Growing Roses is Easy!
Growing roses is not as complicated as many seem to present. You just need to know a few tips and tricks and I share them here!
Growing roses in your garden are no more difficult than any other shrub. Why grow roses?
Roses come in hundreds of varieties and can make any outdoor space more inviting. But if you’ve never grown roses before, it can be hard to know where to start.
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Choose the Best Rose Plant
The first step in easily growing roses is choosing the right variety for your climate and growing conditions. How do you know this?
One way is to look around your neighborhood. What are your neighbors growing in their gardens?
Choosing the same specimens can make your rose-growing experience better than trying to wing it.
Or if they are willing to share some cuttings and you want to try and root them you can do that. It is a slower way to get started but oh so satisfying!
No special equipment needed
Root Roses from Cuttings, Beginner Friendly!
Root Roses from Cuttings or Slips an easy way to get more roses. Rose propagation is simple enough for beginner gardeners and just plain fun for all.
If you don’t have neighbors that grow roses or they don’t know what is in their gardens then ask at a local nursery, most have experienced gardeners working with them and they can steer you in the right direction.
Some big box stores also have garden enthusiast staff in their garden centers and others do not so it is hit-and-miss there.
If you live in a cold winter climate, opt for a variety that is hardy enough to survive lower temperatures. Many rose sites will list which are more cold-hardy than others.
Do you live in a very humid area? Try to find roses that are more resistant to fungus and powdery mildew.
If shopping online many rose growers will have “disease resistant” on the tag or info panel.
Where Roses Grow Best
Roses grow best in areas with plenty of sunlight, moderate temperatures, and well-draining soil.
Give them at least 6 hours a day of direct sun. (some varieties will grow in more shade, they just don’t blooms as much when they don’t get 6 hours or more)
I love Hybrid Tea roses but they just don’t perform well for me as they really don’t like my conditions yet they are listed as growing in Zone 8.
I cannot emphasize that enough. Roses are easy to grow if you plant roses that like the conditions of your garden.
Climate, location, and soil all make a difference in how they perform but most of all the type of rose you plant can make or break your success.
Soil for Rose Plants
Start with great soil, if you don’t have it then build it. Rose plants thrive in soil that is well draining and rich in organic matter.
Creating great organic soil is easy enough.
All the best tips
Build Rich Organic Soil Naturally!
Building your organic garden soil is essential for long-term gardening success. Here you will learn the best tricks for great garden soil. Beginner gardener friendly!
Best Time to Plant Roses
The old adage of roses need to be planted at a certain time of year is no longer applicable.
Back then the main way to buy roses was bare-root. (bare-root roses are roses that are dormant and have no soil)
Bare root roses are typically available in January and February.
Now you can buy potted roses online or at garden centers year-round and you can plant them year-round.
See my favorite sources for roses online here.
Now if you live in an area where the summers are extremely hot then waiting until the temperatures cool can be beneficial to mitigate some transplant shock.
But I have planted during high Summer and just provided shade until I know the rose has gotten established. (now you know why you may see umbrellas in my garden)
So to answer what is the best time to plant roses varies by your local climate and conditions. I know I say that a lot but it is the correct answer.
For example, I am in zone 8 and bare-root rose growers send me roses in January. Well, we usually have feet of snow on the ground at that time and there is no way I can plant them out in the garden.
Many other places also in zone 8 can plant them in January, like Seattle or Dallas. So I have to pot them up and wait until the ground is clear to plant my roses in the garden.
Spring makes a good time for most regions as it is milder in temperatures and the roots can become established before needing to be able to withstand the hot temperatures of summer.
Fall can be good too as long as you don’t live in an area that gets cold too fast. You want the rose to become established before super cold hits so it can survive the extreme temps then too.
What is the best way to water roses is one of my most asked questions when I post my rose photos on social media.
How often you water your roses depends on location, climate, and soil type.
Do you have sandy soil? Then you will need to water more often.
Is it hot and dry in your garden? Then you will again need to water more often. We don’t get summer rain so I must water more than someone who does.
Get the picture?
Mulching and adding compost to your garden regularly helps tremendously. And adding a drip system on a timer also makes things easier.
Roses like to get at least an inch of water a week. Most drip or soaker systems will tell you how much water it releases per hour.
But here is the caveat. I live in an old neighborhood where many of the homes sat vacant for years. The roses in those gardens were long established and though they received no care, they leafed out and bloomed each year.
Why? Because they had put down long roots to seek out water. The lesson here is to not water daily but once a week and deeply.
This forces the rose to put down those deep roots and they can get by with less water and still thrives.
Grow a Rose Bush in a Pot
Are you tight on space? You can grow roses in pots and containers. Many of my roses are in pots, barrels, and metal tubs.
Grow Roses in Pots
Most roses will do just fine in pots and containers. Learn how you can fit these beauties into your space and how to best care for them!
My History with Roses
If you have been around here long you know I love roses.
I have successfully grown roses for the past 40 years. Like my other gardening techniques, I don’t follow the traditional so-called “wisdom” of caring for them.
You may ask why since this “wisdom” has been around for ages and ages. Well quite frankly, I have found that many times it is just plain wrong for my area and climate.
Gardening is not an exact science. There is no ‘one size fits all’.
What works for a plant in Ohio would not be correct in California but you can successfully grow that plant in both locations.
(Just click here for the start of my series Lazy Gal’s Garden guide, for the atypical gardener. )
Not all Roses are Created Equal
Many plunk all roses into one box and think they are treated the same. In fact, there are hundreds of species of roses.
Some originated and flourished in colder climes while others came from warmer areas. Crosses of these were made to harness the best attributes of each.
For a great in-depth look at the History of Roses click HERE.
Hybrid Teas are a cross of the tender, ever-blooming Tea roses with the hardier Hybrid Perpetuals.
The majority of pruning “rules” were developed for the Hybrid Teas. The pruning rules were employed to encourage long stems for exhibition.
Do you exhibit your roses?
Me neither so really that rule does not suit us, so learn to prune roses that suit the plant not some outdated, popular advice.
Firefighter is my only Hybrid Tea, it is so sweet-smelling. Most Hybrid Teas do not flourish here therefore I don’t usually bother with them.
I grow my roses organically without pesticides etc. I do get some damage that is cosmetic only and does no real harm to the plant. Some areas do contend with some really nasty critters that will eat their roses to a nub but there are some natural traps and deterrents that will help.
Do You Have to Follow the Rules?
I grew quite a variety of Hybrid Teas when I lived in the San Joaquin Valley and they thrived.
Did I follow the rules then?
I didn’t even know what the rules were for a long time.
Most Hybrid Teas do well with the traditional methods but there are actually some that don’t.
What did I do? I observed my roses and learned what they needed and when. All the while I kept in mind the general guidelines of care.
That is a huge key to successful gardening, not just with roses, but with all plants.
I now grow mostly David Austin English Roses and Antique or Heirloom Roses, many of which have different care requirements than Hybrid Teas.
Know why you prune roses
It will help to know why you should prune:
1. Disease and Pest control. Diseased or pest-ridden canes will suck energy from the plant trying to fight. Prune it out. It does not matter when.
2. Improve airflow through the plant which reduces fungal and pest problems.
3. Force Dormancy, in warmer climes it is beneficial to force your roses into dormancy since they won’t go into it themselves. Most do this in January, in the Northern Hemisphere.
4. Shape the bush, (this is for the upright growing roses, not ground cover roses which can be treated differently) Climbers also need a different approach for shaping than bush type. (click here for how I prune my climbing roses)
I also decided to write this post as I have been seeing a lot of advice on garden sites say DON’T PRUNE IN FALL, that is not correct information for everyone.
Being that we get snow, the heavy, wet stuff that is called Sierra Cement, I have to do some judicious pruning in late Fall.
The roses have gone dormant and will not put on new growth until it warms up so I don’t worry about new growth getting zapped by the cold or if they have not yet gone into dormancy my hard pruning forces it.
If I didn’t do this pruning before the snow flies, then I would end up with some severely damaged roses. Pruning in late Fall is essential for me to get the best from my roses, if I waited until early Spring as many say you should then it would be much too late.
Heirloom Roses has the most sensible post on rose pruning I have come across. They give many variables you may face including different types of roses and why to prune in different seasons.
Their photos show you what they are talking about, they do a much better job than I ever could.
My takeaway advice for today is, get to know your plants rather than follow rigid rules that may not apply to you and that includes pruning.
Even moving a rose from one area of your garden to another can affect how it performs. I have moved quite a few plants that floundered in one area and had them thrive in another.
There are many folks who think roses are too high maintenance to have in the easy-care garden but that is not true in the least.
Roses are a sheer delight to grow and take no more work than any other plant if you plant what grows best in your area.
I wish you happy Rose growing and glorious blooms ever after!
Resources for Hardy Roses
The David Austin website has many that are rated very Hardy for colder areas and some for warmer areas. (not an affiliate, I just love them, this is the link for the US branch, there is also links for other countries)
Heirloom Roses have some lovely varieties of old roses that are hardy as well. All their roses are own root. (they also have gift certificates for gift giving)
Antique Rose Emporium carries some lovely vintage roses that are hard to find elsewhere.
I wish you Happy Rose Growing!