All About Roses - A Guide to Having Your Own Rose Garden

The alluring beauty of roses makes these flowers favored additions to home gardens. Rose plants are perennial species of the genus Rosa that stems from the Rosaceae plant family. They come in many shapes, sizes and textures along with a wide variety of colors to suit any gardener’s taste. Growing and caring for your own roses is easy and satisfying. With the proper gardening tools and techniques people can easily create successful rose bushes, vines and other types of roses to enhance the landscape around their home.

Types of Roses

Gardener’s can choose between more than 100 different varieties of rose species. Some types of roses look more like other types of flowers when compared with traditional roses. The Austrian briar rose (Rosa foetida) looks more like a large orange poppy flower than a rose, but it’s still considered a rose. Apothecary roses (Rosa gallica ‘Versicolor’) comes in many colors such as white, pink, red, orange or bi-colors. This type of rose looks similar to a carnation flower because of how the petals fan outwards in different directions. Rosa glauca has a star-shaped appearance and it showcases shades of pink, white yellow and combinations of these shades. Most types of roses grow on bushes that range from 2 to 15 feet tall, but some roses also grow on climbing vines. Grandiflora, hybrid tea roses and hybrid perpetual rose species have the well-known classic rose shape with petals that fold around each other.

Different Kinds of Roses from the University of Illinois Extension – A detailed list of various kinds of roses along with their characteristics.

Perdue University – General information about roses and a listing of different rose species.

Clemson Cooperative Extension – General information about growing roses, rose types, features, growth rate and problems.

North Carolina Cooperative Extension – Information about caring for roses, rose varieties and some recommendations specific to North Carolina.

Oregon State University – Information about rose care and planting in central Oregon.

Rose Anatomy

The anatomy of a rose contains many parts that make up the flower as a whole and contribute to its overall appeal. Soft oval or oblong-shaped petals along with the stem and oval shaped foliage are the most noticeable parts seen on a rose. The sepal is a thick light to medium green part that holds the rose together around the stem. Male and female parts are found on the exterior or tucked inside the actual rose, depending on the species. Sometimes the petals of certain species hide some parts of the plant. All roses contain both male and female parts within the same flower. The main female part is called the pistil and it’s contained inside the center of the rose. The pistil begins at the center of the flower and extends outwards. This part contains three other parts known as the style, ovary and stigma. The style is a hallow opening found inside the pistil and pollen travels into the style until it reaches the ovary of the rose. The ovary looks like a round bulb found at the bottom of the center of each rose. Ovules are found within the ovary and each one contains egg cells that develop into seeds. The male parts of a rose are called stamens and this part is made up of two other parts known as the filament and anther. The stamen is a long slender tube and the anthers are sacs that produce pollen. The stamens surround the pistil in most rose species.

Be aware that rose transplants may also contain thorns that can cut into the skin when you handle the plant. Taking extra care and wearing gloves can prevent the thorns from causing too much harm.

Planting Roses

To plant roses you’ll need a garden tiller, shovel, rake and a good fertilizer. Roses need 6 to 8 hours of sunshine per day, so it’s vital to select a sunny area before planting rose bushes. Preparing the soil in advance with soil amendments such as fertilizer or compost can give your roses fertile ground to start on. It may be necessary to use a garden tiller to till the ground and break up tightly compacted or clay-like soils before adding 3 or more inches of compost. Buy transplants or seeds for the breed of rose that you want to grow in your garden. Space small hybrid tea rose transplants 2 to 3 feet apart and plant the roses 6 or more inches deep in the ground, depending on the size of the roots. Larger rose bushes need 5 or more feet of space between plants. Climbing rose vines need 8 to 10 feet of space for climbing and spreading. Plant rose seeds 4 or more inches deep in the soil and space the seeds several feet apart to avoid creating rose bushes that grow to close together.

Roses: Selecting and Planting from the University of Missouri Extension – How to choose the right roses along with planting guidelines and suggestions.

University of Minnesota – Information about selecting hardy roses that do well in cold Northern climates.

University of Florida – How to have success with roses by selecting the right site and soil preparation.

Iowa State University Extension – How to properly care for and plant roses within Iowa.

Caring for Your Roses

Caring for roses doesn’t require much effort, especially in the early days. However, as your rose bushes grow pruning becomes more important. Pruning helps ensure that your roses maintain their shape and it’s necessary to remove dead or diseased leaves with pruning shears. Roses need 1 to 2 inches of water per week, unless rainfall is adequate enough to provide this. Covering your rose bushes during the winter months can prevent damage to your plants. It may be necessary to use small amounts of pesticides to control insects. Natural alternatives such as Neem oil spray can also keep insects at bay.

Ohio State University Extension – Information about how to fertilize, prune and winterize roses along with general care instructions.

Arizona State University – Information about trouble shooting, pruning and general info about caring for Roses in Arizona.

University of Illinois Extension– Information about caring for cut roses. 

Fun Facts and Color Meanings

Rose hips are the seed pods leftover after a rose head has reached full bloom and fallen off. These hips are edible and they contain ample amounts of vitamin C. The colors of roses also hold special meanings. Red roses symbolize true love and romance while yellow roses signify care and friendship. White roses symbolize purity and pink represents elegance and joy.