Get It Growing: Plant Roses During Winter For Beautiful Summer Blooms

Daniel Gill, Merrill, Thomas A.  |  1/9/2007 3:14:32 AM

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Get It Growing News For 01/26/07

By Dan Gill
LSU AgCenter Horticulturist

Now is an excellent time to consider adding roses to your landscape, so you can enjoy the beautiful blooms this summer.

For many gardeners, particularly those just getting into roses, a rose is a rose. But there several different categories or types of roses available, and within each type are numerous cultivars. Before you go to the nursery, it’s important to think about the type of roses you want to grow so that you make the proper selections.

Decide how you want to use roses in the landscape and why you intend to grow them. The trend these days is to incorporate roses into landscape plantings just like any other shrub. This works particularly well with the old garden roses, shrub roses, landscape roses, polyanthas and floribundas.

The following is not a complete list of all the many types of roses, but it includes some of the more-popular categories that will do well in our area.

Keep in mind that repeat-flowering (everblooming) roses bloom intermittently from around late April to early December. Once-blooming roses bloom profusely around May and produce few or no flowers afterward.

Modern Roses

We’ll start with the modern roses – the types developed after 1867, the year the first hybrid tea was introduced.

Hybrid Tea Roses – Large, exquisitely shaped flowers, generally produced singly on long stems, and an amazing range of colors are the hallmarks of hybrid tea roses The plants range in size up to more than 6 feet and can be leggy and awkward in appearance. Highly susceptible to black spot, these roses generally require regular spraying and pruning to remain healthy and vigorous. They are repeat-flowering roses.

Polyantha Roses – Excellent in landscape plantings, polyanthas are vigorously growing, bushy plants that produce small flowers in large clusters or sprays. Most are relatively disease-resistant, and they are some of the more reliable and easy-to-grow roses for our area. Repeat flowering.

Grandiflora Roses – These are tall plants that produce hybrid tea-like flowers singly or in clusters of a few flowers on long stems. Generally comparable to hybrid teas, they also require similar care. Repeat flowering.

Floribunda Roses – A useful type of rose for landscape planting, the shrubby growth is less ungainly than hybrid teas. The flowers are smaller than hybrid teas and are often brightly colored and produced in clusters. Fragrance is light or lacking entirely. Repeat flowering.

Climbing Roses and Ramblers – These roses produce long canes that can be tied or trained on a support. Some roses have been bred to climb, while others are vigorous mutations of bush roses. Ramblers and many climbers are once blooming, but some climbers are repeat flowering, so check before purchasing.

Shrub/Landscape Roses – This really is a catchall name for roses that tend to be bushy and are useful for landscape planting. This category includes English roses, ground cover roses, landscape roses, shrub roses, hedge roses and others. Currently, the Knock Out rose and its several color forms are a very popular part of this category. Repeat flowering.

Old Garden Roses

Now, we’ll move to the old garden roses – the types developed before 1867. The term "old garden rose" is a catchall term used for many distinctly different categories, and some grow better in Louisiana than others. The following are just a few of the many categories.

China Roses – Rosa chinensis was the first repeat-blooming rose discovered, and the China roses are derived from this species. (All repeat-flowering roses likely have R. chinensis in their breeding.) The abundant flowers are not highly scented and have thin, delicate petals. The foliage is neat, dark green, pointed and rarely bothered by black spot. These roses have a bushy, twiggy growth habit that fits in well with landscape planting. Repeat flowering.

Tea Roses – Wonderful roses for Louisiana, teas produce relatively large flowers in pastel shades and light reds. The fragrant flowers are produced continuously on robust bushes that are rugged and disease resistant. Repeat flowering.

Noisette Roses – Mostly climbers, although a few are robust shrubs, these roses thrive in the Deep South. The pastel-colored flowers are fragrant and produced in clusters that hang down from the canes. Repeat flowering.

Bourbon Roses – Though more susceptible to black spot than the previously mentioned old garden roses, many of the Bourbons will thrive in our climate. The flowers usually are quite fragrant and produced on large, robust shrubs. Many are repeat flowering.

On another note, don’t forget that late January through mid February is when we do major pruning to hybrid teas and grandifloras. It’s also the time to prune other types of roses as needed.

Get It Growing is a weekly feature on home lawn and garden topics prepared by experts in the LSU AgCenter. For more information on such topics, contact your parish LSU AgCenter Extension office or visit our Web site at A wide range of publications and a variety of other resources are available.


Contact: Dan Gill at (225) 578-2222 or
Editor: Tom Merrill at (225) 578-2263 or

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