Roses are probably some of the most beautiful and popular flowers in the world. Here, you will learn everything you need to know about the queen of flowers in the garden.
Together with other genera, roses (Rosa) form the large rose family (Rosaceae). Their close relatives include fruit trees such as apple (Malus) and pear (Pyrus), but also strawberry (Fragaria), raspberry (Rubus idaeus), and blackberry (Rubus fruticosus). Typically, roses have five petals. However, through breeding and crossing with other species, there are numerous varieties with double or unfilled flowers in many different colours and shapes today. Botanically speaking, rose plants do not have thorns, as the Brothers Grimm claim in one of their famous fairy tales, but prickles. However, nowadays there are already some thornless varieties, which greatly facilitate the care of roses.
If you do not yet own your own rose, you should definitely consider getting one now. With the large selection of rose varieties that the specialist trade offers, you are sure to find what you are looking for. In the following article, we’ll explain what you need to consider when planting, caring for and propagating roses.
- Roses: meaning and origin
- Rose types and varieties
- Planting roses
- Propagating roses
- Caring for roses
- Common diseases and pests of roses
- Preserving and keeping roses
Roses: meaning and origin
Fossils have been found to prove roses existed more than 25 million years ago. The rose was given the title “Queen of Flowers” by the Greek poet Sappho around 600 B.C. Roses originally came from Persia, where they were used as a remedy. Later, in ancient Rome, they were also used as decorations for festivals and were imported from Egypt in unimaginable quantities for this purpose.
Today, roses grow in almost every garden and play a starring role in any florist’s store due to their beautiful flowers. The cosmetic industry, in turn, has also taken a liking to the rose oil and rose water, which is extracted from the plant. Rose oil was even once more valuable than gold. In wholesale, a litre of real Bulgarian rose oil costs up to 10,000 euros – which is hardly surprising, after all, about 5,000 kilograms of rose petals are needed to produce this amount.
Rose types and varieties
In botany, the rose is divided into several species. Colloquially, however, individual rose varieties are also often grouped into groups or classes according to their characteristics or use. Old roses, also called historical roses, include only varieties that were in cultivation before 1867. Among the first modern roses are garden roses (or tea hybrids), which were crossed from Chinese tea roses and European remontant roses. Depending on the growth form, a distinction is made between bedding roses, shrub roses, groundcover roses and climbing roses. However, thanks to modern plant breeding, today there are also small dwarf roses and aromatic fragrant roses, as well as stem roses created by grafting, which look like a small rose tree.
Below we would like to present you some selected rose varieties:
- ‘Gloria Dei’® garden rose: The best-selling garden rose in the world; has yellow, densely double flowers with a light fragrance; flowers more often; easy to care for and robust variety with good winter hardiness; grows to a height of 70 to 100 cm
- ‘Ascot’ garden rose: Has bright violet-purple flowers; strongly fragrant; blooms more often; compact habit; suitable for pot cultivation; high foliage health; delights with long-lasting blooms
- ‘Fireworks’ shrub rose: Has semi-double, fire-orange flowers with a delicate fragrance; blooms more often; grows upright and reaches heights of up to 150 cm; suitable for hedge planting
- ‘Snow White’ shrub rose: Has semi-double, white flowers with a delicate fragrance; lush blooms from June to September; broad, upright growth with overhanging shoots; reaches heights of up to 120 cm; extremely hardy
- ‘New Dawn’ climbing rose: Delights us with loosely filled flowers in creamy pink; blooms from June to October; pleasant fragrance of apple; strong-growing with long, overhanging shoots; climbing frame required; reaches heights of up to 300 cm; very robust
- ‘Golden Showers’ climbing rose: Has semi-double, yellow flowers; flowers more often; upright-bushy growth; reaches heights of up to 250 cm; suitable for rose arches; also tolerates partial shade; good leaf health
- Potato Rose (Rosa rugosa): A wild rose; forms simple, dark pink flowers; undemanding and pruning-tolerant; shoots are covered with many thorns; very robust and winter-hardy; suitable for hedge planting
A comprehensive collection of rose varieties can be found here.
Roses have special requirements for their location. We explain below exactly what these are and what else needs to be considered when planting the flowers.
The right location
A sunny, airy spot in a sheltered position is ideal for your roses. The soil in which they grow best is deep, loose and rich in nutrients. To avoid heat build-up in summer, however, you should not place roses too close to a house wall and also ensure sufficient distance from other plants to avoid nutrient competition. If the soil becomes “tired of roses” after a few years, you should plant the site with other ornamental plants – such as tagetes (Tagetes patula) – before planting roses again and wait a few years before replanting.
When to plant roses?
You can buy roses in containers all year round. However, the best time to plant new roses is in autumn (October/November) so that they have enough time to take root over the winter. In areas with harsher climates, however, roses can still be planted in spring, but they must then be watered particularly well as they begin to sprout.
You can find a comprehensive article on planting roses here.
Planting roses in pots and tubs
Smaller rose varieties can be planted wonderfully in a pot or tub, as long as it offers enough space for the deep-rooted plant. Since potted roses do not tolerate waterlogging, it is best to first place a drainage layer of gravel or expanded clay in the planter so that excess water can drain away. Then fill it with special soil from the shops or a mixture of garden soil, compost and potting soil. Once the rose is planted, place the pot or tub in a sunny, airy spot on the balcony or terrace. However, do not forget to water the rose regularly from now on so that it does not dry out. You can find detailed instructions for planting potted roses as well as further care tips here.
Planting a rose arch
An arched rose arch becomes a real eye-catcher when it is overgrown with climbing roses. However, even before installing a rose arch, some aspects should be considered – such as the selection of a weather-resistant material and the firm anchoring in the ground. The location should not only please the gardener, but also the rose, which should grow vigorously and produce many flowers. How you can create your own rose arch is explained in detail in our special article.
If you have not yet had enough of the flower queen, you can propagate your garden and cut roses yourself in various ways. Growing small rose plants from rose hip seeds is probably the most time-consuming method. Fortunately, however, some rose varieties can also be propagated very well using cuttings and wood cuttings. Climbing and rambler roses with their long shoots can even be propagated via cuttings. In turn, grafted plants are often available in the trade, but this method requires expertise and a lot of practice to be successful. Information on which propagation method is suitable for which roses and precise instructions on how to carry it out can be found in our article on propagating roses.
Caring for roses
Only a rose that feels good all round will delight you with many blooms. Therefore, we have summarised the most important points on rose care for you below – from watering and fertilising to the correct wintering. You can also find a detailed article on the subject of rose care here.
Roses should be watered regularly, especially in the early days. On hot summer days, however, it is also important to ensure that older plants are watered sufficiently. You can tell the right time to water roses by the finger test, because the soil should always be moist but not wet. Especially when cultivating roses in pots, you should make sure that the roses do not sink into waterlogging. Here you will find a special article on the subject of watering roses.
Roses are very demanding plants and should therefore be fertilised regularly. It is best to use a fertiliser with a long-term effect, such as our Plantura Rose Food. This is slowly decomposed by the micro-organisms in the soil and provides your rose with sufficient nutrients over a longer period of time. A first application of fertiliser can be made in spring (March/April) to support the rose in its new growth. A second fertilisation is then recommended at the beginning of the flowering phase at the end of May. Frequently flowering rose varieties receive a final fertilisation during the main flowering period at the beginning of July to provide the plant with sufficient nutrients for the second secondary flowering.
In addition to a sufficient supply of water and nutrients, proper pruning is also important for optimal rose development. An annual basic pruning is best done in spring (March/April) before new shoots appear. Diseased and broken shoots can also be removed during the growing season. However, the pruning procedure varies somewhat depending on the rose variety. Detailed instructions for pruning roses can be found here.
To ensure that your roses survive the winter well, you should take a few protective measures. First remove the old inflorescences and leaves as well as the fallen foliage on the ground to prevent disease infestation. Then heap the soil around the rose to a height of about 20 centimetres and insert pine greenery between the shoots. Special garden fleece for the crown and bamboo mats for the trunk are also available in specialist shops to insulate tall roses. In our special article you will find detailed step-by-step instructions to ensure that nothing goes wrong when overwintering your roses.
Common diseases and pests of roses
If you notice a white coating on the leaves and buds of your roses, this is probably an infestation of powdery mildew (Erysiphales). Unfortunately, other fungal diseases – such as black spot (Diplocarpon rosae) or rose rust (Phragmidium) – also occur very frequently on roses. Sucking and feeding damage, in turn, is mostly caused by rose aphids (Macrosiphum rosae), rose leafhoppers (Edwardsiana rosae) or the larvae of the rose leaf wasp (Caliora aethiops).
We have prepared an overview of the most important rose diseases and pests with illustrative damage pictures for identifying the unwelcome inhabitants here for you.
Preserving and keeping roses
At the end of the year, you may want to preserve your roses for a longer period of time. Perhaps you have already candied the petals of your roses in sugar syrup and eaten them afterwards? The simplest and best-known method of preserving roses is to dry them in an airy place. Unfortunately, this makes the flower very brittle and often changes its colour. This is not the case with gentle drying with silica granules, which slowly remove the moisture from the plant. Whole bouquets can be preserved most easily with glycerine, which is available in pharmacies. How to preserve roses is explained in detail in our special article.