How to Grow Roses: What You Need to Know
It can be intimidating if you don't know how to grow roses. These rose growing basics will start your rose garden off on the right foot.
Roses are some of the most beautiful flowers, but they can be daunting for new gardeners. Here’s everything you need to know about how to grow roses so you can enjoy gorgeous blooms.
When to Plant Roses
Bare-root rose plants perform best if you plant in spring while dormant, but container roses can be put in the ground anytime. If you’re looking for ease, many new varieties are hardier and more disease-resistant, and deliver attractive plants that bloom all summer. New rose varieties take up less space. They’re bred for gardeners with smaller yards and less time.
As any gardener knows, it’s not just about how to grow roses—it’s about picking the right colors! Here’s what you should know about rose color meanings.
How to Plant Roses
Dig a wide hole the same depth as the roots, leaving a cone of soil in the middle, in a spot that receives 6 to 8 hours of full sun each day. To avoid disturbing the roots of container plants, cut away the pot rather than pulling out the plant. Many roses are grafted. The bud graft is easy to spot—it’s the swollen knob with branches sprouting from it. In warm areas, like the South, plant the bud graft above ground level. In colder climates, where temperatures dip below freezing, plant it 1 to 2 inches below the soil surface. Find out why Knock Out Roses are a gardener’s dream come true.
A newly planted rose is going to be thirsty. Create a trough of soil around the plant, check daily and water as needed. Once established, only about an inch of water per week is needed. Watering on the ground, not from above, reduces the risk of disease. Add organic mulch, like bark, pine needles or shredded leaves, to conserve moisture and reduce weeding.
Did you know that roses love garlic?
How to Trim Rose Bushes
To keep roses blooming throughout the growing season, remove spent flowers, a technique called deadheading. This transfers the plant’s energy into creating even more blooms. Trim down to the first or second five-leaflet leaf.
7 Types of Roses to Grow
- Polyantha: introduced before 1867
- Hybrid tea: showy, most popular
- Floribunda: shrubby with bloom clusters
- Grandiflora: tall, ideal for cut flowers
- Miniature: only 6 to 18 inches
- Shrub: large and full; some are fragrant
- Climbing: use with trellises, arbors and walls
This rugosa rose deserves lots of love.
Readers Share Their Best Rose Growing Tips
- “I’ve loved tending to my 27 roses bushes. To prevent rose cane borers, I dab some liquid wood glue on the tip of cane cuts so that the insects won’t enter the cane through a wound.” —Sandra Nehls of Watertown, Wisconsin
- “Roses like to be well-watered, so make sure to apply a layer of mulch to retain moisture.” —Kathy Eppers of Aledo, Texas
- “Never give up on roses, even if they look dead.” —Stephanie Caron of Lucedale, Mississippi
- “Take time to sanitize your pruning shears after each use. That’s how I prevent fungal disease in my rose garden.” —Jennifer Broadstreet Hess of Marion, Kansas
- “Create a schedule for inspecting, deadheading, watering, feeding, applying treatments (if needed) and pruning. And then stick to it. Consistency is my best tip.” —Joanne Thomas of Bayonne, New Jersey
- “Nourish roses with love and enjoy them often, which will alert you early if there are any problems.” —Gloria Durman of Kent, Ohio
Next, check out 15 pretty rose gifts for rose lovers.