Roses: Worth the Trouble?


For beautiful blooms, plant roses

Roses have an undeserved reputation as being difficult to grow. While this may have been partially true in the past, new, hardy varieties of roses have been developed that are much less temperamental, yet just as beautiful, as their delicate relatives.

If you were wondering what to grow in your clay soil, go ahead and plant roses. All varieties will thrive in a well-drained clay soil that has been well amended with lots of seasoned manure. Roses are heavy feeders and soak up the nutrients provided by the composting manure.

How you care for your roses can determine the degree of chemical pest control they will require. Rose diseases such as black spot and powdery mildew incubate on fallen leaves, so keeping the garden clean will help prevent these diseases. Correct pruning techniques can also help roses to grow in a healthy manner and discourage the onset of disease.

Before pruning your roses make sure you have a clean, sharp pair of by-pass secateurs. It is also necessary to know what type of rose you will be pruning, e.g.: hybrid tea or floribunda, as they are each pruned in a different manner.

Hybrid tea roses are the classic long-stemmed roses. They should first be cut back in spring as the buds are beginning to swell. Prune the rose so that three to five good strong stems are left and then cut back these stems so that between three and five buds are left on each branch. Choose your stems carefully so that the rose will be growing in an open vase shape. Branches that cross one another or grow inward will block both light and air from the centre of the plant.

Floribunda roses are shorter and have multiple blooms on each stem. They should be pruned so that five to seven stems remain, each with five to seven buds.

Finally, if you’re looking for hardy, low maintenance roses, try roses from the Parkland or Explorer series. These hardy roses were developed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and need minimal care and are environmentally friendly, requiring minimal sprays. The plants were chosen for their superior disease resistance, they flower continuously throughout the summer, require only minimal pruning and are available in many colours and sizes.

For more information on growing roses in Canada, visit the website of the Canadian Rose Society,

This information is provided by Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association, one of the most vibrant associations of its kind in North America, comprised of over 2,000 members, nine sector groups and nine local chapters. Visit to find a professional member near you.