Roses are probably one of the most familiar plants to people all over the world, there are native types throughout most of the Northern Hemisphere from Alaska to China and Northern Africa to Mexico. Nearly all of the types we grow in our garden are the result of hundreds of years of breeding and hybridizing. Many were brought over from China and bred with European ‘Old World’ roses into the popular ones we have today. They have been used by the Chinese in gardens for over 5000 years where in Europe they have been used for perfumes, legal tender and emblems for royal houses.
Roses really aren’t that difficult to grow and with a few simple steps to follow there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have one in your garden. Roses come in all manner of shapes and sizes with hundreds of varieties providing every colour imaginable. Many roses now are what we call `repeat flowering` meaning you can expect to see flowers from early summer right through until the frosts in early winter, not many plants boast such a long flowering period.
If you only have a smaller lot or patio there are some great dwarf and compact varieties that can even be grown in pots, once again there really is no reason not to have and enjoy a rose in your garden.
Floribunda Roses: These Roses grow tall and bear clusters of large flowers on each stem.
Hybrid Tea: They grow tall and bear a single flower on each stem, commonly used for cut flowers in floristry.
Grandiflora: A cross between Hybrid Teas and Floribundas these Roses usually grow taller.
Climbing and Rambling Roses: Roses that have been bred to grow with long stems suitable for training on a wall or building. Ramblers flower impressively but only once, climbers repeat bloom throughout the growing season.
Landscape/Groundcover (or Carpet) Roses: Flower profusely into autumn with often a low and spreading habit, easy care and low maintenance.
Shrub Roses: Compact and bush form roses used within mixed borders or for hedges. The term shrub is a little confusing as all roses are technically shrubs.
Miniature Roses: Very small varieties often found in supermarkets for use indoors. Can be used outdoors if hardened off.
Standard or Tree Form: A rose that has been grafted (joined) onto a tall rose stem to resemble a small tree. Often used as a centerpiece or beside doorways.
David Austin English Roses: These Roses are bred by David Austin Roses in England. They are bred to have the appearance of classic antique roses, being renowned for their fragrance but possess the re-blooming and pest and disease resistance of modern varieties. They are loved and appreciated all over the world and they have a wide variety including climbing, compact and larger growing plants.
Roses will grow in almost any soil as long as it is well drained. Incorporating some well rotted manure into the planting hole or around existing shrubs will get roses off to a great start and give established plants a much needed boost.
Roses are deep rooted plants and so well suited for drier sites when planted in the ground however in the first couple of years you should keep an eye on watering during the summer months. Roses in pots should also be watered more regularly.
Roses are hungry plants so they benefit from generous feeding; potted roses should be fed bi-weekly and monthly for those in the ground. A rose-specific fertilizer with high potassium is recommended or a liquid based tomato feed. You should stop feeding by the beginning of October to allow them to harden up and slow down growth for winter.
Throughout the flowering period you should cut off spent flowers with a pair of pruners as they begin to fade . This will encourage more flowers to develop and keep the shrub looking tidy.
At the end of the year you can prune back your rose a little bit so that the wind during the winter doesn’t cause stems to break but wait to do the main prune in the spring. Low growing ones don’t need to be pruned unless they are going beyond the area you want them to grow.
Pruning roses isn’t as difficult as you think. You can actually be quite hard on them and they will come back just fine once they start growing again. Most people don’t prune their roses far enough back, which is why stems can become thick and woody and lacking in flowers. Pruning older roses back hard can rejuvenate them and encourage nicer new, growth.