The Best Way to Grow Roses

Tips for a garden that'll leave you blushing with pride.

Roses are beautiful, but can be intimidating to grow. Here are the rose-growing basics you need to get your roses started on the right foot. (And if you want some rose suggestions, check out our list of Top 10 Best Roses to Grow.)

Choose

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.

Plant

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.

Tend

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 mulch, like bark, pine needles or shredded leaves, to conserve moisture and reduce weeding.

Trim

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.

Seven 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

Kirsten
Kirsten is the executive editor of Birds & Blooms. She's been with the brand in various roles since 2007. She has many favorite birds (it changes with the seasons), but top picks include the red-headed woodpecker, Baltimore oriole and rose-breasted grosbeak. Her bucket list bird is the painted bunting.