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GENERAL ROSE USES
We often think of roses as finicky flowers grown only for floristry—and this picture couldn't be further from the truth. The best roses for cutting come from beautiful plants that often serve as versatile workhorses in the garden. The Rosa genus includes a diverse set of ornamentals. So, what's the best rose for your gardening needs?
Hybrid Roses for Cutting
Shakespeare may have waxed poetic about the beauty of a rose, but the Bard missed out on the beautiful, easy-to-grow roses of today. Most ornamental roses grown in the United States are the result of a centuries-long marriage of science and art, led by botanists and breeders to create exceptional hybrids. Hybrid tea roses, Floribundas, and Grandifloras are among our favorite roses for arranging.
Hybrid Tea Roses, the originals of the modern garden, are predecessors to Floribundas, Grandifloras, and many other beloved varieties. Hybrid teas revolutionized the rose world in the 20th century with hardy, fast-growing traits and incredible vigor. Today, hybrid teas are popular with a second, and even third or fourth generation of gardeners, thanks to their timeless silhouettes and stunning colors. With tightly-wrapped petals, long bloom times, and exceptional colorfastness, these flowers are the classic long stems.
Floribunda Roses are rounded and full, great for providing season-long color on an attractive landscape plant. These roses were created out of a cross of polyantha roses, a heavily-blooming subset of flowers first bred in the 19th century, and classic hybrid teas. You won't find many polylanthas these days, as Floribundas have quickly become the more popular, more beautiful variety. Floribundas combine amazing color and delightful fragrance with a huge floral yield. Great for cutting and great for beginners.
Grandiflora Roses were hybridized from a cross of hybrid teas and floribundas, making them the newest of the big rose groups. These queenly roses are generally larger-blooming and taller than Floribundas, and take on full forms with layers of fragrant petals. Grandifloras make excellent hedges, too. Grandiflora roses add a splash of color (in a wide variety of hues) to the garden along with their lovely scent. Because of their tall and fairly sparse growth habit, grandiflora roses fit in well among other perennials and shrubs.
Hybrid Roses for Landscaping
Roses aren't just beautiful—they're also versatile. From climbing to rambling roses, as well as shrub and landscape roses, this group offers much more than classic bushes. Go low with groundcover roses, or reach higher with climbing varieties and grafted tree roses.
Climbing Roses grow up to 20' tall and are ideal for adding height and dramatic interest to landscapes. Use climbing roses to cover walls, fencing, or arches with both attractive foliage and lovely, sometimes wild-looking flowers. Climbing roses are all about adding texture and backdrop to the landscape. Climbing roses are also hybridized, often with favorite hearty bloomers. These varieties are excellent sprawling or climbing roses and double as excellent cut flowers.
Shrub roses or landscaping roses are extremely easy to care for and can handle open conditions such as those in the middle of wide landscapes. These bushy roses can be used to build a hedge or divide a yard. Some varieties, like Knock Out roses, are also prolific, artful bloomers with huge flowers. Our Freedom Roses are ever-blooming varieties, sure to delight with velvety blooms and impressive height all season long. Shrub roses are especially disease resistant and ready to thrive.
Groundcover roses can be just the thing to fill a sparse place in the garden. Low-growing rose species are often excellent rebloomers. Whether sprawling or more upright, groundcover roses can grow up to six feet in width and are ideal for slopes, rock gardens, hanging baskets, and mixed containers.
Miniature Roses usually grow less than three feet in height and are closely related to wild roses. Perfect for patio or garden planting, miniatures don't tend to mind a bit of drought and are incredibly easy to care for. Try planting miniature roses in containers, or as houseplants, for a totally different rose experience.
Tree Roses are typically hybrid tea or floribunda roses grafted to a taller trunk to create dramatic height. If you love the look of elevated floral arrangements, you'll love these living, eye-level roses in your landscape.
Planting roses in the garden
Roses are among the most rewarding garden plants to grow—most have, at minimum, beautiful and vigorous blooms, but many feature excellent reblooming properties, colorfast petals, and easy growth. To grow great roses, start with excellent planting. Let's go through a few general tips for planting roses—and keep in mind that planting needs vary by variety and climate.
- 1. Before buying roses, make a plan for locating them. Choose a location that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day and ample space to allow plenty of air circulation. Any sun-loving perennials and annuals make great companions for roses, as they can complement the blossom color and plant shape, as well as extend the bloom season.
- 2. Before your roses arrive, prepare your site. Roses thrive in well-drained soil that is high in organic matter. To test the drainage, dig a hole about 12" deep and fill it with water. In well-drained soil, the water will drain out within 15 minutes. If the water drains more slowly, amend the soil with organic matter, such as pine bark, peat moss, or compost.
- 3. When your roses arrive, remove them from their box and soak the roots in a bucket of water for at least an hour or two, but not much more than overnight. If you will not be planting right away, cover the roots with damp newspaper to keep them moist and store them in a closed plastic bag in a cool, sheltered area.
- 4. To plant your roses, dig a hole at least 12" deep and twice as wide as the root ball. Build a small mound in the center of your hole and spread the roots out around it. The plant's crown (where the roots meet the canes) should be at ground level for mild climates and 2-3" below ground level for cold climates. Fill the hole with amended soil. Water again thoroughly.
- 5. Top dress your rose plants with mulch. Mulching will help with water retention and weed control while giving your roses a finished look.
Most roses require about one inch of rainfall weekly during the growing season. If you need to provide supplemental irrigation, it is best to do so in the morning to give the sun a chance to dry out any moisture on the foliage. When possible, hand water or use drip irrigation to target the base of the plant. Do not overhead water, as this can encourage disease.
What type of fertilizer is best for roses? Most roses will benefit from a balanced fertilizer, one where the NPK numbers are equal. While some gardeners swear by high-nitrogen fertilizer for roses, we find that too much nitrogen can force the plants to prioritize foliage over bloom production.
You can begin feeding your roses when new growth is about six inches in length. For best results, spread the fertilizer around the plant in a circle, about six inches away from the base of the plant. In addition to chemical fertilizer, roses often benefit from plant food, such as alfalfa meal or a specifically-formulated nutrition blend for roses.