“I have a 40-year-old rose bush that used to be a foot away from the foundation of my home that has gradually moved all the way up to the foundation and sends shoots up under the siding. I have tried to dig it out and pull it out but it refuses to give up and comes back every year. What can I do about it?” Question from Sylvia of Belle Plaine, Minnesota
Answer: Roses can be quite easy to transplant, with a little strength and elbow grease, and good tools. Spring is the best time to move them. Once yours is moved, I recommend planting it in a garden bed away from your home. Here are the tools and steps that I recommend for its transplant.
Tools: Sharp, flat spade, sharp pruners and/or loppers, burlap sheet and tarp, and wheelbarrow.
Prune back the shrub to approximately 12″ stems all around. (It will spring back quickly from its strong root system)
Cut a rootball approximately 6-8 inches around the base of the plant. Make clean cuts all the way down with your sharp spade.
Remove excess soil from one side of the excavated rootball, and place the soil on the tarp.
Cut out around the rootball to a depth of around 12 inches, maybe more. Work hard to keep the soil ball and roots intact. This will help the plant better withstand transplant shock.
Wrap the rootball with burlap and roll it into the wheelbarrow turned to its side. Right the barrow, and take it to its new garden spot.
Black Gold Garden Soil is an excellent amendment for newly planted roses. We also recommend feeding your rose with alfalfa meal to keep it blooming at its best.
Of course, there is a chance that you may not want the rose. If this is the case, dig it out, and dispose of it. Just be sure to fill the spots with quality soil and backfill before planting a new shrub in its place.
Roses are among the most beautiful flowers on the planet, but they are also prone to some of the nastiest foliar diseases as well. The three worst of these are rose black spot (Diplocarpon rosae), powdery mildew (order Erysiphales), and rose rust (Phragmidium spp.), but new roses are challenging their damage. Many of the largest rose growers and breeders have developed gorgeous disease-resistant roses that are absolutely outstanding.
Most of the finest disease-resistant roses are shrub roses, but there are a few other forms on the list. All these roses bloom from late spring until frost. Here are a few favorites to consider.
Best Disease-Resistant Roses
The grandiflora shrub rose Crazy Love™ Sunbelt® (USDA Hardiness Zones 5-9, 5′ x 3′) has unusual, orange and yellow, cup-shaped flowers that are fully double and very fragrant. It is generally resistant to common foliar diseases of roses and a vigorous nonstop bloomer.
Nicole® (Zones 6-10, 4′ x 3′) is a beautiful floribunda shrub rose that I am buying this year for my front border. It has 4-inch wide blooms that are snow-white with deep rose edges. The stunning shrub rose is remarkably disease resistant.
One favorite new yellow-flowered rose is the floribunda shrub rose Golden Fairy Tale® (Zones 5-9, 4′ x 4′). It’s another that I have added to my must-buy list this year. The award-winner has bright golden-yellow double blooms that are very fragrant and flower in abundance. Notable disease resistance makes it an effortless variety for the garden. Think seriously about this one.
The compact floribunda rose, ‘Brilliant Veranda’ (Zones 5-9, 2′ x 3′) is brilliant red and just the right size for a flower-filled veranda, as the name suggests. Its blooms almost glow, and the plants show very good disease resistance. Plant it in front of beds with taller plants behind it to light up the garden.
Shrub roses in the Knock Out® Series are possibly too familiar, since everywhere I go in my hometown of Bloomington, Indiana, they are planted outside practically every landscaped business front. But there is a reason for that. The classic Double Knock Out® rose has gorgeous, double, cherry red flowers on shrubby plants that are very tough and easy to maintain. There are many other colors in the series, including those in the shades of yellow, apricot, and pink.
English garden roses of all kinds are sold at David Austin Roses, the most famous rose-breeding company in the world. David Austin has produced the most beautiful English roses that bloom the whole season through. He also bred for disease resistance and fragrance. I have picked out two of my favorites that you will love forever.
The fragrant ‘Olivia Rose Austin’ (Zones 4-11, 4′ x 3′) is a classic English rose of pale pink that has cupped, double flowers with a dense rosette of petals in the center. The flowers have a fruity fragrance. The darkest pink ‘Princess Anne’ (Zones 4-11, 4′ x 4′) has highly fragrant clusters of fluffy double flowers that lighten a bit as they get older. These are held upright over disease-resistant leaves.
Finally, Proven Winners® has a variety of tough, disease-resistant roses. Of these, At Last® (Zones 5-9, 3′ x 3′) is a fragrant beauty that will bloom nonstop through summer and into fall. The shrubs have glossy foliage and pale amber-orange flowers that are fully double and sweetly fragrant.
From miniatures to climbers, there are many other roses that defy diseases. The disease-resistant hybrid tea rose Gypsy Soul Eleganza® (Zones 5-9, 3.5′ x 2.5′) has deep violet-red flowers with long upright canes that are perfect for cutting long-stemmed roses. Petite Knock Out® (Zones 5-10, 18″) is a brand new miniature rose that has all of the traits of the classic double red Knockout® (mentioned above) but in truly miniature form. The climbing rose ‘Climbing Pinkie‘ (Zones 6-11, 8-12’) is one of the few disease-resistant climbers. The flowers are rose-pink and hang in clusters over the leaves. It can be trained along a fence or wall, or if you want to be really English, around your front door.
Spring is the best time to plant roses. Feeding the soil and fertilizing your shrubs at planting time will give them a great start. For more details about how to grow and plant shrub roses organically, please watch the video below by my daughter, Jessie.
“When is the best/latest date I can cut back roses?” Question from Joseph or Milwaukie, Oregon
Answer: Late winter is an excellent time to prune reblooming roses, but you can also safely prune them at other times–including now. I recommend that you read our blog about pruning roses in spring (click here to view it). I also encourage you to watch our rose-pruning video with West Coast Rosarian, Rich Baer. It provides a useful, hands-on overview of how to prune roses and covers everything from needed pruning tools to the proper pruning height.
Generally, when gardeners purchase roses, they think of flower color, fragrance, disease resistance, and the overall beauty of the plant. Whether a rose has hips is usually not a high priority. But, if our gardens can have blooming roses all summer, why not end the season with the added bonus of colorful hips in fall? Songbirds and other wildlife love them, and they are beautiful. Some can even be dried to flavor delicious herbal tea.
What Are Rose Hips?
Rose hips are simply ripened rose fruits. They are often brightly colored and appear most abundantly in the fall at the end of the bloom cycle. They are usually red or orange but can also be bright yellow and even reddish-black.
Rose hips have been used for centuries for folk medicine and tea. In fact, they are still in use today–largely because they are tart and very high in vitamin C. Check out the health section of your local grocery store, and you will probably find rosehip teas, soaps, and lotions. Their high concentration of vitamin C has even helped nations during the toughest times. During World War II in England, the public was encouraged to harvest rose hips. Vitamin C was in short supply due to limitations on importation of fruits, such as citrus, so hips were gathered and processed into a syrup that could be used at home and was even made available in stores.
Unfortunately, for most gardeners, modern roses are not known for their hips. With current rose breeding methods, a rose with hips has not been a priority. For marketing purposes, long stems, improved flowering, and disease resistance have been more important. That’s why many heirloom and species (non-hybrid) roses will often provide the most impressive display of hips. I will focus more on heirloom roses, and a couple of newer varieties, because species roses are usually once-blooming and tend to have more rampant growth habits that are often more difficult to control, thus making them unsuitable for most gardens due to space considerations.
Roses With Beautiful Hips
Here are some roses that are known for hips and would fit into most gardens. All are commercially available.
European Redleaf Rose (Rosa glauca, USDA Hardiness Zone 2-8): In my own garden, I have one species rose, Rosa glauca. While it does grow quite large (5 to 7 feet), I keep it pruned to a manageable size. Rosa glauca is a particular favorite of mine because I like the foliage, which is purplish-red with grayish-silver overtones that make it quite an attractive shrub, even when not in flower. It blooms once a season in spring, and the flowers are single pink with white centers and lots of yellow stamens. Even though it is a one-time bloomer, the bloom season extends over about a six-week period. Clusters of very colorful red hips occur in the fall.
Japanese Beach Rose (Rosa rugosa, Zones 2-7): Here is a rugged, tough rose that is easy to grow. I like ‘Alba‘, which becomes covered with single white flowers in late spring and early summer. Another good selection is the double-pink ‘Hansa’, which is very fragrant and blooms through most of the summer and is a fairly compact grower (4 to 5 feet) suitable for smaller gardens. These roses are known for their large, juicy, crabapple-sized hips that turn shades of red and orange in fall. The mature hips are also edible and can be dried to flavor herbal tea or used to make tart jam
Dortmund Climbing Rose (Rosa ‘Dortmund’, Zones 5-9): A climbing rose with very prolific orange-red hips in fall is ‘Dortmund’, which was first introduced in 1955. The single-red flowers appear in copious clusters that bloom over a long period of time. Its dark green, glossy foliage is disease resistant. It is a fast and tall grower, reaching 8 to 11 feet, so give it plenty of support and train it well.
Westerland™ Climbing Rose (Rosa Westerland™, Zones 5-10): Lots of large, fragrant, double roses of peachy orange cover this repeat bloomer from late spring through the season. The foliage is glossy green and quite disease resistant and the hips are round and bright orange. ‘Westerland’ is a 1999 introduction with elongated canes of 6 feet or more. Sometimes it is called a shrub, but it is too long and leggy (that would be a large shrub!).
Pink Meidiland Shrub Rose (Rosa Pink Meidiland, Zones 4-9) is a 4-to-5-foot shrub rose that has many small, bright pink flowers with white centers. It blooms in flushes throughout the season. Its orange-red fall hips are small, but they are numerous. Another comparable Meidiland rose that is a bit more common in commerce and has improved pink flowers, excellent fragrance, and lots of hips is Magic Meidiland, but I prefer the delicate blooms of the original pink.
If you are considering getting a rose or roses that will produce hips in the fall, I would suggest doing some research for your specific region. Check with rose-growing neighbors as well as a local garden center or a public rose garden, if your city has one. I think it is best to actually see the plant and this time of year; the hips should be visible now. This way you know you are getting exactly what you want.
“I have roses in containers. What is the best way to overwinter them in zone 6b? I have a Winchester Cathedral, a Young Lycidas, and a Jubilee Celebration. There is another one that looks similar to the Young Lycidas, but the flowers and scent are a bit different. It is also a David Austin rose, but it was unmarked when I got it from a nursery a couple of years ago.” – Question from Kristen of Stephens City, Virginia
Answer: Start by identifying the hardiness zones for each rose, if you can. In this instance, Winchester Cathedral, Young Lycidas, and Jubilee Celebration are all hardy to USDA Hardiness Zones 5-11. The rule of thumb is that potted shrubs must be at least two hardiness zones hardier than yours to reliably survive winter in an exposed container. Because you live in a Zone 6 area, and your roses are not hardy to Zone 4, you will need to protect your potted roses from hard freezes.
How to Protect Potted Roses from Hard Freezes
There are several methods. Just remember, that regardless of where you place your rose, the pot cannot become completely dry. If placed in a garage or under a patio or eave, supplemental water will be needed to keep the plants alive. Too much moisture can also be detrimental, so I recommend twice-monthly watering through winter, to be safe. Here are four reliable methods of protection.
Protect the pots and roses where they stand. Mound Black Gold Garden Compost Blend around the base of the rose, wrap the top in burlap (tops can be tied or lightly pruned to make this process easier). Mound mulch or moistened chopped leaves along the base of the pot as insulation.
Move the pots of a protected area against the side of the house away from wind. If you live in a very windy area, use this outdoor method. Mound compost around the base of the rose, and wrap the top in burlap. Mound mulch or moistened chopped leaves along the base of the pot to act as insulation.
Move the pots to a protected garage. Place your pots in a safe zone in the garage. Slightly dry roses overwinter better than overwatered ones, so maintain light watering as detailed above.
Move the pots to a protected basement or root cellar that remains cold enough to keep them dormant. Freezing or near-freezing temperatures are necessary.
In the spring, remove any protective coverings and organic layers. It is especially important to move the compost away from the base of the rose and into the garden.
“When is the best time to transplant roses?” Question from Betty in Omaha, Nebraska
Answer: It is always better to give roses a full season to establish roots, especially in colder zones like yours, USDA Hardiness Zone 5. Many roses are just hardy to where you live, another reason to plant or transplant them in spring. The more established a plant is, the better able it is to withstand harsh, cold winters.
When you do transplant your roses, be sure to dig around the root system and wrap the rootball in burlap to keep the ball intact and disturb as few roots as possible while moving it. Have a hole ready and waiting to plant it in. Be sure to feed your new rose with organic alfalfa meal and mulch around the base. Black Gold Garden Compost Blend makes a great mulch that also feeds the soil. Water it deeply twice weekly, in the absence of rain, until it becomes well established. I encourage you to watch the video below to get more tips on growing roses to perfection.
“What rose will tolerate dry partial shade in zone 5b?” Question from Trish of Newton, New Jersey
Answer: Most roses are full-sun shrubs that require 6 or more hours of sun per day and average water, but there are a few that can take partial shade (4 to 6 hours of sun per day). Amending the soil with peat moss, applying a 2-3-inch layer of quality mulch, and providing them with drip irrigation are simple fixes that will overcome dry soil troubles.
Roses Tolerant of Partial Shade
Most shade-tolerant roses are contemporary varieties of antique shrub roses. Some of the best have been bred by the English rose breeder, David Austin (click here to view 6 David Austin roses for partial shade that are hardy to your zone). Another for partial shade is the apricot-flowered shrub rose Roald Dahl, which I have growing in my garden. The ever-blooming shrub rose is quite fragrant and easy to grow. If you are interested in a climbing rose for partial shade, try the French antique rose, ‘Zéphirine Drouhin‘. Its large, rose-pink flowers are fragrant, and its twining stems are thorn-free–another bonus.
To learn more about how to grow roses, I recommend watching the video below.
“My roses have lots of hollow and brown holes in their leaves. What is causing the damage, and how do I stop it?” Question from Pam of Massachusetts
Answer: It’s so lovely when questions come with images–especially when photos make for easy identification. Your roses are suffering from the larvae of rose sawflies, also called rose slugs, though they are not true slugs at all. The sawfly larvae eat along the leaf surfaces from the back–leaving brownish spots and blotches of dead tissue that eventually falls away, leaving open holes. If there are only a few of the pests present, the damage will be minor, but at high populations, they can defoliate plants, making rose bushes look unsightly and weakening them. There are several methods for managing rose sawflies.
How to Manage Rose Sawflies
Rose sawflies are black, winged insects that emerge in early spring. After mating, they lay elongated clusters of eggs within cuts they create along rose stems. Within a couple of weeks, gardeners will begin to see the damage caused by the small, green, caterpillar-like larvae that have emerged. Once they are large enough, the larvae will drop down to the ground and pupate in the soil. There are several types. One of the most aggressive is the bristly rose sawfly (Cladius difformis), which can produce lots of generations in a season.
It’s best to catch these pests early on, so you can stop them in their tracks before they do a lot of damage. If you have experienced them in the past, it helps to look for egg masses in mid-spring and remove them. Look on the backs of leaves as soon as you begin to see telltale damage. The larvae can be easily smashed on sight or treated with OMRI Listed BT, Neem oil, or insecticidal soap. Remove and kill all the larvae you can find, and be sure to keep any sprays away from the flowers to keep pollinators from being harmed.
Once you have rose sawflies, keep a lookout for more and manage them as you see them. If you remain diligent, you will be able to stop them or keep populations down.
“Why aren’t my roses growing? My rose bushes do not grow, and I fertilize them once a month, but they don’t grow. Soil is clay-like. They are semi-shade, I have a lot of big trees. They do flower. What else can I do?” Question from April of Dresden, Tennesee
Answer: There are three key factors that are likely keeping your roses from growing, thriving, and flowering to their fullest. They are:
Sunlight: Roses need full sun to grow and flower at their fullest. Six hours per day is the bare minimum they need to really perform well. Eight to twelve hours is even better. The morning sun is preferable to dry leaves early in the day, which dissuades fungal diseases.
Soil: Roses require a fertile, well-drained soil that is slightly acidic (pH 6.5-7) and high in organic matter to perform at their fullest. Amend the soil where they are planted to encourage better root growth and performance. Black Gold Garden Soil and Black Gold Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss are two excellent amendments to consider
Competition: Tree roots quickly drain water and nutrients from the soil. It is wise to plant roses away from tree roots to avoid competition.
Please watch the video below to learn more about growing roses organically.
“We will be planting roses on the north side of the house this summer. We have clay soil. What do you recommend mixing into the soil?” question from Roseanne of Rockford, Illinois
Answer: Roses grow and resist disease best when grown in full sun. The north side of your home may not be the best spot for roses unless you plant them far enough from the foundation to get enough full sun. Hydrangeas, fothergilla, glossy abelia, summersweet, and sweetspire are better flowering foundation shrubs for the north side of a home. I recommend that you calculate what garden areas along that side of your home get at least six hours of sun per day. (Eight hours is better.) Roses won’t perform well with less.
When it comes to the soil for roses, good drainage and good fertility are essential. If your soil is heavy clay, it will require lots of amendments to get it in shape for roses. Please read the following articles to learn how.
Roses prefer soil with a slightly acid pH of 6.5, so peat moss is a recommended amendment. You also have the option of building your soils up and berming along your foundation to lift your soils to facilitate better drainage. We also suggest that you fortify your newly planted roses with alfalfa meal (3-1-2), a natural fertilizer that’s great for roses.
I also encourage you to watch the video below about growing roses organically.