Get our free book (in Spanish or English) on rainwater now - To Catch the Rain.
Rose (genus Rosa, family Rosaceae) refers to a scented shrub of the that produces highly prized flowers in a variety of colors and styles. The rose has around 150 species and many thousands of cultivars developed by keen plant breeders. The rose is a woody perennial.
Roses have long been used for culinary, scented, medicinal and landscaping purposes.
THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS (but feel free to be part of that progress by jumping in and editing!)
- 1 Description
- 2 Growing roses
- 3 Pruning
- 4 Problems growing roses
- 5 Using roses
- 6 Sources and citations
- 7 Rose gallery
Rose plants come in a variety of forms, upright, trailing and climbing (rambling). Many roses have thorns on their stems, some soft and some sharp.
Rose colours are highly variable and include white, crimson, red, pink, maroon, purple, pastel/light, variegated, etc.
[Each of the following rose types deserves its own page at some stage, so the descriptions provided are brief, awaiting expansion in separate pages.]
Wild rose species
There are around 150 wild rose species. These form the ancestors of the rose varieties grown in today's gardens.
One of the earliest wild roses was the Rose of Provins, or French rose (R. gallica var. officinalis). This rose is known as the "apothecary's rose". Another rose was derived from this rose, and is known as Rosa Mundi (R. gallica Versicolor). Gallica roses are hardy and highly fragrant bushes.
Gallica roses are the oldest known garden roses. They will bloom once during midsummer and have a rich perfume that is the true rose scent. These roses can cope with poorer soils than many other rose types, so they tend to be found rambling in the wild as well as in gardens. They don't need a lot of attention but will improve if old wood is removed regularly and shoots are thinned out. Only do this after flowering has occurred.
The damask rose (R. damascena) are highly perfumed. They are important roses in the perfume industry.
Centifolia (cabbage) roses
This rose is heavily perfumed. Like the damask rose, it plays an important role in the perfume industry. The flowers are also considered to be very beautiful in the garden.
This is a hardy rose type. It works well for scented garden borders.
This is a repeat-flowering rose with a strong scent. It is highly resilient to diseases, and is therefore prized by the gardener less keen on tending to rose problems.
Another highly scented rose, some of the varieties of which have a raspberry scent, this is a beautiful yet fairly delicate rose.
Known as tea roses, these roses were first brought to England by the East India Company alongside the tea cargo.
This is a hardy rose that serves well on borders. It has a clover or hay scent.
Also known simply as the "modern rose", modern "shrub" rose or modern "hybrid" roses, this section refers to roses that have been bred by rose breeders from around the 1800s onwards.
The roses most cultivated in this manner are the hybrid tea [bush] roses and floribunda [bush] roses, but a range of roses have been bred specifically to reflect changing preferences of rose gardeners.
- Climbers and ramblers
- Standard roses
- Miniature roses
- Patio roses
- Ground cover roses
When buying a rose, you'll have a choice between buying a bare-root rose (removed from the ground while dormant, with the soil shaken off, then packed in peat or moss and well wrapped) and a container grown rose (still in its original container). The container rose can be purchased from the garden centre or nursery (or online) any time of the year but bare-root roses are only on offer during the rose's dormant season, so you'll likely only obtain these between mid autumn to early spring, depending on which variety of rose. The benefit of planting bare-root roses is that they usually take well to being transplanted to a new location while dormant and, if purchased from a nursery specializing in roses, they are often high quality plants.
Preparing the soil for planting roses
The older roses (alba, gallica, centifolia, Portand, moss and damasks) can better cope with poorer soils, while the modern hybrids will need a soil with more fertility.
The best soil pH range for roses is about 6.7 to 7, as roses like slightly acidic soil.
Before planting, dig over the soil. Dig sufficient area for the rose roots to fit without bending and to have room to spread. Should the end of the hole meet compacted earth, you'll need to break that up a bit to ensure that it drains well beneath the rose. Remove all weeds from around the rose's plot, then dig in a decent amount of rotted organic matter (such as well rotted manure or compost).
Prepare the soil as above. Wear gloves when planting the rose and handling bonemeal.
Dig the hole for the rose with sufficient space for the roots to go in without bending. You should also be able to spread the roots out.
Add some bonemeal to the hole. Lower the rose into the hole and spread its roots out with care. It is important to not bend the roots, so if the roots cannot be spread out, allow them to sit as they are growing without bending. However, do not leave the roots bunched; they need to have space to spread.
Tip soil into the hole gently, in graduated trickles. Cover the roots bit by bit and give the plant a gentle shake to help ease the soil into position.
Keep filling with soil until the rose is firmly held within the soil. Pat down the soil around the base of the plant stems, to firm the soil (you can walk around it gently if preferred).
Before you're done, check that the budding union has been covered in soil. If it isn't, suckers are likely to appear.
Choose a suitable rose for a container. Choose a small rose; the patio rose is ideal, although it will still need the same amount of care as any garden grown rose.
To be continued...
Roses benefit from regular seasonal pruning.
Problems growing roses
Roses need attentiveness to grow well. Although hardy when properly fed, roses can be stressed easily by lack of water, diseases and pests. Neglected roses will struggle on but will deteriorate in quality over the years of neglect, producing smaller and less flowers and the bushes will become straggly.
If planting roses in soil previously growing roses, it is highly recommended that you remove as much of the old soil as possible and replace it with fresh soil. Doing so will reduce the possibility that the new rose will be infected by replant disease.
Rose pests include aphids, greenfly
Rose diseases include mildew, dieback, replant disease, blackspot, rust,
Roses benefit from having garlic grown next to them.
Roses are used in many different ways.
Roses make great border shrubs.
Rose oil is one of the principal scents in perfumery. Rose oil has been distilled since the ninth century discovery by Arabs of the distillation process that create rosewater.
Roses are often associated with romance and can be used in flower or petal form to express such feelings. Rose petals (fresh) can be used as a form of confetti at weddings or strewn across pathways, beds, etc., as a romantic gesture.
Rosebuds (dried) and rose petals (usually dried) are used in fragrant and decorative crafts, such as potpourri and floral arrangements.
Rose petals are edible. They can be included as a flavouring when crushed or as a decorative addition to salads, cake toppings and in drinks.
Rose essence can be used to flavour baked goods, ice cream, candies, drinks and other foods.
Rosehips, high in vitamin C, are used for making drinks and can have medicinal uses.
Sources and citations
Old fashioned roses
Modern hybrid roses