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How to Choose Roses for Your Garden

January and February are the traditional months when the seed and plant catalogues are sent. After you finish up your winter landscaping routine, it's nice to settle in and look at new roses for your garden. As you flip through the pages, you may wonder which type of rose plant to buy. There are hybrid teas, floribundas, grandifloras, miniature teas, rose trees, and climbing roses. We consulted Crocket's Flower Garden by James Crocket (Little, Brown and Company) for some helpful advice on choosing the rose that best suits your needs and to eliminate some of the guesswork in choosing from all the available varieties of roses.

Hybrid teas have large blossoms and are commonly used for cut flowers

Hybrid Teas are the oldest and most popular of all the roses. The earliest hybrid teas were introduced in the mid-nineteenth century. Hybrid teas are a cross between the traditional tea rose and the newer (for the time) hybrid perpetual roses. Hybrid teas have large blossoms and they are commonly used for cut flowers. They have long, straight stems that can reach 3 or 4 feet in length and some varieties produce flowers as large as 7” across. The Peace rose is the most popular of the hybrid teas and can be found in many rose gardens. Floribundas have smaller flowers than the hybrid teas, but have more flowers per stem. The flowers are 3 to 4” across and each stem seems to produce a bouquet by itself. Grandiflora roses are a cross between the hybrid teas and the floribundas. They produce flowers that are larger than the floribundas and have more flowers per stem than the hybrid teas. It is like having the best of both worlds when it comes to these roses.

Miniature roses ... generally grow to no more than 15 inches ...

Miniature roses are naturally hardy and are miniature versions of the full size plant. They generally grow to no more than 15“ and require less care than their hybrid cousins. They are very hardy and make a nice "rose bed" in your garden.

Rose trees ... are not for the novice gardener

Rose trees require extensive care and attention and are not for the novice gardener. They have been developed by grafting a single strong cane to a hardy rootstock. The desired variety of hybrid rose is then grafted on top of the cane. They are very formal and often appear "out-of-place" in most home landscapes. They often need additional support for the main cane and need elaborate protection from the winter weather. They may look pretty, but they require more yard care than most home gardeners can handle. Climbing roses do not actually climb. They do not have any natural method of attaching themselves to a trellis or other structure, as a true climbing vine does. They need to be tied or woven into a trellis or other structure. They are just roses that have very long canes. They often die back in colder climates, and the dead canes need to be cut every spring. 

We hope these explanations help you choose the best rose for your home garden. Here are a few other yard care requirements to keep in mind when making your choices. Roses need rich, organic soil and at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. They like well-drained locations and do not like to be crowded too close together. They also need more attention and care than most landscape plants and are often plagued by disease and insect problems. They can be a challenge, but the rewards are wonderful. 

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