Green County MGA

Green County Master Gardeners Association, Wisconsin

Rose Basics

June’s arrival signifies roses in bloom.  This plant with its exquisite flower is in a class of its own.  Garden centers and mail order nurseries offer a wide array of rose types.  Some of the most popular are shrub roses, floribundas, hybrid teas, climbers, and miniature roses.  A brief description of each of these types may help you in choosing your rose plant.

Shrub roses are great landscape plants.  They require minimal spring pruning to shape the plant and remove old wood.  Most shrub roses are hardy in our 4b growing zone and thus require no winter protection.  I would suggest you read the plant tag carefully as it may indicate that winter protection to the base, or crown, may be recommended.

Floribundas grow more compact and have many blossoms per stem. They will produce flowers well into fall.  These are beautiful roses.  These roses are pruned similar to the shrub variety.  Winter protection is highly recommended.

Hybrid tea roses are long stemmed roses.  These stunning roses put on quite a summer show.  Winter protection is a must as this variety is not as hardy in our growing zone.

Most climber roses bloom on second year or older wood.  Thus you would want to find a climber that is hardy to a zone 3 or 4 to help insure winter survival, as the wood will be exposed to cold Wisconsin temperatures.

Miniature roses need the same care as hybrid teas.  The plant can grow to a height of three feet.  The term miniature refers to the flower size only.

Whatever type of rose you select, proper preparation of the planting site is vital in determining the success of your rose plant for years to come.  Make sure the planting site receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.  Your rose plant should also receive sufficient air circulation.  This will help in keeping disease problems at bay.  When planting, loosen the top 18-24 inches of soil.  Work in ample amounts of compost, peat moss, and composted manure.  Sufficient organic matter in the planting area will help ensure that your rose will get off to a great start.  Yearly applications of compost are highly recommended.  Since roses are heavy feeders, you may also want to add a fertilizer that is specifically meant for rose plants.

Roses do have their share of insect predators.  Insecticidal soaps and sprays may be used to control aphids and thrips.  A systemic insecticide can also be applied right to the soil.  This insecticide will be absorbed by the roots and carried to the plant foliage.  Insects will die upon feeding.  Be sure to read label directions carefully.  A systemic will need to be applied about 2 or 3 times a growing season.

If you have a sunny site, I would highly encourage you to give a rose plant a try.  Its breathtaking beauty is well worth your gardening efforts.

Until next time . . . happy gardening.

Nina Binkley, U.W. Extension Master Gardener Volunteer