Temecula Valley Rose Society

Established in 1991

A Glossary of Rose Terms

Version: 2.10 Last-modified: 12 Sep 1996
Written by Bill Chandler, chandler@onr.com

About this document

This is a glossary or dictionary of rose-related terms. Hopefully, it can be useful as a quick reference for many rose questions. Many of the entries are word‑for‑word the same as part 1 of the FAQ, but may be easier to find in this document because it is organized alphabetically. If you have any suggestions for improvement to this article, please send email to chandler@onr.com.




Here are some commonly used abbreviations used when discussing roses:

  • ARE – Antique Rose Emporium (mail‑order nursery)
  • ARS – American Rose Society
  • DAs or ER – David Austin Roses or English Roses
  • FB or FL – Floribunda
  • HT – Hybrid Tea
  • J&P – Jackson and Perkins (mail‑order nursery)
  • Min – Miniature
  • OGR – Old Garden Rose
  • RYT – Roses of Yesterday and Today (mail‑order nursery)


Aphids are tiny insects about a 1/16 to 1/8 inches long, usually light green, red or black. They come in the spring and damage tender new growth.

A hard spray of water from the hose will help remove aphid infestations. Aphids reproduce quickly and this may need to be repeated every couple days for a couple weeks.

Aphids have a mutually beneficial relationship with ants, so ants need to be controlled if aphids are to be controlled. Ladybugs are a natural predator of aphids and can be used to control aphids. If ladybugs are purchased, water the area well and release the ladybugs around sunset to discourage them from leaving.

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black roses:

No true black roses exist. Some roses sold as black roses are actually dark red or maroon. The petals of many of these dark red roses tend to sunburn easily. To see that a rose is not truly black, hold it up next to a piece of black construction paper. To make a dark red rose appear blacker, put its stem in water that has black ink in it.

Below is an incomplete list of some roses that have been mentioned when black roses are discussed. Next to some of the roses a very subjective description of the color is given.

  • Black Jade: dark red miniature
  • Cardinal de Richelieu: dark purple Gallica
  • Chateau de Clos‑Vougeot: HT, deep red blossoms, blackish highlights, poor growth
  • Francis Dubreuil: Tea rose
  • Guinee: very, very dark red
  • Ink Spots:
  • Mr. Lincoln: HT, dark red
  • Nuits de Young: purple Moss rose
  • Oklahoma: HT, deep crimson
  • Souvenir du Dr Jamain: Hybrid Perpetual, dark red/maroon
  • Sympathie: deep red climber
  • Taboo: Popular dark rose that has deep red flowers with darker edges. It reportedly has nearly black buds.
  • The Prince: English rose, very, very dark red/purple
  • Tuscany Superb: Gallica, deep maroon velvet
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Blackspot is a fungus that causes black spots about 1/16 to 1/2 inches in diameter to form on the leaves and sometimes stems. The infected leaves later turn yellow around the spots and eventually fall from the plant. In bad cases, blackspot can severely defoliate a rose bush. The conditions that promote blackspot are wet leaves, splashing water and warm temperatures.

Here are some ways to combat blackspot. Most of these methods also apply to preventing and treating powdery mildew.

  1. Pick a variety of rose resistant to blackspot. For example, many Rugosas are quite resistant to blackspot.
  2. Use watering methods that don't get the leaves wet: drip watering, using a soaker hose, or just soaking the ground with a light stream from a garden hose. If overhead watering is used, do so in the morning so the leaves can dry off before evening.
  3. Remove ALL diseased leaves from the plant or ground immediately to prevent further spreading of the disease. Infected leaves never get better, they just spread the disease. Prune infected canes severely in late winter.
  4. Prune away crossing canes and open the center of the bush to allow sunlight and airflow to more of the plant.
  5. Blackspot is transmitted by water splash. Remove leaves close to the ground (the first 6‑8 inches) which are more susceptible to getting water splashed on them. Mulch well to minimize water splashing onto leaves. If a plant had a lot of blackspot the previous year, remove the old mulch in early Spring, allow the area to dry and replace with clean new mulch.
  6. Keep the plant well watered. A weak or stressed plant is more susceptible to disease.

Preventative spray treatments for blackspot

  1. Chemical fungicides can be very effective in preventing blackspot and are usually applied every 7‑14 days. It is most important to spray the undersides of the leaves. FOLLOW THE LABEL DIRECTIONS EXACTLY. Too much fungicide can cause leaf burn. It is best if rose plants are watered well before spraying. Spraying during very hot weather can damage leaves. Early morning and early evening are the best times to spray. Avoid spraying under windy conditions. READ THE PRODUCT LABEL carefully and wear proper equipment when spraying, such as eye, mouth and nose protection.
  2. Since a single fungicide may not completely wipe out all the fungi, using that fungicide over and over may actually cause fungus to build up a resistance to that fungicide. Alternating between two fungicides, such as Triforine (Funginex) and Daconil, is recommended to keep resistant fungi from building up. Fungicides generally can prevent blackspot, but do not cure an existing case of blackspot.
  3. Some gardeners wishing to avoid fungicide use have tried using baking soda to help prevent blackspot with mixed results. Combine 1‑1/2 tablespoon baking soda and either 2 tablespoons horticultural oil or a few drops of Ivory liquid with 1 gallon of water. Mix as well as possible, and spray both sides of the leaves once a week. The Ivory liquid helps the baking soda stick to the leaves. Reapply after a rain. Baking soda changes the P.H. of the leaves, helping to prevent blackspot. Spraying with baking soda works for some gardeners, but others have found that baking soda is not effective enough in their climate.
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blue roses:

Though highly sought after, no blue roses exist yet. Some roses are advertised as blue, but they are actually lavender or something. Most lavender roses are difficult to grow and are quite susceptible to disease.

Some of the bluer roses are Blue Girl, Blue Jay(HT), and Reine des Violettes(HP). A couple of true purple roses are Cardinal de Richelieu and Veilchenblau.

The genetics are just not there for producing a true blue color in roses. It will probably be necessary to use gene splicing to produce the first blue rose.

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Can enter the cane through the pruned tops. Prevented by sealing the canes with wax, white glue, or nail polish.

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When a Floribunda forms a bloom "spike" or "candelabra" – it is setting many little blooms on one stem. To prune Floribundas for quality of bloom, rather than the maximum number of blooms, pinch out the center, fat bud so the side buds have a better chance at developing at the same time. This encourages a big rounded mass of blossoms – a "spray." Floribundas like to do this so it is relatively easy to persuade them to flower in this manner. Once some of the blooms begin to fade, you can just cut out the few that are dying and let the spray continue to develop blooms. Once the entire spray is spent, or most of the individually blooms are finished, cut off the entire spray.

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cut roses:

Cut flowers in early morning or after it rains, not when they are under water stress. Cut the stem about an inch longer than you need. After cutting, immediately place cut flower in warm water. If possible, with the stem under water, cut off the bottom inch or so of the stem at an angle. This keeps air from getting into the stem. Remove all foliage that remains under water and would just rot. Recut the stem underwater every day if possible. Some people add a small amount of bleach to the water to keep down fungus and bacteria. Sugar or soda can be used for food. Others use a commercial floral preservative.

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David Austin Roses: see English Roses

deadheading: (see also hips:)

Deadheading is cutting off flowers as they wither or don't look as good. Old blooms left on the plant may have been pollinated and may begin to form seed pods (hips). The formation of hips requires a lot of energy from the plant and slows flower production. By preventing the formation of hips, deadheading encourages the rose bush to grow new flowers.

The choice of which spot to deadhead at is influenced by what shape you want the bush to take, and which direction you want a particular cane to grow. Usually, you will want to cut the stem at a 45‑degree angle just above an outward‑facing leaf. Make sure the high side of the cut is the side the leaf set is on.

To deadhead, remove the flower by making a diagonal cut just above the next 5 or 7‑leaf branch down on the stem. The idea is to cut to a bud eye capable of producing a healthy cane. If this would cause too much of the cane to be removed, a 3‑leaf branch can be chosen instead. The first year cut back to the first 3 or 5‑leaf branch. In following years cut far enough down to get to a 5‑leaf branch with a leaf bud that is facing outward. This will open up the plant.

Once blooming roses do not need to be dead headed. They bloom once and then they are finished blooming for the year. However, once‑blooming roses may be (in fact, should be) pruned after they are finished blooming. They should NOT be pruned in the fall or before they bloom because they bloom on the previous year's growth.

Stop deadheading as of September 1 in zones 4 and 5. It is a good practice to let the last roses on HT's produce hips because it makes them more frost hardy. It causes the plant to undergo chemical changes that slow down growth, inhibit blooming and generally prepare for dormancy by focusing its energy on 'hardening' the canes. The formation of hips tells the plant that it's "done its job" and can now rest from its labors.

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English Roses:

(abbrev. ER, see also)

Modern Roses:


Old Roses:

This new group of roses, often called David Austin Roses, was introduced in 1969 by David Austin of England. These roses are an attempt to combine the best traits of both Old Roses and Modern Roses. David Austin has attempted to produce roses with the classic flower forms and fragrance of the Old Roses on plants that repeat bloom like the Modern Roses. Some of the popular English Roses are Abraham Darby, Graham Thomas, Heritage, and Mary Rose. The FAQ has an article with more information about English Roses.

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Roses will perform much better if given adequate fertilizer. Use a well balanced fertilizer, such as 10‑10‑10, N‑P‑K. The three numbers used to describe a fertilizer tell how much of the three major nutrients are in that fertilizer. The first number (N) is the Nitrogen content, the second (P) is Phosphorous, and the third (K) is Potassium. Nitrogen or Nitrogen‑Phosphorous‑Potassium, (leaves,flowers,roots). Fertilize less during the first year while the plant is getting established.

When planting roses, it is recommended that you add long‑term sources of Phosphorous and Potassium to the soil near the roots because these two elements move slowly through the soil. Bone meal and rock phosphate are good long‑term sources of Phosphorous. Granite sand is a long‑term source of Potassium.

Cottonseed meal (lowers soil P.H.), alfalfa meal, and blood meal are organic sources of Nitrogen. Alfalfa meal also releases a growth stimulator as it decomposes. Many forms of inorganic Nitrogen leach quickly from the soil. Nitrogen also helps stimulate basal breaks.

Some rose growers fertilize with Epsom salts. Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate, a source of Magnesium. Being a sulfate, it will lower soil P.H. Although the need to use of Epsom salts is frequently debated, Magnesium (along with Nitrogen) is supposed to stimulate basal breaks. Many gardeners use 1/4 cup of Epsom salts per plant in the Spring and/or Fall. Some use as little as 1 tablespoon per plant, others up to 1/2 cup.

Seaweed is a good organic source of trace elements.

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Floribundas: (abbrev. FB or FL)

Floribundas were created about 1909 by crossing the Polyanthas with Hybrid Teas. They produce flowers in clusters, not singly like the Hybrid Teas. Floribundas are usually shorter plants than Hybrid Teas and tend to produce more flowers and smaller flowers than Hybrid Teas on shorter stems. Although Hybrid Teas provide excellent cut flowers, Floribundas are well suited as good landscape plants providing lots of color. Many Floribundas are not very fragrant.

See the FAQ article (part 5/6) on Modern Roses, for more information about Floribundas.

bud‑pinching Floribundas: When a Floribunda forms a bloom "spike" or "candelabra" ndash; it is setting many little blooms on one stem. To prune Floribundas for quality of bloom, rather than the maximum number of blooms, pinch out the center, fat bud so the side buds have a better chance at developing at the same time. This encourages a big rounded mass of blossoms – a "spray." Floribundas like to do this so it is relatively easy to persuade them to flower in this manner. Once some of the blooms begin to fade, you can just cut out the few that are dying and let the spray continue to develop blooms. Once the entire spray is spent, or most of the individually blooms are finished, cut off the entire spray.

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Fragrance contributes much to the enjoyment of roses. It is also one of the most subjective of topics when discussing roses.

Fragrance or perceived fragrance depends upon many factors: variety of rose, time of day, weather, growing conditions, the person smelling the rose, living flower vs. cut flower, etc. Each person's sense of smell is different.

A rose that is very fragrant to someone, may be not at all fragrant to someone else. Roses are most fragrant around mid‑morning on a warm day with no wind and moderate or high humidity. Their can dozens of components in the fragrance of a rose, but rose scents are usually categorized with such descriptions as "spicey", "tea", "old rose", or "fruity".

Here is a list of some very fragrant roses as recommended by posts to the newsgroup rec.gardens.roses.

  • HT: Double Delight (mentioned most often), spicey, red‑white bicolor
  • HT: Fragrant Cloud, reddish‑orange
  • HT: Mr. Lincoln, dark red
  • HT: Crimson Glory, red
  • HT: Chrysler Imperial, red
  • HT: Papa Meilland, dark red
  • HT: Perfume Delight, pink
  • HT: Secret
  • ER: Gertrude Jekyll, pink
  • ER: Othello, dark red
  • Alba: Felicite Parmentier, once‑blooming
  • Damask: Mme. Hardy, white, once‑blooming
  • Tea: Sombreuil, cream‑white
  • Bourbon: Souvenir de la Malmasion
  • HP: Souvenir du Dr Jamain

Many of the David Austin roses are fragrant. So are many of the Old Roses, such as the Damasks.

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Blackspot, powdery mildew and rust are the three most common fungus problems that roses have. See blackspot for some ways of preventing and treating fungus problems. Planting disease‑resistant roses in a sunny location with good air circulation will help prevent fungi.

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(see also



These are the rose seed pods that form after a flower's petals fall if the bloom was pollinated. Hips are the fruit produced by rose plants. Apple trees are members of the rosacae family and the apple is a hip. Some varieties such as R.rugosa produce large hips that turn brilliant colors in the fall.

Allowing the hips to develop will cause a rose to slow down or stop producing flowers. It also helps induce dormancy, helping prepare the rose plant for winter in colder climates. In contrast, deadheading will keep the plant from producing hips and encourage it to produce more flowers.

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Hybrid Teas: (abbrev. HT)

Hybrid Teas are easily the most popular class of roses today. Hybrid Teas as a group have large flowers with a high‑pointed bud. They are excellent repeat bloomers, often blooming almost continually. They bloom one flower per stem on long sturdy stems making them excellent for cutting. Hybrid Teas come in a large variety of colors. Hybrid Teas are upright shrubs.

The rose "La France", bred in 1867, is classified as the first Hybrid Tea rose.

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Japanese Beetles:

A shiny copper green beetle that can eat entire flowers as well as foliage. Can be controlled by milky spore.

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leaf cutters:

Leaf cutter bees cut semi‑circle shaped holes in the leaves of roses. They pose no real threat to rose health, but they drive exhibitors crazy.

mail-order suppliers:

mildew: see

powdery mildew:

miniature roses:

Miniature roses grow to only about 6"‑18". The plants, leaves are all miniatures of the larger roses. Miniature roses tend to be quite hardy and can be grown in containers.

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Spider mites are a tiny arachnid that appear like dust under the leaves. They occur during hot, dry weather. They can be controlled by spraying the plant every 7‑10 days with water to destroy the webs and knock the mites off the leaves. Be sure to thoroughly cover the underside of the lower leaves. They can also be controlled with the miticides Avid or Kelthane.

Monitoring: Mites are tiny and difficult to detect. Usually plant damage–stippling or yellowing of leaves–will be noticed before you spot the mites themselves. Check the undersides of leaves for mites, their eggs, and webbing; you will need a hand lens to identify them. To observe them more closely, shake a few off the leaf surface onto a white sheet of paper. Once disturbed, they will move around rapidly. Be sure mites are present before you treat. Sometimes the mites will be gone by the time you notice the damage; plants will often recover after mites have left.

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Modern Roses:

Refers to roses introduced since 1867 when the first Hybrid Tea was created. Usually refers to Hybrid Tea, Floribunda, or Grandiflora roses.

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mosaic virus: see virus:

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Any loose, usually organic material placed over the soil as a protective covering or for decorative purposes. Common mulches are ground bark, saw dust, leaves or straw. Roses benefit from a 2‑3 inch deep organic mulch such as pine bark, pine needles, leaf mulch, etc. Keep the mulch a few inches away from the stem of the plant.

Benefits of proper mulching:

  1. Reduced watering requirements and less water stress due to
    • milder soil temperatures and
    • reduced evaporation.
  2. Less disease from water splashing on the lower leaves of plant.
  3. Fewer weeds because the mulch blocks some of the sunlight to weed seedlings.
  4. Better soil as the mulch breaks down and adds organic matter to the top layer of soil.
  5. Good soil structure because mulch will help stop soil compaction.
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Old Roses:

(abbrev. OR, OGR, see also)

English Roses:


Modern Roses:

Sometimes called Old Roses, Old‑fashioned Roses or Antique Roses, these are the varieties of roses that existed before 1867 when the first Hybrid Tea was introduced. Some of the classes of Old Roses are the Albas, Bourbons, Boursaults, Centifolias, Chinas, Damasks, Gallicas, Hybrid Perpetuals, Mosses, Noisettes, Portlands, and Tea roses. Some of the Ramblers and Rugosas are considered Old Roses.

As a group, Old Roses tend to be once blooming, though some are repeat bloomers. They tend to be more disease‑resistant and require less maintenance than the Hybrid Teas which accounts for some of their popularity. There are exceptions to this, especially the China and Tea roses. The China and Tea roses are tender and disease prone, but are very important because they provide the repeat blooming genes to many classes of roses (notably Hybrid Teas). This FAQ contains a document with more information about Old Roses.

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once blooming:

(see also

repeat blooming:


Roses that bloom once a year, usually in the spring. Since, they bloom only once a year, when they do bloom they usually put on an excellent show. They flower on old wood, so most pruning is done just after they have finished blooming, not in the winter.

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own-root roses:

An own‑root rose is a plant whose rootstock (the roots) is the same variety as the top of the plant.

Grafted roses, commonly referred to as budded plants, are plants where the desired rose is grafted or budded onto a rootstock of a different type. The point where the desired variety and the rootstock meet is called the bud union.

Own‑root roses are usually recommended for those in very cold climates. This is because an own‑root rose that dies back to the ground during the winter can grow back the next year from the roots. If a grafted rose dies back to the ground, what will come up next Spring is the rootstock variety, usually an undesirable variety of rose.

Even if a rose doesn't die back to the ground. Sometimes a shoot will emerge from the rootstock. If the rose is grafted, this shoot is called a sucker, and will be the same variety of the rootstock, not the desired plant. When this happens with own‑root roses, the shoot will be of the desired variety.

New canes can emerge each year from the bud union of grafted roses. After many years, the bud union of grafted roses can become large and knobby and eventually run out of places for new canes to emerge from. This is not a problem for own‑root roses, since they lack the knobby bud union of grafted roses. Therefore, grafted roses may not last as long as own‑root roses.

Most roses are sold as grafted plants, since it is more economical than selling own‑root plants. A common rootstock is "Dr. Huey", used by J&P and Roses of Yesterday and Today and other nurseries in the western US. It does well in alkaline soils. "Dr. Huey" has a dark red bloom about 2‑1/2 inches in diameter. R. multiflora is commonly is in the eastern US. It prefers acid soil. Wayside uses "Manetti" rootstock.

There has recently been some discussion about R. fortuniana rootstock. It is primarily used in Florida where its root knot nematode resistance is important. Its fine, spreading root network is good for sandy soils. It is not considered to be freeze hardy, so it is only recommended for mild climates.

Don't confuse own‑root roses with bare‑root roses, the terms refer to different things. Roses are usually sold either bare‑root (no soil around the roots) or potted in containers. Bare‑root roses can be either own‑root or grafted. Bare‑root roses tend to be less expensive than potted roses. Since they are lighter (no soil) than potted roses, most mail‑order roses are bare‑root.

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patented roses:

A rose variety may be patented just like any other plant. A patent grants to the holder exclusive rights to distribute and propagate that variety of rose. Of course the patent holder can license others to distribute and propagate that rose. A patent lasts for 17 years, so most older roses aren't currently under patent. After the patent has expired, anyone can distribute and propagate that particular variety.

Some nurseries divide their roses into patented roses and non‑patented roses, with the patented roses costing more. This is because they may freely propagate the non‑patented varieties, but their is usually a fee for propagating patented varieties.

It is illegal to asexually reproduce a patented plant, even for personal use. It is, however, legal to use a patented rose in hybridizing.

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Peace is the most popular rose in the world. It is a Hybrid Tea that was smuggled out of France just before the Nazi occupation and introduced just after the end of the World War II. It produces large blooms of yellow blending to pink on the edges. It is not very fragrant.

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Bare‑root: Roses that are shipped in their dormant state with no foliage. Bare‑root roses are planted during Winter or very‑early Spring.

Container grown: Nurseries will often take bare‑root roses from the rose growers and place them in containers. Container grown roses can be planted any time of the year although it is better to plant when temperatures are moderate, usually Spring or Fall.

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powdery mildew:

This fungus forms a powdery white or grayish coating on the upper surface of young leaves and sometimes on the buds. Infected leaves crumple and become distorted.

Unlike blackspot, wet conditions actually inhibit the development of powdery mildew. It can not reproduce in water. It thrives during high humidity but forms on dry leaves. Warm dry days, cool dry nights are ideal for powdery mildew.

One of the best ways to avoid powdery mildew is to keep things as airy as possible. Roses planted too close to a wall may not get enough airflow. Prune away crossing canes and open the center of the bush to allow sunlight and airflow.

Also, spraying the foliage with a mixture of 1 T. baking soda per 1 gallon of water can be effective.

See blackspot for other treatments of powdery mildew.

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There are two primary ways to propagate roses. Asexual reproduction is usually used to produce a duplicate of the parent plant. Sexual reproduction, i.e. growing roses from seed, is primarily used to create new varieties of roses.

Common methods of asexual propagation of roses are softwood rooting, hardwood rooting, and bud grafting. Limited space permits only a brief description of softwood rooting.

Old Roses, English Roses and Miniatures are generally good candidates for rooting cuttings because they usually grow vigorously on their own roots. Modern Roses such as Hybrid Teas and Floribundas are usually sold budded onto different rootstock. Some Modern Roses do grow vigorously on their own roots, while others do not. Below is a description of softwood rooting from Karen Baldwin with some changes.

Rose Propagation à la Zip Loc Baggies

Making the Cutting:
  • Preferably take a cutting on which the bloom is barely spent, so that all the petals have just recently dropped off. It is okay to take a cutting earlier, but at least make sure color is showing in the bud. These are indications of the maturity of the wood in the stem – you want something in between the extremes of greenwood and hardwood.

  • Try to have at least four separate leafsets under the bloom, and a five‑leaflet set at the bottom of the cutting. (Each spot where the leafsets meet the stem forms a "node," where the bud eyes are, and from which roots can form. Hybrid teas tend to have fewer "nodes" spaced farther apart than Old World roses, and thus require a longer cutting, generally speaking.) Make a clean bottom cut with a sharp, clean pruning tool 1" below the last node. Try to leave about 1/2" of cane above the top leafset.
  • Keep your cuttings fresh in water while you gather more, until you're ready to plant them.

Planting the Cutting:
  • Fill a 1‑gallon Zip Loc baggie 1/4 to 1/3 full (about 3") with STERILE loose potting mix. (e.g., 1/2 peter's potting soil and 1/2 vermiculite).
    A 2‑gallon Zip Loc baggie may be better since it will give the leaves more room, but use the same depth of soil you'd use in a 1‑gallon baggie, since you'll be watching for roots growing through it, later.
  • Moisten the mix but do not make it extremely wet. Use 1 tsp. Miracle Gro per 1 quart of water, to provide some initial nutrients (which may help avoid yellowing and leaf‑drop). With your hands, firm the soil down well, within the baggie. The soil should be very damp, but there should be no standing water in the bottom.
  • Snip off the stem a little above the top‑most leaf set (i.e., remove the flowering part). Try to leave about 1/2" of cane above the top leafset.
  • Strip off the bottom two sets of leaves (where the stem will be pushed into the soil).
  • Score the bottom part of the stem along its length (vertically) for an inch or so. (An Exacto‑knife works nicely for this purpose, but fingernails will do fine.) Roots will form along this score.
  • Dip scored end of cutting into rooting compound, a couple inches deep. Knock off the excess (you can get too thick a layer). Stick the cutting a couple of inches into the soil.
  • If insects have eaten the leaves during previous rooting attempts, you may wish sprinkle a very small amount of diazinon or other insecticide on the soil surface. Be especially careful if you are using chemicals indoors.
  • Mist the cutting and the interior surfaces of the baggie with a spray bottle filled with the following mix (to avoid fungus and mildew growth in the closed "terrarium" environment). Do not use spray can fungicides or insecticides; in the closed environment, the chemicals can overwhelm then kill a new young plant.
    1 quart water 1 tsp. miracle gro 1 tsp. baking soda (no more!) 2‑3 drops dishwashing liquid (to make it cling)
  • Zip baggie almost shut. Breathe into it until it expands kind of like a balloon, and zip the rest of the way closed. (Keep it closed unless it deflates enough to warrant breathing into it again.)
  • Put in bright, INDIRECT light – (e.g., behind sheers in a southeast‑facing window) WARNING!!! if it gets direct sun or too much heat it will scorch (eventually turning black) and likely die! You may have to experiment a bit to find the best exposure; you might hedge your bets by placing some in different locations until you find the best spot for your house.
  • Clear away any leaves that might drop from the stem, reinflating the baggie after removing them.

Potting the Cutting:
  • Look for roots along the bottom of the baggie in two or three weeks. A few stubborn ones may take six weeks, and there is a report of one incredibly obstinate plant that took over 10 weeks!
  • Acclimation to air outside the bag is tricky. To be careful,
    (1) when you see some top growth, unzip the baggie just a little for a few hours the first day, then seal it up again.
    (2) For the next few days, unzip the baggie the same amount, but leave it open for a few more hours each day.
    (3) Next, leave it open all the time, but increase the amount the bag is unzipped each day for about a week, until it's fully open. Don't rush it.
  • Put good soil into a 1‑gallon pot, leaving room for the addition of the new plant and its soil. Place the baggie atop the soil, and cut the plastic away (this can be slightly tricky). Firm the soil around the plant only very lightly.
  • Keep the same lighting in the same location (protected from too much direct sun) for a week, leaving the cutting unmolested to give its disturbed roots a chance to heal.

Planting Outdoors:
  • After they have spent a week in their pots, you can either move them into more light inside for the first winter, or (preferably) move them outside.
  • When moved outside, set them in indirect sun at first, bright but shaded, and leave them there for a week. (If your area gets cold at night, you may need to move them inside at night for a while.) The next week, move the plant bit by bit toward and then into full sun. (Note: Gro‑lights don't normally put out nearly enough light for roses, though it can probably be done.)
  • When kept inside for their first winter, especially in zones 5 and below, place them in a spot where they'll get more light. (When planted outside in the same summer they were rooted, even with a heavy mulch, many more will be lost to winter kill since the new little roses won't always have enough roots to carry them through. Also, chinooks (intense, warm winds) do their damage too. By keeping them inside for their first winter, and planting them in the spring, they will be better‑established by the next fall.)
  • Plant late enough to avoid those nasty springs that get warm, causing the roses to break dormancy, only to follow up with a hard freeze!
  • Remember that your rose will grow in size; prepare a good‑sized area of soil with added organic material as appropriate to your locale.
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There are three main purposes to be accomplished when pruning roses.

  • Keep the plant healthy.
  • Encourage the plant to grow in a desired shape.
  • Encourage blooming, either more blooms or larger blooms.

The proper tool for most pruning is a sharp clean set of bypass pruners. Anvil pruners should not be used for roses as they crush the stem being cut. A saw or lopping shears may be used to cut very large canes (1/2 inch diameter or greater) All pruning cuts on canes greater than 1/4 inch diameter should be sealed with nail polish or glue to prevent cane borers from entering.

Proper pruning will help keep a rose bush healthy. Dead and diseased wood should be removed as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the bush.

The future shape of the bush can be influenced by the location of each pruning cut. Opening up the bush to increase air circulation will help prevent diseases.

Since rose bushes like to send out a strong lateral cane at the node just below a pruning cut, try to make pruning cuts about 1/4 inch above an "outward" facing leaf bud. By doing this and removing plant material from the center of the bush you will create a more open vase‑shaped plant less susceptible to disease. Whenever two canes cross each other, one can be removed.

Roses can be encouraged to bloom better if thin, weak and non‑productive wood is removed to allow the plant to concentrate its blooming on the larger healthier canes. Generally with Hybrid Teas any cane thinner than a pencil should be removed. Plants may be pruned hard to encourage larger blooms but fewer blooms (commonly done with Hybrid Teas.) Or the plant may be pruned lightly and allowed to grow larger and produce more flowers that are smaller (commonly done with some shrub roses.) Prune first year plants only lightly to allow them to concentrate on establishing a strong root system.

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repeat blooming:

(see also once blooming: )

Describes those roses that bloom more than once a year. This varies from those that only bloom a couple times a year to those that are in constant bloom. The terms recurrent or remontant are sometimes used in place of repeat blooming.

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This fungus is manifest by rust‑colored spots on the underside of leaves and yellow patches on the upper surface of the leaf.

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Roses prefer a full day of sun. Give roses at least 6 hours of direct sun a day. Morning sun is especially important because it dries the leaves which helps prevent disease.

In general, roses do poorly in shady conditions. Plants bloom less, are leggy, and are more likely to get diseases. However, many Hybrid Musks and some Albas can tolerate partial shade. A few other varieties including the Floribunda "Gruss An Aachen" can be planted in partial shade.

Other roses that may grow in partial shade are the Rugosas, Iceberg(FB), Zephirine Drouhin (Bourbon), Souvenir du Docteur Jamain(HP) and Madame Plantier.

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Roses like rich, well‑drained soil. Raised beds are ideal. Roses prefer a pH of about 6.5 (6.0‑6.8), slightly acid soil.

Roses dislike competition for nutrients, especially roses that repeat bloom. This means that roses do not like being planted too close to grass and other aggressive neighbors.

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A sucker is a cane that starts from below the bud union. On grafted roses, suckers should be removed since they are a different type of rose than the main plant. With own‑root roses, suckers can be kept as they are the same type as the main plant and add vigor to the plant.

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sunlight:vgo see


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Thrips are tiny insects that do cosmetic damage to roses by ruining the blooms. They may either prevent blooms from opening, or if the blooms do partially open they will have brown or black spots. Thrips prefer light‑colored flowers.

Thrips can be controlled by spraying the buds and blooms with Orthene.

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There are several types of virus that affect roses, but the most common is the mosaic virus. It causes interesting yellow patterns to form on some of the otherwise healthy green leaves of the plant, hence the name mosaic. Plants with virus will usually live, but they will be less vigorous than non‑virused plants.

Mosaic can not be transmitted from one plant to another by pruning. It can be transmitted by grafting a healthy rose onto a virused rootstock, or less likely, by grafting a virused rose onto a healthy rootstock.

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Roses appreciate lots of water. Water generously, at least 1 inch/week, preferably 2 inches/week during growing season. Water every 4‑7 days during the summer when needed. Each bush needs about 4‑5 gallons/week during the hot summer.

Roses get all their food either through their leaves (foliar feeding) or through their roots. The only medium for transporting food is water.

Infrequent deep watering is preferred to frequent light watering to help promote a deep root system. Deep root systems help the rose to survive both droughts, and winter freezes. Frequent, light watering causes roots to form very near the soil surface, making the plant more susceptible to summer 'baking' and winter freezes.

Try to avoid getting the leaves wet (which promotes disease) when watering late in the day. However, on hot days wetting the foliage can reduce transpiration and relieves heat stress.

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winter protection:

Local advice is preferred for this question, but here are some general guidelines for winter care of rose bushes for those living in colder climates. The major dangers to the plant in winter are the drying of the wind, the effect of alternate thawing and freezing cycles on the plant when winter temperatures fluctuate, the inability of the plant to take in water if the soil is frozen, and damage from the cold itself to the canes and bud union.

  1. If you live in an area with harsh winters, plant cold‑hardy roses. Your choices are more restricted that way, but you will save yourself a lot of work and heartbreak. Many once blooming old roses are very cold‑hardy; of the repeat bloomers, rugosas are rock‑hardy, and many Austins and other shrub roses will do okay. Many yellow and lavender roses are especially tender.

    Unfortunately cold‑hardiness is not an exact science; conditions such as wind affect roses severely in cold weather (by drying them out), and so zone ratings are only a first approximation. Beware of books that rate roses 'cold hardy' or 'not cold hardy' — they are likely referring to conditions in the UK, which has mild winters. Beware also of catalogs that overrate cold‑hardiness because they want to move more product.
  2. When in doubt, plant own‑root roses. If they die back to the ground in a particularly severe winter, they will grow back from the roots fairly quickly. This advice is not applicable to once‑bloomers, because these usually flower only on the last year's canes. own‑root Old Roses and English roses are available. Hybrid Teas are almost always sold as grafted plants, and it is difficult to find own‑root plants.
  3. In the fall, reduce the amount of Nitrogen fertilizer used. This, combined with lower temperatures, will slow the production of new tender growth, and will allow the existing growth to harden off.
  4. Stop deadheading about September 1 for zones 4 and 5. This will allow the plant to form hips. The formation of hips encourages the plant to slow down growth, slow blooming, and harden the canes, all preparing the plant for dormancy.
  5. Understanding rose dormancy will help to determine the proper time to prune during the period from late Fall to early Spring. During dormancy, the sap has left the canes and they are simply empty tubes of cellulose. Pruning too early (before the sap runs back) cuts some of the nutrients out, so you must be sure the plant is dormant before fall (winter) pruning. Winter dieback generally occurs from the end of the branches (canes). Pruning removes the available length that can die back before reaching the ground. Also, pruning a semi‑dormant plant stimulates growth and sap flow in the pruned region. For a plant going dormant, this is bad because it inhibits dormancy. For a plant waking up (springtime) it's good because it stimulates growth. Ideally pruning should occur before sap is fully flowing.
  6. To prevent disease/fungus from over‑wintering, clean the rose bed by removing leaves and other debris. Spray the bush with dormant oil to kill bacteria on the bush and on the ground.
  7. Protect the crown of the rose. This is critical since the crown is where you want the new canes to come from. There are several methods of protection to choose from.
    • Cover the bed at least a foot deep with tree leaves. Do not use rose leaves as they may harbor disease. Oak leaves are best as they seem to drain better.

    • Cover the bed with straw.
    • Use rose cones.
    • Make a mound with soil or mulch to cover the crown.
    • Wrap the whole plant in burlap if necessary, in addition to one of above methods of protecting the crown.
    Timing is important. Covering the rose too early is unwise as it may prevent the rose from hardening properly and will slow the onset of dormancy. Covering the rose too late may risk damage from the cold.
  8. Climbers or long canes may benefit from being tied to avoid thrashing from the wind. Canes may be protected from drying winter winds by wrapping them in burlap with a layer of straw for insulation. In severe climates long canes may need to be tied and buried.
  9. Keep the soil well‑drained, especially as the spring rains come.
end of Rose Glossary
rec.gardens.roses FAQ, part 2/6