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Roses are thought by most of us to be some of the most beautiful plants to grow and are well worth the little extra care needed.

Roses require at least 6 hours of sunlight per day and prefer a fertile, well drained loam with some organic material.

Container grown roses can be planted spring, summer or fall because they already have an established root system. Water the root-ball thoroughly before planting then gently remove the container and place in the hole. The planting hole should be the same depth as the root-ball and one and a half times the width. Less hardy varieties need to be planted deeper to protect the bud union. Amend the existing soil with well-rotted manure, compost or moist peat moss and bone meal. Gently pack the amended soil around the roots, watering as you go to settle the soil. The best time to plant is on cloudy or rainy days. Water your roses regularly in the morning to ensure that the foliage dries quickly. Begin fertilizing after winter protection has been removed and spring pruning has been done, continuing as recommended by your fertilizer directions until approximately the end of July in Southern Ontario. Never fertilize a dry plant and always follow directions on the package.

In general, pruning is done in the early spring before the rose breaks winter dormancy with tender roses requiring more pruning and hardy roses less. Remove any dead, diseased canes that grow into the centre rubbing other canes. Hybrid Tea varieties should be pruned to 3 to 5 buds on 3 to 5 canes while Floribunda and Grandiflora varieties should be pruned to 5 to 7 buds on 5 to 7 well-spaced canes. Shrub and English rose varieties require mostly thinning and shaping. Climbing roses should not be pruned for 2 to 3 years after planting. Annually remove 1 or 2 of the oldest canes and trim long ones to keep them within bounds. Prune ground cover roses to keep them in the available space. With Flower Carpet varieties, cut back to about 12 inches in order to rejuvenate. Ideally, cuts should be made about ¼ inch above an outward facing bud at an angle of 45 degrees. When removing an entire cane cut it back as close to the base or bud union as you can.

Keeping Roses Healthy

Roses are vulnerable to fungal leaf diseases such as blackspot and mildew, particularly when rain is frequent or during extended periods of humidity. Leaves develop a grey film or black spots; fungal diseases are hard to fight once established. Fortunately, preventive treatments are quite successful if applied regularly before disease spots or mildew is visible. Coating rose foliage with preventive solutions keeps fungus spores from germinating and growing into leaf tissues.

Whenever possible, plant roses with inbred disease resistance. Avoid crowding plants and provide good air circulation around rose shrubs. Always collect fallen diseased leaves and put them into household garbage, don’t compost them.

To help prevent blackspot and mildew, mix one teaspoon (5ml) baking soda with one quart (1L) water and two drops of dishwashing liquid. Mix well and spray this solution on rose leaves every seven to 10 days – more often if rain washes the application off. A liquid sulphur solution product (available at garden centres) is also effective, following the same schedule. If purchased as a concentrate, following the instructions for mixing on the package.

Shrub Roses

Shrub roses, which include Explorer, and English (David Austin) varieties are hardy and easy to grow with better disease and pest resistance. Some of the varieties that we regularly carry include the following:

AC Navy Lady (dark red)
Abraham Darby (apricot)
Alexander Mackenzie (deep red)
Bonica (pink)
Captain Samuel Holland (red)
Carefree Spirit (red/pink)
Carefree Wonder (bold pink)
Carmella Fairy Tale (amber yellow)
Champlain (red)
Charles Austin (yellow/apricot)
Cinderella Fairy Tale (light pink)
Crown Princess Margareta (orange)
Double Knockout (pink)
Elegant Fairy Tale (cream pink)
Emily Carr (red)
Fair Bianca (white)
Flower Carpet Series (pink, red, white, yellow, apricot)
Golden Celebration (yellow)
Graham Thomas (yellow)
Heritage (light pink)
J.P. Connell (creamy yellow)
John Cabot (red)
John Davis (pink)
L.D. Braithwait (red)
Leander (apricot)
Mary Rose (pink)
Morden Fireglow (scarlett)
Morden Ruby (mottled pink)
Oso Easy Paprika (orange mottled)
Oso Easy Strawberry Crush (red mottled)
Othello (red)
Pink Home Run (pink)
Sea Foam (white)
The Fairy (pink)
Rheinaupark (red)
Rosa Rugosa ‘Hansa’ (pink)
Rosa Rugosa (red)
Winchester Cathedral (white)

Climbing Roses

These roses generally have long arching canes ranging from 8 to 15 feet and require training as well as being tied on some form of support. The hardiness depends in the parentage of the variety with the Explorers being the hardiest. Some of the varieties that we regularly carry include:

All Ablaze (pink/red)
Blaze (pink)
Coral Dawn (coral)
Dublin Bay (red)
Goldstar (golden yellow)
Leaping Salmon (apricot)
Lemon Meringue (yellow)
Light Queen Lucia (yellow)
New Dawn (light Pink)
Westerland (yellow)
White Dawn (white)

Hybrid Tea Roses

These upright bushes come in an extensive colour range with long blooming large flowers. Some are intensely fragrant. An excellent specimen with large flowers makes it a popular cut flower. In colder areas mound with compost for winter protection. Some of the varieties we regularly carry include:

Berolina (yellow)
Black Ruby (deep red)
Blue Girl (lavender)
Chicago Peace (yellow/pink/apricot blend)
Double Delight (cream with red edge)
Electron (pink)
Erotica (red)
Flaming Peace (pink/yellow blend)
Folklore (orange)
Garden Party (cream/pink blend)
Gold Glow (golden yellow)
Golden Fairy Tale (yellow)
Love Magic (red)
Mellow Yellow (yellow)
Mister Lincoln (red)
Oklahoma (red)
Pascali (white)
Peace (pink/cream)
Princess Diana Rose (pink)
Rebekah (soft pink)
St. Patrick (yellow)
Sunburst (yellow)
Tropicana (orange)
Voodoo (orange)

Floribunda Roses

These were produced by crossing Hybrid Tea roses with Polyanthas. They have a similar hardiness and colour range to Hybrid Teas but are a more compact plant with clusters of smaller flowers blooming abundantly thru the growing season. Some of the varieties that we regularly carry include:
Betty Boop (cream with red)
Bonica (pink)
Brilliant Pink Iceberg (pink)
Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale (deep orange red)
Burgundy Iceberg (burgundy)
Floral Fairy Tale (apricot)
Freesia (yellow)
Hot Cocoa (orange)
Iceberg (white)
Julia Child (apricot)
Pomponella Fairy Tale (deep pink)
Sentimental (pink/red/white mottled)
Sexy Rexy (medium to light pink)
Tabris (white/magenta)
Tornado (red)

Grandiflora Roses

These beauties were produced from crossing Hybrid Teas and Floribunda roses. The flowers are similar to, but smaller than Hybrid Tea flowers and either singly or in small clusters. Some of the varieties we regularly carry include:

J.S. Armstrong (crimson)
Love (deep pink/silver)
Mount Shasta (white)
Queen Elizabeth (pink)
Scarlett Queen (red)
Sonia Supreme (pink)
Wild Blue Yonder (lavender blend)

Landscape Roses
These roses are all vigorous and low growing varieties that bloom continuously all season in clusters, require little pruning, (most) are virtually disease free, and are reliably winter hardy in zone 5. They fill space beautifully with their spreading habit and the abundance of bloom makes a spectacular show.

Apricot Vigorosa (apricot)
Innocencia Vigorosa (white)
Ruby Vigorosa (crimson red)
Salmon Vigorosa (vibrant salmon pink)
Sweet Vigorosa (bright deep pink)

Click here to read our Gardening Info Rose Article»