Com­ing Up Roses

From clas­sic to climb­ing, find the per­fect rose for your gar­den.

Birds & Blooms - - Contents - BY DEB WILEY


Shrub types can grow up­right, mound­ing or as ground cov­ers. They’re so easy to live with and care for that you may not even think of them as roses. Their genes pro­tect against dis­eases and pests that typ­i­cally plague other roses. Shrub roses are gen­er­ally cold hardy and re­bloom through­out the grow­ing sea­son. How­ever, many shrub types carry lit­tle to no fra­grance. If a sweet scent is im­por­tant to you, check to see if fra­grance is men­tioned in the plant tag in­for­ma­tion, or buy one with a name that im­plies scent.

Grow shrub roses in masses or as com­pan­ions to other plants, and choose from an ar­ray of col­ors, shapes and sizes. Brand names to look for in­clude the Knock Out fam­ily of roses, Easy Ele­gance, Oso Easy and Oso Happy, David Austin, Grif­fith Buck, Kordes, Mei­di­land and Flower Car­pet.


With gor­geous, clas­sic flow­ers and a per­fume­like scent to swoon over, hy­brid teas prob­a­bly come to mind when you think of tra­di­tional roses. The plants grow 4 to 6 feet tall with strong canes (main branches) and in­di­vid­ual blooms. The fo­liage, which of­ten falls prey to dis­eases, doesn’t cover the lower part of the canes, giv­ing the plants a naked or bare­legged look. If that’s not your style, plant com­pan­ion grow­ers to help with screen­ing the stalks. Hy­brid teas re­quire spe­cific pruning reg­i­mens for best flow­er­ing. They pre­fer mild cli­mates and need spe­cial pro­tec­tion in re­gions where win­ters are se­vere.


Minia­tures come as short as 6 inches or as tall as 3 feet, with small, hy­brid tealike blooms that grow solo or in clus­ters. Miniflora roses fea­ture com­pact plants—up to 3 feet tall—but grow full-size flow­ers as wide as 3 inches. Minia­tures tuck well into the edges of flower bor­ders and do well in pots. The term “pa­tio rose” refers to any type of rose com­pact enough to grow in pots on a deck, not to a spe­cific type of rose.


Climbers are re­peat bloomers; ram­blers are not. They come from a wide range of rose types, but most are shrubs. Their canes—the thorny, woody stalks—stretch from 10 to more than 20 feet long. How­ever, they must be lashed to sup­ports with soft ties, since they can’t hold on by

them­selves. It may take two to three years for climbers to ma­ture and fill in. To pro­mote bet­ter bloom­ing, al­low the canes com­ing from the base of the plant to grow to their full length. Keep the ma­jor ones as hor­i­zon­tal as pos­si­ble to en­cour­age bet­ter flow­er­ing and more shoots grow­ing lower on the cane.


Flori­bun­das, also called spray roses, grow with sev­eral blooms in a rounded clump. Gran­di­flo­ras re­sem­ble a blend of hy­brid tea and flori­bunda roses, with large blooms pro­duced both in­di­vid­u­ally and in sprays. “You get the whole color scheme and look of a hy­brid tea rose with shrub rose per­for­mance,” says Natalia Hamill, a man­ager at Bai­ley Nurs­eries, which pro­duces the Easy Ele­gance rose brands. Flori­bun­das and gran­di­flo­ras both pro­duce blooms that are more likely to have bet­ter fra­grance than shrub roses.


Tree roses, or stan­dards, are for­mal and tra­di­tional. They may be from al­most any rose cat­e­gory. Sev­eral buds are grafted to a sturdy hy­brid or hardy rose cane to give it the shape of a small tree. Some even come with two dif­fer­ent kinds of roses grafted onto the same cane. Use stan­dards as fo­cal points, to line a path or as part­ners flank­ing door­ways. They re­quire stak­ing and care­ful pruning, and work well in con­tain­ers. If you’re grow­ing a tree rose in a cold cli­mate, tuck it into a pot and over­win­ter it in an un­heated space so it goes dor­mant but does not freeze. Deb Wiley, a free­lance writer and edi­tor, grows and tests more than a dozen kinds of shrub roses in her Des Moines, Iowa, yard.

Lean a trel­lis against a struc­ture to cre­ate a wall of blooms with va­ri­eties like this Zephirine Drouhin.

MINIFLORA First Im­pres­sion

For blooms through­out the sea­son, grow shrub roses like Pink­topia.


Try this climb­ing Tess of the d’urbervilles from David Austin. Plant a clema­tis vine nearby for a mul­ti­flower dis­play.

Flori­bun­das, like Cinco de Mayo from David Austin, pro­duce dense bloom clus­ters on one branch.

Small-space gar­den­ers can grow tree roses, like this Mary Rose, in a pot.

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