Choosing Roses for your Garden

Growing roses successfully requires understanding
the basics of rose care.  Adopting the right rose shrubs
for you and your location is key to years of happy rose
enjoyment, whether starting with potted or bare root roses.
Follow this guide to choosing the right rose plants to grow
in  your rose garden and landscape, and caring for your rose 
flower bushes will be pure rose gardening pleasure!




    Understanding Your Roses’ Basic Care Needs

 ‘Getting to know you, getting to know all about you…


Ever hear that song?  :-) 
Beginning rosarians might ponder adapting it as their gardening ‘theme song’.    :)
That familiar melody holds much meaning for anyone with a special passion…and certainly holds depth for the enthusiastic rose lover! 


Growing roses could be compared to raising a pet or a child…To be healthy and grow up strong, beautiful and vibrant, their basic care essentials need to be met. And, indeed, many rose lovers nurture their roses with special TLC like parents. The better you know the object of your interest, be it children, a pet, that special someone or your beloved roses, the better the relationship and mutual enjoyment, right?


   Meeting the Basic Care Essentials of your Roses –

Well, we don’t need to be experts to be able to enjoy our passion for growing roses. But certainly, understanding the basics is of importance with any endeavor. This certainly holds true for raising children or pets as well as in nurturing your roses to be healthy and grow gorgeous.


So what do your rose shrubs need to keep them happy and healthy? Roses need the same basic care elements as we do: good food, water, sunshine, shelter, proper space to grow and breathe, a good ‘foundation’, sanitary conditions, good ‘hair cuts‘ to keep them respectable and healthy, and some TLC and focused Rx should they fall ‘under the weather’. Fudging on any one point of your roses’ care may not kill them or hinder them from growing, but they are not likely to thrive…just as with any other plant or any other living thing. For most Roses, meeting those needs is simple.


    Adopt the Right Rose for You – Choosing Roses to


We wouldn’t…or shouldn’t… rush out and take home the first child or pet we see in our aim to adopt such love into our lives. We take care to match our personalities, interests and resources to assure that we use our utmost wisdom, insight and maturity to make the best decision for that living being that depends on us for a good life.


Now, while our decisions are obviously not as earth-shattering in the realm of roses, (although some rose ‘parents’ may debate that … :-) — the point here in following this initial analogy, is to address that rose plants need to be ‘adopted’ into the right location…with soil and growing conditions favorable to achieving their best potential. Thus, choosing the right rose shrubs to grow for your area is important. Rose varieties that are less suitable to your region may grow…but will likely require more attention and effort. Some rose gardeners thrive on challenge and are more than willing to put in the effort to achieve a stunning show from an ‘orphan’ that most would avoid due to the work, time or lack of needed resources involved to help the rose bush grow to its stunning potential.


For most, less effort is part of the equation of more enjoyment. If you find yourself in that group, then choosing your rose shrub varieties wisely for your region is of prime importance. Visiting local rose nurseries and garden centers as well as studying rose catalogues will help you determine the rose varieties and types best suited for prime success in your yard. Consulting with friends and neighbors who have had success with their own rose bushes is also a great learning tool. Finding what rose plants have grown with success in other neighborhoods in your area is good, free advice! If you have a local arboretum or rose flower park, visiting and observing will not only be an enjoyable excursion, but will exhilarate your senses and provide you with wonderful color, ideas and specimens you may want to admire in your own home garden!


    ‘Sizing Up’ Your Rose Companions


Be sure to take the mature size of the rose bush into consideration as well. If you have only a small city lot to grow your prize roses, you definitely don’t want to discover that you have planted a rose shrub that will grow to 20 feet wide, unless that is what you need, or expand vigorously to overtake other bushes and flowers in your yard!


Selecting roses suitable for your location will help keep disease and pests minimized. Some rose varieties are inheritantly more disease resistant than others as well.  Hybrid Teas and Grandifloras tend to be less disease and pest resistant than landscape roses, Floribundas, Species or Old Garden Roses, for instance.


    Color Your World with Rose Flowers

Color selection of your rose companions also comes into play. Lighter shades of roses seem to attract more pest and disease, and yellow and lilac/lavendar colored roses, in particular, have been known to be somewhat more troublesome. With new varieties being created, this no longer always holds true. But research and questions of local sources will help you narrow down the list of possibilites and find the roses that will win your heart and keep you enchanted with their healthy displays. New varieties are introduced each year, and can keep you enchanted with choices for a lifetime. 


 Various rose colors also hold special meanings and have held significance through history.  You may wish to study the meanings of roses and colors and make your own custom statement in your home garden!



    Roses Have Class

Of course, understanding some of the fundamental characteristics of the Rose Types by classificaton can also lead you in the right direction..but simple observation and questions to local sources will get you started quickly. While certainly not necessary to growing roses successfully, learning more about the various rose classificatons (ie.: species roses, old garden vs. modern) and the many subdivisions within each (ie: floribunda, alba, hybrid teas, miniatures, shrub, bourbon, noisette, etc. ) adds spice and interest to your rose growing adventure – like learning about your own family tree! But understanding the Rose classes can also help your fundamental understanding of a rose’s strengths and weaknesses for use in your particular area and for any particular purpose.


You can live a lifetime without the knowledge of your ancestry…but how much more vibrant and interesting is daily living by knowing from whence we came…and the many nuances of our ‘roots’, not to mention the helpful insight into any medical or health issues in our background.


    What to Look for When Buying Roses

For potted roses, look for healthy stock with buds. Two year old specimens grown in fields are points of importance to seasoned rosarians. Bare root roses are more economical and can be found for sale in all types of shopping venues. They can make great choices, allow you to purchase more rose shrubs than you might otherwise, and bare root rose specimens can give you wider choices than local potted selections. These soil-free roses can be ordered from catalogues and online, since they can be more easily shipped around the country.


If your potted rose plant has not been pruned, look for three or more healthy, green canes, each around 18 inches or more long. Rose shrubs that have been pruned should possess sturdy canes with a minimum top diameter of 1/4 inch.


Whether bare root or potted, avoid rose specimens that have damaged or brown canes, those that have flowered (takes away too much energy from root establishment – cut off the flowers before you plant them and put them in a favorite vase to enjoy indoors…), or in the case of bare root roses, avoid those that have leafed out. Same principle, too much energy is taken away from root development.


Bare root roses should have a robust, well developed root system, reddish in color, moist – not soggy or rotted, without damage, and that are flexible when you bend them a bit. Canes, too, should be healthy green and flexible in both types and undamaged and the union bud (where roots meet the grafted stock) should show no signs of damage or decay. (Own-root roses will not have the graft-bump to worry about..)


Rose are graded as #1, #1-1/2 or grade #2.  For best results for beginning rosarians, stick with grade #1 or #1-1/2.  Grad #2 is acceptable, but the prior suggestion is to help assure success and build confidence in budding rose enthusiasts.  The lower grade rose plants usually have inferior canes and roots, and will likely be more difficult to grow without struggle.


Start the Design of Your
Home Rose Garden with
These Rose Beauties!


  Expect Problems –
But HAPPY Ones!


There are thousands of
roses to choose from, and
more being developed every


Finding roses that will be happy in the new home you provide them will be a daunting task — only in the sense of narrowing it down to the few speciemens you need for your homescape …from the multitude you will fall in love with!



Do your due diligence, plan your selections wisely, and you will not only save many hours of unnecessary toil and rescue, but instead will be able to relax in your own haven of rose splendor, enjoying the glorious beauty of your special rose passions for years and years to come!

Bareroot roses can be a shock
for the novice rosarian. Looking
like a dead hunk of twigs with a
mass of roots, bareroot roses
come packaged without soil in the
dormant state, ready to grow into
show-stopping living art in your
homescape with your proper rose



       - Rose Shrubs - Gardening Roses - Rose Gardening Inspiration for Everyone! -