Along with the arrival of spring comes tons of rose promotions. It’s easy to be tempted by gorgeous advertisements, beautiful plant display photos and catalog images. But before making your rose purchase, it’s important to take a number of things into consideration.
1) What is your climate like?
Although most roses perform in a variety of climates, some are limited to USDA Zones 6-9. Before buying roses, read the label or catalog description to learn what Zones it’s hardy to. Some roses have been bred to perform in more diverse climates. For instance, several varieties of Flower Carpet roses will grow in areas as cold as USDA Zone 4 (northern Wisconsin, Minnesota, the Dakotas, etc.) and as warm as southern California and Australia. Adding to that, the next generation varieties were bred to be even more tolerant of high heat and humidity, making them ideal for the Southeastern US area. If you don’t know what your USDA Zone is, simply click here and enter your zipcode.
2) How much sun do you have in the spot in which you’ll plant your roses?
Most roses need at least 6 hours of sunlight. Otherwise, their blooms will be limited. They also need good air circulation and rich soil that has good drainage. You can always amend the soil, but if your rose doesn’t get enough sunlight, you’ll be very disappointed in its performance – both in the number of blooms and the overall plant appearance. If you’re in a southern location that gets extremely hot, bright sun, a garden spot that provides morning sun is preferable to keep the roses from becoming sun-scorched. In northern climates, planting roses on the north or west side of a building, garden structure or tree will help to ensure the receive adequate sun.
3) How much time to you have to spend tending your roses?
If you have plenty of time to tend roses (pruning, feeding, spraying, etc.), your choices are quite varied – from hybrid teas and grandifloras to old fashioned climbers. However, if your time is limited, consider buying one of the modern roses – those bred for to require less maintenance. As a winner of over 25 awards for disease resistance and plant strength, Flower Carpet, the original eco-rose, is the perfect easy-care plant for any garden or landscape, requiring no fussy pruning. There are other modern shrub roses that require less care than old fashioned roses, including the Knock Out and Home Run series.
4) Do you want a rose simply for cut flowers or for longer term color in the garden?
Most older tea roses send off a flush of blooms at one point or another but generally don’t bloom much after that. They’re beautiful as specimen cut flowers but don’t expect a summer filled with blooms. The newer modern varieties are bred for long bloom seasons, with many, like Flower Carpet, blooming from early summer through the autumn.
5) What purpose will your roses serve?
Roses come in a wide variety of sizes and as such, can be used in different ways. If you’re looking for a taller shrub rose to serve as a low screen or to plant toward the back of a garden bed, varieties like Home Run, Knock Out, Flower Carpet Yellow or some of the older grandifloras or floribunda varieties like Iceberg are good choices. For garden borders and mass plantings Flower Carpet roses are a good choice. Most varieties of Flower Carpet tend to be lower growing and if planted in groups of 3 or more, can work well as a low hedge or along a border or driveway or on a hillside to control erosion. Smaller roses like Sweet Spot™ – The Decorator Rose™ can work nicely in containers on a deck or patio. Climbing roses are great to for screening unwanted views or covering trellises, fences or other garden structures. You’ll need to attach their long canes to whatever you use as a support. One of the most resilient climbers is Zephirine Drouhin Climbing Rose which grows up to 20 feet.
A few other things to consider . . .
When buying potted roses, look for ones that have healthy green leaves, multiple branches, and haven’t been left to dry out on the shelf. Don’t worry if they’re not in bloom; you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the blooms later.
If you’re buying bareroot roses, be certain to buy from a reputable online source like Edmunds Roses or Easy To Grow Flower Bulbs. Look for roses that have at least 2 or 3 healthy looking canes. Smaller, less expensive roses may have only 1 or 2 thin canes and take more care and time to establish.
If you’d prefer the organic approach to gardening, your best choice for roses are those that don’t require chemical sprays or supplements to keep insects and disease to a minimum. Flower Carpet rose was introduced to the US market over 20 years ago as the first ‘eco-rose’ – a rose that didn’t require chemicals to keep it in peak performance. With over 75 million sold world-wide, Flower Carpet roses continue to be the first choice of the many gardeners looking to garden organically.
Click here for a downloadable Planting Bareroot Roses PDF
The Easiest Roses You Can Grow from Better Homes and Gardens
The Old Farmers Almanac Growing Roses Guide