Everything’s coming up roses!

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It’s true! Everything is going splendidly. The weather is incredible (can you believe it’s only April?!), plants are arriving daily, inside and outside the greenhouse is awash with color, and (joy!) the roses are here. It’s hard not to be excited!

We love roses, and we carry several varieties to suit a variety of gardening desires. Here’s how to navigate rose selection and care for your beautiful new plants.

Basic rose planting and care

Roses like full sun, at least six hours per day. Dig a hole as deep as the pot and two times as wide. Be sure to release the roots, especially if they’re pot-bound, by running your fingers through them or scoring in a shallow X shape at the bottom and along the sides of the root ball.

Amending the soil with compost, especially if you have heavy clay, is always a good idea as this will aid both in water retention and drainage. Place the plant in the hole, fill with native soil and compost, and lightly tamp down. Water well to help the roots grow downward, and mulch to conserve moisture.

Pink rose at Tonkadale GreenhouseRoses do not like to dry out, but they also don’t want to be swamped out. Keep soil evenly moist.

Roses love air circulation, so prune any crossing branches to keep air moving through the center of the shrub. Prune out weak stems to keep the plant healthy and strong. Deadhead throughout the season.


Older rose varieties are more susceptible to disease than the newer ones, but there are still some problems to watch out for.

Black spot and powdery mildew are common rose problems. Use Bonide Sulfur (just mix it up with water), Bonide Copper Fungicide, or Bonide Rose Rx 3 in 1 to prevent or reduce the spread of black spot and powdery mildew. All of these are approved for organic gardening. If the plant is flowering, bag the blooms with plastic sandwich bags and ties to protect pollinators.

Unfortunately, Japanese beetles love roses as much as we do. Hand pick and drop the beetles into soapy water or treat with a Japanese beetle spray. Blooms should be bagged before spraying.

Roses hate to be dirty. Diseases can live in plant debris and soil. Be sure to clean up plant debris around the base of your plants and mulch to reduce splashing from rain or overhead sprinklers.

Rose varieties

Hardy Roses

Roses used to be a very intensive labor of love, but over the years several rose breeders have made many successful introductions that allow anyone, given the right environmental conditions, to grow roses without great effort.

Easy Elegance Series
All the Rage
Champagne Wishes
Como Park
Coral Cove
High Voltage
Little Mischief
Macy’s Pride
Music Box
My Girl
Mystic Fairy
Paint the Town
Screaming Neon Red
Sunrise Sunset
Super Hero
Sweet Fragrance (lives up to its name!

Other Hardy Roses
Winnipeg Parks
Morden Sunrise
Morden Centennial
Campfire Pink

Above and Beyond rose at Tonkadale Greenhouse

Rose Above and Beyond

Climbing roses

Whether climbing a trellis or fence, these varieties will put on a gorgeous show.

Ramblin’ Red
John Cabot
Above and Beyond – this newer introduction has incredibly soft yellow, creamy white, and peach blooms and a soft, sweet fragrance to match.

It’s true: We haven’t been able to get our hands on William Baffin this year. We are as disappointed as we could be, and we’ll continue to search throughout the season.

Non-hardy roses

Why carry non-hardy roses, you might wonder. Some types of roses are hardy to warmer zones than ours (which is 4) and we bring these in to be enjoyed as annuals, either in the ground or in containers. Hybrid Teas, Grandifloras, and Floribundas have stunning and prolific blooms. Whether they’re planted in the ground or in containers, they’re well worth it to enjoy even for just one season.

If you’d like to try to overwinter them, your best bet will be to learn about “tipping.” The University of Minnesota has great information on this method here: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/flowers/minnesota-tip-method-of-protecting-garden-roses/

However, know that they may still not make it.

Chicago Peace
Hope for Humanity
Dolly Parton
Double Delight
Love and Peace
Moonlight Magic
Queen Elizabeth
Touch of Class
Sun Flare

Chrysler Imperial – make time to stop and smell the roses! If fragrance is what you seek, there is no match for this one, which has an intoxicating scent that is sure to charm and delight.

Knock outs

Pink and Red Doubles – Though not considered hardy, with a little care they can be overwintered (and not by tipping – just mulch high up the plant with straw), and the blooms are stunning.

If you want to grow roses, whether in containers, in the garden, or on a trellis, there’s sure to be one that you’ll fall in love with. We’ll continue to bring in roses and a few new varieties throughout the season, and we’re always happy to help you select and care for your roses.

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