GREATER MILWAUKEE ROSE SOCIETY
Disclaimer:  While the advice and information contained within this website is believed to be true and accurate, GMRS does not accept any legal responsibility for any errors or omissions that may have been made.  GMRS makes no warranty, expressed or implied with respect to the material contained herein.
Growing Great Roses
Our experts don't agree on every detail, but there is clearly a lot of consensus on how to grow award-winning roses.  Don't forget, if you have questions about these tips, ask a consulting rosarian at one of our meetings or ask us online.

Maggie Barr ARS Master Consulting Rosarian, ARS Horticulture Judge
  • Join local rose society and the ARS!!! It is a wonderful chance to meet other rose growers and learn about what works best in your area. Visit members’ gardens as well as public gardens to see what varieties look like when grown here - color and form vary in different zones. The American Rose Society magazine has great tips and pictures and is a great way to keep up with the newest roses as well as old favorites.
  • Location, location, location - Choose at spot for your roses with at least 6 hours of sunlight/day, preferably in the morning
  • Choose good roses - 3 to 5 strong healthy canes grafted on Dr. Huey virus-free stock from a reputable source, mail order gives you the widest choice but local nurseries give you an opportunity to make pick out your own bushes and talk to their experts.
  • Know what kind of roses you want. Don't plant hybrid teas if you want to be able to cut a couple blooms everyday. They have a 45 - 60 day bloom cycle and will be without flowers most of the season, choose a Floribunda or shrub rose instead, but don't plant those if you are a stickler for hybrid tea form, they don't all have it. Hybrid teas will require winter protection so if you don't have a place to bury them or can't haul lots of dirt to mound them - shrubs were made for you, throw a few leaves on most shrubs and they'll make it through our winters just fine.
  • Get a soil test of each bed before planting, pH levels of 6.5 - 7.1 are desired
  • Make the hole biggggg!!!  at least twice as big the root ball in width and depth
  • Amend the soil in the hole. Fill the hole with a mixture of soil, sand, and organic matter (compost/aged manure)
  • Water, water, water!!! Roses need at least a gallon of water a day, more when the temp is high.
  • Fertilize in response to your soil test - in appropriate amounts for the desired result; basal breaks - 1 -2 TBS of Epsom salts, foliage and strong canes - nitrogen, blooms - phosphorus, and don't for get the trace elements - they help.
  • Begin a regular spray program for fungus before you see it and spray for bugs when you see them.

John Schroeder:  ARS Horticulture Judge, Consulting Rosarian Emeritous, Master Gardener
  • Adequate sunlight
  • Water
  • Good ground
  • Nutrition
  • Select good varieties
  • Control diseases and insects
  • Attend rose society meetings:  learn from other members.  Adopt a rose-growing friend.
  • Attend rose shows to lean that roses do well in your area.

Barbara Maas: ARS Horticulture Judge, Consulting Rosarian
  • Buy roses from reputable sources.  Choose potted roses carefully.  Look for roses with a short shunt between the bud graft and the root base.
  • Plant roses firmly in a large planting hole.
  • Water thoroughly after planting; mound dirt around new roses until they start growing.
  • Fertilize after roses begin to show growth.
  • Prune out dead and spindly wood.
  • Spray for insects
  • Water - equal to one inch of rainfall per week.
  • Spray with fungicides regularly.
  • Roses need at least 6 hours of sun per day.
  • Prune roses after blooming.
  • Winter protection

Alan Karch: ARS Master Consulting Rosarian
  • The soil mix should be breathable.  It should hold enough moisture to allow nutrient absorption by the root system, yet not allow the soil to become waterlogged.
  • Yearly soil pH testing is essential.  Nutrients can become locked in the soil, rendering them useless if the soil pH is too acidic or alkaline.
  • Spring pruning should clear the middle canes, leaving the outward facing canes.  This allows good airflow through the bush.  As bud eyes appear, remove those that face back to the center of the bush.
  • Applications of Epsom salt: 1/2 cup per bush in spring.  Reduce to 1/4 cup at four-week intervals after the first application.  This promotes basal breaks throughout the bush.
  • Use a balanced fertilizer program that includes organic and chemical fertilizers.
  • Deadhead just below the spent bloom.
  • A preventative spray program administered at two-week intervals for disease control.  Insect control as conditions warrant.
  • Use mulch to retain moisture, to cool the soil and to reduce spore migration caused by black spot.
  • Water daily.
  • Grow roses with the proper frame of mind and attitude.  Enjoy your hobby; it's not a job!

Marlin Johannes:  Master Gardener, ARS Consulting Rosarian
  • Good soil
  • Test your soil
  • Give bushes plenty of room:  18-24 inches on all directions
  • Water
  • Fertilize
  • Spray regularly: every 7-10 days
  • Buy #1 grade roses
  • Buy the rose varieties for the area; use ARS Guide for Selecting Roses.
  • Sun - more, the better
  • Winter protection

Top 10 Lists for Growing Great Roses
This page was most recently updated on 3/20/2013
Disclaimer:  While the advice and information contained within this website is believed to be true and accurate, GMRS does not accept any legal responsibility for any errors or omissions that may have been made.  GMRS makes no warranty, expressed or implied with respect to the material contained herein.