How to Plant and Prune Rose Bushes (With a Photo Gallery of Roses)
A Rose by Any Other Name
Ask someone to name any type of garden flower, and the first one that will most likely come to mind is a rose. Rose gardens are beautiful and abundant and have delighted gardeners and visitors for centuries.
Planted and pruned correctly, rose bushes will produce many blooms over the growing season which lasts from early spring until hard frost. Many wonder if there is a special trick to successful gardening of roses. While it is true that you must take specific care of most types of rose bushes to prevent disease and pests and to encourage healthy growth, one does not need to be a master gardener to succeed at caring for roses.
Tips on how to plant and prune rose bushes are included below, along with a photo gallery of roses. Read on and enjoy beautiful photos of roses and rose bushes, learn about the meaning of various rose colors and the difference between various types of roses as you select them for your garden—or for a loved one!
Types of Roses
Before considering planting and care, you should decide what type of rose you wish to install in your garden. The most popular variety is a Hybrid Tea, but these are also often the most difficult for which to care.
Hybrids produce a large flower on a stem that is usually long and straight. Other rose bush options include Floribunda and Grandiflora. Floribunda is a cross between a Hybrid Tea and a Polyantha, which is a plant that produces small clusters of flowers. Grandifloras create large clusters of blooms. Among these general types, you can find miniature rose bushes, climbing varieties, and rose tree/topiaries.
According to Wikipedia, there are more than 100 varieties of wild roses that grow primarily in the Northern Hemisphere. These plants prefer a temperate region.
Hybrid Teas are produced by cross-pollinating two different rose plants. Originating in 1867 in France, they are now the best-selling cut flower. Roses are given unique names for celebrities, royalty or popular virtues. The most popular Hybrid Tea is a white rose named "Peace." For a list of popular Hybrid Teas, listed by color, click here.
Meanings of Rose Colors
You want to present someone special with a rose, or perhaps a bouquet. But do you know what the various colors mean? Perhaps you are conveying a message you do not intend. Here is a guide of rose colors and their meanings:
Red: Romantic Love, "I love you"
White: Innocence and purity
Yellow: Friendship and caring
Orange: Fascination (alternatively, Desire)
Lavender: Enchantment, "I am falling in love with you"
Light Pink: Joy (alternatively, Sympathy)
Regular Pink: Happiness
Dark Pink: Thankfulness; good to send to someone in appreciation
Peach: Sympathy or Gratitude
Blue (rare): Mystery
Mixture of White and Red: Unity
Growing Roses: Before you Plant
Best Places to Plant Roses
Roses need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day, thorough watering, a soil pH of 6.5 to 6.8, fertilizing, and proper pruning and disease/pest prevention.
Experts advise that your rose bushes get morning, as opposed to afternoon, sun. This is important for two reasons. First, early exposure to sunlight will allow morning dew to dry off leaves as soon as possible, to prevent black spot and other types of mildew. Second, it is better for your plants to avoid the hottest part of the day, if possible.
Roses require regular watering to keep them healthy and thriving. A little shade later in the day can cut down on the amount of water required, and also result in less stress.
Pruning Roses for Maximum Display
Bare Root Roses or Shrub Roses?
Whether you are planting already established rose plants, or bare roots, the planting method is generally the same. Be aware, however, that bare root roses will be less expensive than their counterparts. The primary difference in care is the additional pruning you will have to do to get the plants established.
Start with determining the best location for your plants as discussed above. Make sure that they will get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. Now, dig a hole at least 1-1/2 feet in depth. Add soil amendment in a cone shape, at least 3 inches thick. Mix in the amendment to the regular soil, digging at least another 1/2 foot in depth. Roses grow well with bone meal, so add an appropriate amount to the hole, or use fertilizer marketed for rose plants. Make sure that everything is combined well. Now, prepare to plant your rose. You will need a square hole sized approximately 2 feet on each side in which to place the plant.
If you are putting in bare root rose plants, be sure to cut down the height of the canes to at least 8 inches, and removed any damaged or diseased roots. The pruning is necessary to promote growth, even if it seems a bit extreme. The mounded soil within the hole in which you will plant your shrub serves to direct root growth in the proper direction, to avoid shallow establishment.
Be sure to allow for plenty of air circulation around your plants. Roses need 3-4 feet of spacing between each one.
Black Spot and Other Rose Bush Issues
Humidity and water are one of the primary causes of blackspot, mildew and rust, fungal diseases that are common to roses.
To prevent or control these issues include, water from below (don't water from top because the leaves get wet), get rid of "infected" leaves from the base of the plants by raking and dispose of them as soon as possible. Also, be sure to cut back infected canes to make sure that disease doesn't spread to the rest of the plant. Treatment is advised as soon as possible.
You may consider fungicides for control (although rust usually only occurs on the West Coast of the U.S.). Applied early in spring, whenever rain is forecasted, you may want to spray it on your rose plants through the growing season until frost. Fungicides registered for black spot control include propiconazole (e.g. Banner), thiophanane methyl (e.g. Cleary 3336), chlorothalonil (e.g. Daconil 2787), mancozeb (e.g. Fore, Dithane, or Maneb), thiophanate methyl + mancozeb (e.g. Zyban), trifloxystrobin (e.g. Compass) and myclobutanil (e.g. Systhane). If you want to go the organic route, you can make your own solution with 1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in a quart of water. Add a few drops of liquid soap to help it cling to the foliage, and spray infected plants thoroughly.
There are some roses that are more resistant to fungal diseases, listed below and in the caption to the right:
Canadian White Star
Maid of Honor
Miss All American Beauty
More Types of Roses
Always A Lady
Regular Care for Your Rose Bushes
If you have one (or more) rose bushes in your garden, be sure to tend to them on a daily basis to keep the flowers blooming throughout the season and year after year.
Watering, examining the leaves for disease and looking out for aphids, earwigs, or other common bugs that can destroy your roses is necessary for the best results.
Enjoy these beautiful roses!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2008 Stephanie Hicks