Roses are classic beauties that have been cultivated and admired for thousands of years. Roses are great in the garden or as cut flowers, and can provide a wonderful fragrance. We often think of the single red rose when we think of roses, but they actually come in a wide variety of colors and types.

The most popular roses are shrub roses, David Austins, climbing roses, hybrid teas, and floribundas, which all have unique ornamental characteristics, yet generally have showy blooms that bloom all summer long. Shrub roses, David Austins, and climbing roses are the hardiest, while hybrid teas and floribundas can be more tender, but they are otherwise cared for in similar ways.

Old garden roses are any roses that existed before roses were hybridized in 1867 and are much less common. Old garden roses have a more modest, vintage look, are more fragrant and disease resistant, yet have smaller blooms that bloom for a shorter period of time (a few weeks to a month) than other roses.

Many rose enthusiasts have mastered rose growing to a highly developed science, but roses can do well by following some simple guidelines.


Full sun for at least 6 hours a day.


Border, mixed in garden bed, or covering a trellis or garage (climbing rose).


Roses need very good drainage, yet enjoy heavy soil with some amendments such as compost or cow manure.


Prefers being evenly moist and not too wet. Requires about an inch a week of supplemental watering if it doesn’t rain.


Apply slow-release granular fertilizer such as Espoma Rose-tone just as the roses are breaking dormancy in the spring. Then fertilize every six weeks, especially after the first bloom cycle, usually about mid-summer. Don’t fertilize 6 weeks before the first frost in fall, which usually means fertilizing not later than about mid-August.

A water-soluble fertilizer like as Miracle-Gro Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food can be used, but will need to be re-applied every 2 weeks, instead of every 6 weeks with Espoma Rose-tone.


Prune off old blooms down to the first 5-leaf junction at a slight angle, about 1/4 inch above the junction.


Apply a layer of mulch or shredded leaves after the soil warms in spring to help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and keep the soil cool in the summer. Keep a space between mulch the base of the stem.

Related Pages

Pruning Roses

Rose Problems

Hybrid Rose Winterization