Roses add an elegant ambiance of romance, tradition, fragrance, and beauty to your landscape. Plant fragrant varieties near the windows and doors of your house to welcome the sweet fragrance indoors. Roses add bursts of color and charm to flowerbeds, gardens, fences, walls, and chimneys. Flank the entrance to your home or drive with a pair of rose trees.
Want to garden like a queen? Don a tiara, or not, and plant a formal English or tea rose garden. Add beauty and a place to repose outdoors with a climbing rose covered arbor, gazebo, arch, trellis, or iron fence and railing.
Climbing and rambling roses are many gardeners favorite choice for vertical plantings as they are easy to train to grow up trellises, walls and other supports. Drape and tack wire, rope or cord around a window or door frame, so the climbing roses will grow and beautifully accent the architecture of your home. Showcase climbing roses and add vertical interest to your landscape by planting them to grow up any of these decorative props: twig arch, rustic wood ladder, birdhouse on a post, or a farm bell mounted on a post.
Rose bushes are available in a variety of colors. Some cultivars, like ‘Joseph’s Coat’ are multi-colored and said to be like owning three roses in one due to the variety of colors displayed throughout the blooming process.
Basic Garden Rose Varieties
Whether you plant a single rose bush or establish a formal rose garden, this list will familiarize you with the basic varieties available.
Hybrid Tea roses are the benchmark of roses for their large, perfectly formed, elegant flowers and their perfumed scent. Roses form singly on long stems, with little foliage at the base of the plant. Typically they grow between four and five feet tall.
Floribunda roses grow in showy clusters instead of one flower per stem on bushes and are considered to be a hardier, disease resistant variety than hybrid tea roses. They are covered with blooms from top to bottom with no bare spots making it a favorite garden feature. Cultivars vary in size from compact and low-growing to hedges reaching heights of five to six feet.
Grandiflora is a hardy and disease-resistant variety with elegant blooms similar to hybrid tea roses. It grows to a taller height, and is well suited for hedges and background plantings in flowerbeds. It generally grows between eight to ten feet tall.
English roses grow as a shrub, and can vary greatly in height, depending on which cultivar you select. Its flowers have lots of lush, fragrant petals. The blooms are similar to antique garden roses from days gone by, with a rich fragrance reminiscent of old-fashioned tea roses.
Wild or species roses are known to have been growing wild for hundreds or thousands of years, especially in rural settings. Wild roses usually bloom in spring. They have shallow roots, making them easy to dig up and transplant in the home garden within the same growing zone. The canes grow quite lengthy, often arching.
Climbing roses grow long vertical canes that easily take hold of its support and thus are often planted to grow up arbors, trellises, fences, gazebos and other outdoor features. Most cultivars are variations of bush-type varieties. Depending on the cultivar chosen, climbing roses can grow in clustered blooms like the floribunda or produce a large single flower to a stem like the hybrid teas.
Basic Rose Planting and Care Tips
Planting or caring for roses? Follow these helpful tips.
1. When selecting a planting site, keep in mind that roses need to receive 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight a day during the growing season. To plant roses near a wall, arbor, post or trellis, leave a space of about 18” inches between the plant and the wall, etc.
2. The soil should be well drained, never muddy. Plant in rich organic soil. Climbers, miniatures and rose trees can be grown in large containers with ample drainage holes. When growing roses in containers do not set the pot on a saucer that could collect water. Roses will not thrive with “wet feet.”
3. The ideal soil is lightly acidic, with a pH level between 5.6 and 6.5.
4. To plant a rose bush, dig a hole that is as deep as the plant’s soil ball and about three times as wide.
5. Just before placing a rose bush in its newly dug hole pour in some water, and add fertilizer to ensure that the moisture reaches the root system and your rose has the nutrients it needs to start growing.
6. Some climbing roses grow quite large, so it is important to choose a variety that your trellis, arch or post can handle. When planting a climbing rose bush, instead of setting it upright in the center of the hole as you would do for all other roses, set it in the hole at a 45 degree angle, allowing the canes to lean toward the support. If the plant canes are too short to touch the wall, trellis or other support, push a stake into the ground and tie the stake to the trellis. Using stretch tape, attach the rose to the stake to train the canes to grow from the stake to the support. Once the canes are established and growing on the support, the stake can be removed.
7. Fertilizer should be applied in early spring and every six weeks from that point on until summer’s end.
8. As a general rule, newly planted roses should not be pruned. The foliage it forms will provide the root system and the plant shoots to get off to a strong start.
9. Prune established roses in the coolest months that freezing weather does not occur.
10. Mulch adds nutrients to the soil, keeps down weeds, and retains moisture during hot weather. Pine straw is the ideal mulch for roses and other acidic plants. Mulch before summer and before winter weather to protect your plants.
11. Newly planted roses should be watered two to three times a week. Always water the soil, not the leaves. Never water after sunset, to discourage black spot disease from forming.
Do you have a favorite rose variety?
Roses Require Pest Control
Roses are susceptible to aphid infestation. Preventing pest damage in your rose garden can be a challenge. Queen Elizabeth’s gorgeous English rose gardens are famous worldwide. If you’ve seen the PBS documentary, you know that the royal garden caretakers rely on natural, organic methods to keep the flowers and foliage flourishing. They use a garlic spray to effectively rid aphids from the roses. While we aren't privy to the Queen’s exact garlic spray concoction, we can offer this garlic solution you can make and use to grow roses like a queen.
DIY Rose Pest Control Garlic Spray
Natural, organic aphid control
Stir 1 teaspoon of garlic powder into 1 cup of piping hot water. Add 1 tablespoon liquid, foaming hand soap. Pour into a gallon jar filled with hot water, and stir. Pour solution through funnel into a spray bottle.
To use, spray rose leaves daily until pests are gone. Reapply after a rain.
Happy, Fragrant Rose Gardening
About the Author:
Deborah Tukua is a nonfiction author, and editor of Journey to Natural Living. She is author of seven books including, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats: 55 Fresh from the Blender Recipes, and Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success. Deborah has been a regular lifestyle feature writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.
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