses have their best chance of success when planted in the fall, several weeks before the first frost, or the spring, after the last frost. Container roses should be planted late in the summer. Bareroot roses are usually shipped in the spring, allowing you to plant them while they're still dormant. That way, they'll begin to settle into their new place, and build out some roots, before growing a great deal of foliage. Bareroot roses should be planted as soon as possible. If you are unable to plant your bareroot roses within a few days of receiving them, heel them in where you want to plant them. Dig a trench deep and wide enough to hold the roots and about two-thirds of the top of your roses, place the roses in the trench and cover with soil until you are able to plant properly.
How to plant roses
In order to plant roses, you'll need three things: a good location, a lot of digging and appropriate amendments. Roses like at least six hours of sun each day, preferably morning sun. Roses thrive in morning sun because they dry faster from morning dew (wet roses can lead to disease) and don't like to be burnt by the afternoon sun. So, your planting location should ideally accommodate your roses' need for light, and fit their potential expanse. Because roses are susceptible to diseases caused by damp conditions, they need plenty of space for airflow between them. If you live in a very cold climate, you may want to help your plants stay warm in the winter by planting them near the foundation of a house or other building.
Test your soil to ensure that it's at the optimum pH level, which falls into the 6.5 to 7.0 range. The soil should be just slightly acidic, soil that is too-acidic or too-alkaline will stunt your roses' growth. If your soil is too acidic, you can add garden lime; if it's too alkaline, pick up a sulphur or aluminum sulfate mix to acidify the soil. You can also dig out the soil and fully replace it with a well-draining, well-suited compost material like loam. Remember also - roses don't like soggy, wet roots.
Roses may be shipped bareroot or in pots. Either way, you'll want to dig a hole that is slightly wider but about the depth of the plant's roots or root ball - and, most roses develop good-sized roots even before shipping. If you have a bareroot rose, using a sharp, clean blade prune the canes to 4-6" long and clip away any broken roots, soaking the roots for about twelve hours before planting. If the rose is potted, you need only remove it from the pot and loosen the roots! Before planting, make a mound of soil in the center of the hole. Then, spread the roots of the rose down the sides of the mound, placing the plant on it. Setting the rose plant on a mound encourages the roots to grow straight down.
When do roses bloom?
Roses may bloom in spring, winter, or fall, depending upon their type and your gardening zone. A rose's ability to bloom throughout the entire growing season is part of what makes them such appealing garden plants. Some varieties of roses even bloom in the winter!
Think about what kind of flowering pattern you want as you select your roses. "Old roses" and some heirloom varieties bloom only once in the spring and once in the fall. However, most rose bushes bloom from early summer all the way through fall. Most varieties of shrub roses, hybrid tea roses, floribundas, grandifloras, and miniature roses are remontant, or "ever-blooming." Knock Out and Floribunda roses bloom from May straight into the frosty months!
When to prune roses
Roses are known to require pruning, but many gardeners find themselves wondering: what's the best time to prune roses? You'll need to consider your type of rose, as well as your USDA hardiness zone. Most roses should be pruned in the spring, after the plant has leafed out slightly, but before the blooms start to show. It's important to prune before the buds break open and the plant is in full blooming stage! In most growing zones, Floribunda and hybrid tea roses should be pruned in February or March.
Some rose types can also be pruned in the fall, before going dormant for the year. However, lots of shrub and species roses are known for their rosehips, which add color to the winter landscape. Make sure to leave those beautiful orange orbs up through the winter!
How to prune roses
Pruning roses allows you to shape your rose bushes, encourage new growth, and keep your rose flowers from getting overcrowded. You'll also reduce the chance of fungal disease like mildews, as you'll allow the rose plant to open to more airflow! Most roses should be pruned in the very early spring, after the plant has begun to leaf out. Check for a pink or red hue to your rose leaves — that's when you know they're ready to prune!
Take a step back and determine where you want to prune. Be sure to prune dead wood from your roses: the woody remains of stalks that have flowered, but won't be flowering again. Look for dead branches and woody remains that just aren't coming back. You should also trim off spindly shoots that are growing outside of the desired shape for your rose plant. And, you should remove cross-grown branches: branches that chafe against other canes.
Use long-handled shears to get enough leverage to trim your rose bush (you can use a small hand-saw for really tough canes), and don't forget to grab your gardening gloves. Begin pruning from the ground up, starting with dead canes and criss crossed branches.
Next, remove any fresh growth that looks unhealthy or is growing outside of the shape you want for your plant. When cutting fresh growth, cut at a 45 degree angle. Make sure you're cutting down to live wood, and that your cuts expose white, live growth. You should also remove "suckers" — low, thin branches that "suck" energy from the plant.
Even though pruning takes practice, you'll get the hang of it! And, roses are very forgiving plants. Even if your pruning isn't picture-perfect, you'll still be rewarded with bright and beautiful flowers!