By Stan V. Griep
American Rose Society Consulting Master Rosarian – Rocky Mountain District
Deciding to plant roses in your garden can be exciting and at the same time intimidating. Buying rose plants does not need to be intimidating if you know what to look for. Once we have the new rose bed home all ready to go, it is time to pick out some rose bushes for it and below you will find advice on where to buy rose bushes.
Tips for How to Buy Rose Bushes
First of all, I highly recommend the beginning rose gardeners NOT buy any of the rose bushes you can buy cheaply that come in plastic bags, some with wax on their canes. Many of these rose bushes have severely cut back or damaged root systems.
Many of them are misnamed and, thus, you will not get the same rose blooms as are shown on their covers or tags. I know of rose gardeners who have purchased what was to be a red blooming Mister Lincoln rose bush and instead got white blooms.
Also, if the root system of the rose bush is severely damaged or cut back, the chances of the rose bush failing are very high. Then the new rose loving gardener blames his or herself and goes on to say roses are just too hard to grow.
You do not need to purchase roses locally. You can order your rose bushes online very easily these days. The miniature and mini-flora roses are shipped to you in little pots ready to take out and plant. Many will arrive either with a bloom on them or buds that will open very soon. The other rose bushes may be ordered as what is called bare root rose bushes.
Choosing Types of Roses for Your Garden
Which types of roses you choose to buy depends on what you are looking to get out of your roses.
- If you like the high centered tight blooms like you see at most florist shops, the Hybrid Tea rose may be what you want. These roses grow tall and usually do not bush out too much.
- Some Grandiflora rose bushes grow tall as well and have those nice blooms; however, they typically are more than one bloom to a stem. In order to get one nice big bloom, you would have to disbud (remove some of the buds) early on to allow the rose bush’s energy to go to the buds left.
- Floribunda rose bushes are usually shorter and bushy and love to load up with bouquets of blooms.
- Miniature and Mini-flora rose bushes have smaller blooms and some of the bushes are smaller as well. Keep in mind, though, that the “mini” refers to the size of the bloom and not necessarily the size of the bush. Some of these rose bushes will get big!
- There are also climbing rose bushes that will climb up a trellis, up and over an arbor or a fence.
- Shrub rose bushes are nice too but need plenty of room to fill out nicely as they grow. I love the David Austin English style blooming shrub roses, a couple of favorites are Mary Rose (pink) and Golden Celebration (rich yellow). Nice fragrance with these as well.
Where Can I Purchase Rose Plants?
If your budget can afford at least one or two of the rose bushes from companies like Rosemania.com, Roses of Yesterday and Today, Weeks Roses or Jackson & Perkins Roses, I would still go that route. Some of these dealers sell their roses through reputible garden nurseries as well. Build your rose bed slowly and with good stock. The rewards for doing so are wonderful to say the least. If you do get a rose bush that for some unknown reason will not grow, these companies are excellent at replacing the rose bush for you.
If you must buy the $1.99 to $4.99 bagged rose bushes for sale at your local big box store, please go into it knowing that you may lose them and that it most likely is not due to any fault of your own. I have grown roses for over 40 years and my success rate with the bagged rose bushes has been only so-so. I have found them to take far more TLC and many times with no reward at all.