The best time to plant roses is winter, when they are in a period of dormancy. It’s also when roses are readily available as budget-friendly bare-root plants. In this form they look just like a bunch of thorny sticks, so read the plant tag carefully. The tag gives you a good description of what the rose will look like in bloom, and the conditions in which it should be grown.

Rose breeders are constantly coming up with beautiful new colours, scents and forms, and enthusiasts look forward to seeing what’s in store for next season. There are also trends in growing, so a type of rose that was popular decades ago can make a comeback. Think about what you want from a rose before you head to the nursery. To cover a wall or fence you should choose a climber rather than a shrub rose. But to create big blocks of colour or mass plantings, use floribunda rather than miniature varieties.  
Before planting, cut back the stems to above a healthy bud and remove any spindly looking shoots. Cut back long shoots by a third to a half, and trim excessively long roots to about 250mm so they fit in the planting hole.

Growing guide:

Follow these simple steps on how to plant and care for roses for years of beautiful blooms.
PLANT in well-drained soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6 and added organic material.
CHOOSE a sunny, sheltered position and do not underplant.
SPACE plants about a metre apart for good air circulation to help prevent fungal diseases.
WATER regularly the first year and deeply in hot, dry weather.
CHECK regularly for pests or diseases and treat immediately. 
DEADHEAD flowers as they finish blooming to encourage more flowers and tear off any suckers as they appear.
PRUNE in winter and apply a preventative fungicide.
FERTILISE regularly for healthy growth and plenty of blooms.
TIP: Companion plant roses with chives to avoid powdery mildew.

Types of Roses: 

A single rose flower is normally made up of five petals, where you can see the centre of the bloom. A double has the appearance of another flower inside the five petals. There are seven types of roses, with various sizes and habits.

1. Species rose

A single flower of five petals, some double flowered. Blooms in spring with ferny foliage. Varieties include: Moyesii, Primula and Rugosa. 

2. Climbing and rambling roses

Climbing plants that can reach up to three metres in height. Climbers have a single fragrant bloom while ramblers have trusses of flowers. Flower display in spring.

Climber varieties include, Clair Matin, Climbing Iceberg and Golden Showers. 

Rambler varieties include, Albertine, Dorothy Perkins and Excelsa. 

3. Floribunda rose

Large clusters of flowers that may be single, semi-double or double. Blooms throughout the year. Varieties include, Apricot Nectar, Iceberg, Sexy Rexy and Satchmo. 

4. Modern shrub rose

Bushy plant with an average height and width of two metres. Single or double flowers that repeat-bloom. Flower display in spring, summer and autumn. Varieties include, Autumn Delight, Golden Wings, Felicia, Titanic and Uncle Walter. 

Double flowers with strong fragrance. Blooms in late spring and early summer. Varieties inlcude, Charles de Mills, William Lobb, Celsiana Cecile and Brunner. 

6. Miniature rose

Semi-double or double flowers 20 to 40mm in diameter with bushes 200 to 500mm high. Blooms in spring, summer and autumn. Varieties inlcude, Beauty Secret, Gold Coin, Rise ’n’ Shine, Starina and Love Potion. 

7. Hybrid tea rose 

Deeply scented double flowers that are up to 150mm across. Blooms in spring, summer and autumn. Varieties include, Double Delight, Fragrant Cloud, Mister Lincoln and Pascali. 

How to plant bare root roses:

Before planting, cut back the stems to above a healthy bud and remove any spindly looking shoots. Cut back long shoots by a third to a half, and trim excessively long roots to about 250mm so they fit in the planting hole.

Step 1. Position the plant

Position in a hole that’s twice the width and the same depth as the bud join on the stem, spreading out the roots.

Step 2. Backfill with soil

Backfill a little at a time and use your fingers to gently work the soil under and around the roots to eliminate air pockets.

Step 3. Firm the soil

Firm down the soil when the hole is completely filled and water deeply to ensure there are no air pockets below the surface.

Republished with permission of Handyman Australia.