Garden Solutions Center Blogs

Take your passion for gardening to the next level with inspired posts.

How to Grow Roses

It might be the color, the size of bloom, a certain flower type, or even the fragrance alone. No matter who you are or where you live, there’s always a certain feature or attribute about roses that makes us want to grow them.

Even winged wildlife cannot escape the magnetic appeal of roses. Butterflies seek their nectar-rich flowers, and many species of birds will build nests in spring or find summer shelter within its arching branches and dense shrubs. What’s more, the rose hips that follow in summer and fall serve as tasty fruit for bluebirds, juncos, grosbeaks and a variety of other bird species.

In our garden, glauca rose is one that’s especially favored by wildlife for its oval red hips. And the gray-green and coppery purple foliage with deep pink spring flowers make a beautiful statement on their own. I’m also taken by the beauty of Lady Banks rose, a thornless climbing rose that explodes with large clusters of small yellow flowers in spring. An added bonus is that this variety is practically immune to disease.

There are so many different rose types ranging from ground cover to shrub to climbing roses, along with hybrid, floribunda, grandiflora, heirloom and many others. Your local Kmart offers a good selection of bareroot, bagged, and/or potted roses from groundcover to shrub to climbing types. Knowing what you want in a rose will ultimately help you narrow down your choices as to what will work best for you.

The best time to buy and plant roses depends on where you live and whether the rose is bareroot, bagged or in a container. Bareroot roses are dormant and therefore available during late winter to early spring. Look for bagged roses from late winter to late spring. And you can find container-grown roses pretty much throughout the growing season. Regardless of whether your rose is dormant or dressed in buds and leaves, avoid any whose canes look weak, dried out or shriveled.

Once you’ve made your selections and have brought your new roses home, keep these planting tips in mind.

- Choose a sunny, wind-protected area with good air circulation and well-drained soil with a pH ranging from 5.5 to 7.0. At least six hours of daily sun is best. If you live in an area where summer heat is intense, choose an area with afternoon shade or filtered shade.

 - Add compost at a depth of 2- to 4-inches and work it into the soil. Mix a handful of bone meal, rock phosphate, or rock dust into the bottom of each planting hole. This will promote healthier plants and better flowers.

- Before you plant, always water roses in containers; soak bareroot roses in a bucket of water for at least six hours.

-  Make a mound in the center of the planting hole. The mound should be high enough so  that the bud union sits right at or barely below soil level. Set the rose in the hole with roots spread out over the mound.

- Backfill the soil around the roots, then fill the hole with more soil. Gently firm the rose in place and water thoroughly after planting.

- Apply compost or aged manure around the base of the bush (assuming that there is no snow on the ground), followed by a 2- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch–such as pine needles–keeping the mulch away from the base of the bush. The added bonus is that the decaying mulch will enrich the soil, improve drainage, and protect the roots.

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  1. I've been looking for a thornless variety to grow up a trellis and the Lady Bank's rose sounds ideal. Thanks for the recommendation. Great article and loved your tips!

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