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Growing Roses

Growing Roses

Neptune Hybrid Tea Rose



A number of different types of roses are available today, from miniature types ideal for containers, to large flowered hybrid tea varieties, to climbing types suitable for training to a wall or arbor. For more information on the different types of roses, see our article on Rose Classification.

Although once thought of as especially finicky, not cold hardy, and challenging to grow, modern breeding has improved the hardiness and disease resistance of roses enough to make them suitable for gardeners of any skill level. 

How To Plant

Choose a site with well-drained soil in full sun for planting roses.

Bare root roses can be planted in early spring as soon as the ground is dry enough to be worked, which is usually 4 to 6 weeks before the last spring frost. Keep bare root roses in a cool place out of direct sunlight until they are planted.

Soak the roots of bare root roses in water for 4 to 12 hours before planting, to ensure that the roses are well hydrated. Prepare a hole 18 inches wide and deep enough to fit all the roots without bending. Amend the planting hole with compost or other organic matter. Plant with the graft union 1 to 2 inches below ground in cold climates or just above the soil level in mild winter climates.

The most critical step to successfully establishing bare root roses is to ensure that they do not dry out before root growth begins. The best way to prevent drying out is by mounding soil loosely over the canes, leaving a few inches of stems exposed. Remove the soil after 2 or 3 weeks or when growth begins. The soil barrier protects the canes from drying winds during establishment.


Roses require annual pruning in late winter or early spring to keep plants vigorous and productive. Cut back thin canes by half, and remove any canes growing from below the graft union and suckers growing from the soil. Cut strong canes back to 14 to 18 inches tall and remove dead or spindly canes and shoots growing toward the interior of the plant.

Roses are heavy feeder that benefit from fertilization in spring, when plants begin flowering, and again in mid summer.

Fertilizer Recommendations

Roses benefit from regular fertilization. Use full rates of ALGOplus Rose Fertilizer (5-5-7) or Purple Cow BioActive All-Purpose Fertilizer (4-6-4).

Common Problems

Roses may benefit from some preventative spraying to keep plants free from insects and diseases. Aphids, Japanese beetles, spider mites, rose chafer, and scale insects sometimes attack plants. Common disease problems include leaf spot, rust, and powdery mildew. Choosing disease resistant varieties is helpful for reducing disease problems.

Alternative Products

Other hardy flowering shrubs include Azalea, Lilac, and Mockorange.

Complimentary Products

Long-lasting Copper Tie On Plant Tags can be used to label rose varieties in the garden.

Product Recommendations

Rose Shield Concentrate is a combination fungicide and insecticide that can be used to treat both pest and disease problems. For organic options, Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew is effective against insect pests. Serenade is a non-toxic biological fungicide that naturally protects plants from disease infection.

Rose Facts

Hybrid Tea Roses were originally developed by crossing Tea Roses and Hybrid Perpetual Roses in the late 1800s. Rose flowers and hips (fruit) are edible.


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Growing Tips