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Roses are perennial shrubs or vines ranging from 6" creepers to 20' ramblers. They are native to the Northern Hemisphere, mostly Asia but also North America, northern Africa, and Europe.  The foliage is alternate and pinnately compound.  The natural flower is perfect with an inferior ovary and five colorful petals.  Garden hybrids usually have many more petals and come in nearly all the colors of the rainbow.  

Roses have been cultivated since pre-recorded history for their flowers and fragrance.  Rose oil from flowers and hips (rose fruits) is still used to make perfume and rose water.  Hips can also be made into Vitamin-C-packed jams, jellies, and marmalades.

Horticulturally, roses are the most popular shrub in the world.  Species typically bloom once in the spring, while most hybrids repeat bloom all summer and into autumn.  

To produce big, bright, fragrant flowers all season requires lots of energy and inputs.  To perform, like most people expect, roses need 4 things: sunlight (6 hours minimum), well-drained soil, water, and regular fertilizer.  6 hours of light is about the minimum.  Few roses (Gallica,  some climbers, and some species) perform well in part shade.  Roses want moisture but cannot tolerate being waterlogged.  Make sure the soil is well-drained and plan out a watering schedule.  Something simple like Wed & Sun mornings.  Or for containers maybe Wed, Fri, and Sun.  While you are at it, make a fertilization schedule as well.  Compost is a great amendment that  breakdowns over time, but granular and soluble fertilizers provide necessary nutrients to the plant immediately.

All American Rose Selections give awards to some of the most beautiful and floriferous varieties. Earth Kind awards roses that have outstanding performance in landscape conditions and are extremely tolerant of pest/disease.  Earth Kind roses require fewer fungicides and pesticides than others.  

Besides the award winners, there are thousands of varieties of roses and a myriad of shapes, sizes, and scents.  Some are nearly indestructible, while others are high maintenance divas best left to devoted hobbyists.  

See also:
Summer Blooms: Rose
Top Picks: Peace Rose
2008 Awards: Ring of Fire

Below are a few categories and some of their attributes.  

Hybrid Tea - the long canes with big, individual, upright flowers are popular at floral shops.  In the garden they work well in rose beds and repeat bloom all year.  Grafted. The Peace Rose makes a great garden specimen.

Floribunda - clusters of flowers on the end of stems are smaller than hybrid teas but more plentiful.  Grafted.

Climbing - dramatic plants can climb up fences, trellises, arbors, and archways.  Most are repeat bloomers.

Rugosa - tough shrubs with fragrant flowers followed by bright red rose hips that remain attractive well into winter, if you or the birds don't pick them.  A low maintenance plant tolerant of most soils.   

Mini - diminutive roses grow 12-24" and bloom continuously.  Mini roses are tough and well suited for containers.  They will grow larger, spread wider, and bloom more prolifically every year.  'Ring of Fire' is one of the best.

Landscape - groundcover or carpet roses that spread along the ground.  Effective, colorful, low maintenance groundcover. View Cottage Farms Direct options for landscape roses.

Tree - typically hybrid tea or floribunda grafted onto a hardy rootstock.  Repeat bloomers that offer instant height and summer long focal points.

Centifolia - also called cabbage roses for their uniquely round shape with scores of crowded, fragrant petals. OGR

Bourbon - also called Victorian roses. Very large flowers and intoxicating fragrance

English - also called David Austin roses.  Hardy, fragrant, repeat bloomers have floribunda parentage

Moss - an Old Garden Rose (OGR) similar to centifolia with fuzzy green buds

Damask - ancient, fragrant rose grown for centuries. OGR

Gallica - ancient, fragrant rose grown by the Greeks. OGR  Shade tolerant.



wemoss.org 2009, Last Updated June 12, 2009