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Hardy Roses

hardy roses

For beauty, fragrance, and visual effect in your garden, roses are undeniaby the most beautiful shrub that will enhance any landscape. For the lucky gardeners that grow roses in areas that are not subject to long winters, you have many choices to choose from in rose gardening. But if you're a gardener like me who lives where winters are long, cold, and snowy, you need to pick the right hardy roses for northern gardens. There are actually many type of hardy roses that survive the long cold winters.

Grafted roses are two roses grafted together with a bud union; they usually not hardy roses and have a hard time surviving harsh winters. You have to plant grafted roses 3-4" below ground level otherwise the rose has a poor chance of surviving a cold winter, and most likely will completely die-back (or at least die-back to the root stock). After you go to all the trouble of planting and taking care of your rose, it's discouraging when they do not survive winter. I know it sounds like grafted roses will not survive in cold climates, but a few will when you plant them properly and give them a good winter cover. It's really important to buy a grafted rose that's rated for your gardening zone when you live in a cold climate.

The best choice for gardeners where winter is harsh is own-root Roses. Own-root roses are just like they say, growing on there own roots. They have become really popular with gardeners in the past 5-years. Even during an especially cold winter, own-root roses can die-back to ground level but will grow back from their crown and usually be as full and healthy as the year before. I have had this happen to some of my roses that are own-root and they have come back bigger and better than the year before.

You can buy roses in different ways - bare-root grafted, bare-root own-root, grafted in a pot growing, or own-root in a pot growing. If you choose bare root your choices will be endless and you can order from Rose Nurseries all over the world. Otherwise local nurseries usually have a nice selection of roses in pots for you to choose from. It's really important when you live in a cold climate to make sure you are ordering roses that will survive in your area. The zone chart is just a guide and a suggestion that your rose should be hardy in your garden. Other factors play into this such as planting and taking care of the rose properly and your micro environment, which can be warmer or colder than surrounding areas.

Roses require 6 hours or more of direct sunlight, 1" of water weekly, clay-sandy loam soil with a ph of 6-6.5. Roses need to be out of strong winds, no standing water, and fertilized on a regular basis (organic fertilizers are best) until 6 weeks before your first expected frost date. They also need a good spraying schedule to keep them free of disease and pests. Plant your rose bush in a hole 2'x 2' for roses 5-6' tall; for small or miniature roses, plant it in a hole 1'x 1'.

For grafted roses and any roses that are not hardy, use this tip for winter protection. Put 8"of loose potting soil at the base of the plant, bend each rose bush gently over (try not to break canes), anchor with a brick or rock, and cover with dry oak leaves. Do this after the first hard frost hits and before you expect snow. Snow is a wonderful insulator and will protect your roses through long cold winters.

Uncover them in the spring when it warms up and no freezes are expected, prune back by a third if necessary and prune out old wood, dead wood and any that is crossing by cutting at a 1/4 degree angle facing outward. You will also have to deadhead to encourage your roses to keep blooming by cutting 1/8" at an angle facing outward, to the first 5 leaflets of your stem.