Rose Bush Guide: How to Plant it + 5 Roses Species for Your Garden


Roses are the most favorite and classic flowers to have in your garden or as a gift for your loved ones. Perhaps you’ve been afraid of starting growing roses because it seems like such a challenging plant; however, it’s not a stressful task, and you’ll find that it’s actually easier than you thought it would be.

Do you want to start growing roses in your garden? Continue reading this blog since, with our detailed guide on rose bushes, anyone can become an expert in growing beautiful roses.

Next, we’ll discuss what a rose bush is and how roses are classified. We’ll also look at the steps involved in owning and caring for a rose bush and recommend 5 rose varieties for your garden. Finally, we would like to explain the meaning of roses by their color so that you can take them into account when giving them as a gift or keeping them in your home.

What is a rose bush? 

It’s a shrub or climbing plant, usually thorny, grown mainly for its beautiful flowers, called roses. These can be red, orange, pink, white, yellow or other variations and can have different shapes depending on the variety. The rose is believed to be native to China.

Rose bushes have semi-woody stems of green color or reddish or brownish tones that bring small but sharp thorns in most varieties. On the other hand, their leaves are smooth and can have a glossy, semi-glossy or completely matte appearance.

Also, its petals are aromatic and very popular in cosmetics, where they are used to produce tonics, creams for aromatherapy or in beverages as a medicinal plant. This is because, some species function as mild laxatives.

Similarly, it produces fruits better called “rose hips” that look reddish when ripe and contain small nuts and seeds inside.

Types of roses 

Although there are several rose varieties, experts classify them into 3 main categories according to their date of introduction:

Old roses

Also called historical or heritage roses, are those that have been around since before 1867. They are known for their strong fragrance and a large number of petals.

These species have developed great resistance to diseases and can withstand very low temperatures, even -23° C (-73,4° F). As for flowering, it usually occurs once a year, precisely during the summer. Some of the best known are the Chinese, Bourbon and Damascena roses.

Modern roses

These are the ones that appeared after 1867 and are the most used for exportation and importation because they have continuous flowering and a larger rose. However, their fragrance is not as strong and they are less resistant to diseases. Popular varieties include Hybrid Tea, Floribunda and Grandiflora.

Wild roses

These are roses that have grown in nature without being cultivated and have done it for thousands of years. Therefore, they adapt easily to any type of soil and to mountainous areas.

They are generally shrubby, fragrant, and usually bloom from spring to early summer. They include the Rosa Gallica, the Rosa Californica and the Rosa Moschata.

How to plant a rose bush? 

Now, let’s go through the steps you need to follow when growing roses for the first time. Beginning with propagation, planting and harvesting time.

1. Reproduction of roses 

Roses can be propagated in 4 ways: by seed, layering, grafting and cutting.

The seed method is probably the least common as the resulting plants are often genetically different from the parent plant. It’s even used to produce new varieties, not to mention that it’s a far slower process.

Multiplication by layering is excellent for any rose bush with long, flexible stems, such as those with climbing characteristics. This is done by taking one of the stems, bending it, and inserting it below the soil, leaving one end sticking out so that a new plant can grow from it without having to detach the stem from the mother plant.

Grafting, by contrast, is done by experienced gardeners who are familiar with how to make the grafting technique effective. It’s most likely that if you buy a rose seedling in a nursery, this grafting technique has already been done there.

This technique is beneficial because it encourages the correct development of the roots and the success rate.

Undoubtedly the propagation method most used and the one that we recommend is that of cuttings. This because, it assures an exact copy of the original plant and it’s a much simpler task that any beginner can do.

What you should do is take a wide stem that has a thickness of a pencil, that measures at least 8 inches (20cm) and that has several nodes or points where the leaves come from. This stem should come from the top of the plant and it’s even better if it has a wilting flower.

Cut the lower end of the stem horizontally and remove the flower diagonally, cutting the stem at the top at an angle of approximately 45°. Also, remove the leaves from the middle of the cutting downwards. Some people suggest making 3 vertical cuts at the bottom end to promote root growth.

However, you can also use rooting hormones or use one of the methods we recommend in our blog on natural homemade rooting fertilizers.

2. Rose planting process 

Roses grow best in spring, just after the last frost, or in autumn, at least 1 month before the first winter frost. This allows the roots to settle down before the plant goes dormant for the winter.

To plant the cuttings use a stick, pencil or similar item to make a deep hole in the soil, which should be preferably moist. Insert at least 5 inches (8cm) of the stem and water it once more.

It’s best to plant the cutting in the definitive spot where the rose bush will grow so that it won’t undergo the stress of transplanting later on. You can do this in a pot or in the garden directly, depending on the rose variety.

If you are doing this process in a cold season, you may use bottles as greenhouses to maintain humidity and protect the cuttings. We explained this in detail in our blog on recycling in the vegetable garden.

To plant the seedling, it can come in a root ball (with soil attached to the roots) or with bare roots. The latter should be soaked in water overnight before planting, at least 12 hours, so that the roots don’t dry out.

Now, make a broad, deep hole in the soil so that the roots have enough space. Once the seedling is in place, fill the hole halfway with soil and water it so that it settles. Then continue adding the soil and tap it gently to compact it.

To finish with, give it a generous splash of water and, if necessary, add straw or mulch to keep the soil moist. For example, you can use dry leaves or pieces of cardboard or newspaper.

3. Harvesting roses 

The time it takes for your rose bush to produce beautiful flowers depends directly on the variety you have planted and the method used (seeds, cuttings, seedlings, etc.).

You can pick the roses right before their petals have unfolded, or better when they are open a little and some outer petals are still closed, as shown in the picture. Keep in mind that if you cut them too immature they’ll wilt too soon.

Use sharp and sanitized pruning shears to cut the stem longer than needed when the rose is arranged. As soon as you harvest the roses, soak them in water.

Subsequently, make a second cut on the stems to give shape to your bouquet, which also allows better water absorption. Therefore, every 3 days you can cut at least 1 or 2 centimeters to extend the life of your flowers.

How to take care of a rose bush 

To continue, we’ll tell you the specific care that your rose bush will need and some very important aspects that you must keep in mind.

Type of soil for roses 

Roses need a soil with proper drainage and aeration, because, if the roots are constantly soaked they will rot, although they need deep and regular watering. If it’s poor soil, it will be amazing if you improve it with organic matter such as compost or other elements that provide nutrients.

If it’s clay soil, it can be improved with sand to obtain porosity and better water drainage. On the other hand, if it is sandy, it’s best to use peat or compost to obtain a mixture with a better texture.

As for the pH, roses prefer a slightly acidic to neutral soil, that is, between 5.5 and 7.0.

If you don’t understand much about soil types we recommend you read our blog on substrates.

Location of the rose bush 

Regardless of the variety, roses love the sun, so plant them in a place where they receive 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day. This allows the leaves to dry out after watering and prevents disease.

However, in very hot weather and when water is limited, they may need shelter at the hottest part of the day, so semi-shade will be a good option. Alternatively, in cooler climates roses will be more comfortable when placed close to a wall and covered with mulch.

Mulch consists of different materials that are placed on the soil surface to help it retain moisture, including straw, compost and pruning debris.

Watering the rose bush 

Give your rose a good but infrequent watering. Clearly, watering needs will vary according to climate and soil, although just by looking at it you’ll know what condition the rose bush is in.

Ideally, the soil should be kept permanently moist, not so much as to be waterlogged, but not so dry either. To do so, we suggest applying water with a watering can, hose or by installing a drip irrigation system.

However, avoid using sprinkler irrigation as this will only soak the soil superficially, preventing the water to reach the roots and making the plant vulnerable to disease.

Pruning of the rose bush

Pruning is a fundamental activity that you shouldn’t neglect with your rose bushes because, by doing it you promote the plant’s growth, keep it healthy, in shape and free of diseases or pests.

All you’ll need is a pair of good gardening gloves to protect you from thorns, and a set of sharp disinfected pruning or garden shears.

The main goal will be to remove dead stems, those that have been damaged by insects or infected by a disease. Similarly, you can remove those that are too thin or that have intertwined with other stems, interfering with the arrangement.

Always cut the stems diagonally at a 45° angle and preferably above a node to encourage the plant to grow outward and become bushier. Cease pruning your rose 3 to 4 weeks before the first heavy frost to avoid regrowth, by then the new shoots could be affected by the cold.

Pests and diseases on roses 

As we were saying, by avoiding constantly wet foliage and performing a cleansing pruning, your rose bush will be quite healthy. However, it can get infected, especially if a nearby plant is infected.

As for pests, these are the most common ones on roses:

  • Aphids
  • Japanese beetles
  • Spider mite

Meanwhile, the diseases that it could present are the following:

  • Powdery mildew
  • Rust
  • Fumagine or black spot

To combat them we recommend the use of homemade insecticides that you can easily make and are quite efficient. If you want, instead, to buy a specific product on the market which is completely ecological, we advise you to get neem oil or potassium soap.

Top 5 roses for your garden 

We want to share with you 5 species of roses that you’ll love to grow in your garden. Before we start, you should know that there are 2 seasons in which roses can bloom.

For those that are multiannual flowering, that is, that bloom several times a year, the process goes from May until the frosts of December. Whereas for annual roses or, those that bloom only once a year, it takes place in spring, from March to May, and can sometimes be very prolific.

Hybrid tea rose 

This species is part of the modern roses and was bred by crossing 2 types of roses. It’s one of the most popular flowers in the world because of its colors, shapes, easy-care and that it has fragrance.

These shrubs usually produce only 1 flower at the end of each stem rather than clusters of flowers. Their long, pointed buds open slowly and can bear up to 60+ petals.

Nearly all hybrid tea roses bloom repeatedly during the growing period and offer a certain degree of fragrance. The flowers can be of all colors except blue.

They usually have an erect stem and reach up to 2 m (6 ft) high, depending on growing conditions and pruning. However, they can be sensitive in very hot conditions or weak in very cold temperatures.

Rosa Banksiae 

It’s a semi-climbing shrub that can reach up to 6 m (20 ft) tall and belongs to the wild roses. Some of its varieties have no thorns and in general, they have small, shiny, toothed leaves.

It produces hanging clusters of small pale yellow or white flowers and is lightly fragrant. These flowers are borne around the second year, so avoid heavy pruning before this time.

Although their petals are small compared to other roses, they are profuse and form beautiful leafy blooms that are very desirable for landscaping garden arches or wall decorations.

Damask rose 

Better known as the Damask rose, it’s a woody plant with climbing or shrubby habits that is part of the old roses. It’s well known for its fragrant flowers that are used to produce rose oil, used for perfumes, or create rose water, an important cosmetic product.

Its stems are often thorny and have thick, curved spikes, as well as completely dull leaves. It can grow a little over 2 meters, depending on the specific variety.

The roses are pink to light red. Besides the uses we have already mentioned, the petals are also used in cooking to flavor food or to make tea, as they are considered safe for human consumption.

Damasks can be divided into 2 varieties: Summer and Autumn Damasks. The first has a short flowering season that occurs in summer only. The second, on the other hand, has a longer flowering season that lasts until autumn.

Rosa gallica 

It’s a wild rose also called the French rose. It has shrubby characteristics and deciduous leaves, which means that in autumn they wither and fall off. It has thin, straight thorns of different sizes.

It rarely grows more than five feet and blooms only once a year in summer, but keeps the flower for 3 to 4 months. The roses are pink, orange or purple and can grow as single roses, though they usually bloom in pairs.

Be careful with the layer of small hairs that grow around the seeds, just below the fruit, as they can cause irritation or digestive discomfort if ingested.

Rosa Grandiflora 

This species is a cross between hybrid tea roses and floribundas and is part of the modern roses. It blooms from late spring to late summer.

It has beautiful flowers with long stems that are excellent for cutting bouquets, a characteristic aspect of tea roses. On the other hand, it gained the hardiness and the constant, clustered bloom of the floribunda rose.

Its color shades go from soft pastels to dark purples and, additionally, it has a pleasant floral scent. It can produce single flowers, but commonly produces clusters of 3 to 5 roses. It grows up to 2 m (6.5 ft.) approximately.

The meaning of roses according to their color 

To conclude, let’s see what roses mean according to their colors. This is a rather intriguing feature that many people like to consider when giving roses as a gift or choosing a variety to plant in the garden.


It’s the universal symbol of love and passion. It’s undoubtedly the classic choice for holidays such as Valentine’s Day or for any special occasion when you want to say “I love you”.

When red roses are used for a bridal bouquet, they are said to represent happiness in marriage and mutual respect and appreciation. Therefore, they express strong and intense feelings.


Pink roses symbolize gratitude, elegance, femininity, joy and sweetness. As a gift, they are used to express admiration or as a way of saying “thank you”.

It’s also a way of showing appreciation, but more subtle compared to red roses. Here, they would mean something like “I appreciate you”. They can be used for any occasion, but because of the tone, they are usually given to women.

Lavender or purple 

These are the ones that we often see in spring and represent love at first sight. Therefore, they are used to express fascination and adoration. Then, they are excellent flowers to send on any occasion or celebration where you want to declare something.


White roses are most commonly used for weddings and christenings. They function as a symbol of purity, innocence, youth and loyalty. They can also symbolize a new beginning and eternal love.

Their pure color conveys respect and celebrates new beginnings or farewells. This is why some people use them at funerals.


Its strong and powerful color represents desire, fascination, energy and enthusiasm, so it’s a good substitute for red roses, although it doesn’t convey romance the same way.

Likewise, they communicate feelings of fascination and pride for another person.


Previously it used to have a meaning in relation to jealousy and greed, but now it conveys warmth and affection. Because of this, yellow roses are ideal for friends to represent joy and affection.

As you can notice, there is no romantic sentiment behind these flowers, so there won’t be any harm if you gift them to a co-worker or a colleague.


Theoretically, peach-colored roses fulfill the same role as yellow roses, only they have a sweeter appearance because of their warm color and are a great gift for a daughter, a mother or a friend.

They also convey modesty, sincerity, gratitude and authenticity.


Roses with green tones represent harmony, rejuvenation, tranquility and prosperity. Likewise, they are a sign of abundance as they radiate hopes for a prosperous life and good health.

To some people, thanks to its pleasant pastel color, it conveys a sense of balance, stability and peace.

Blue and black 

These roses are the least common because they are not naturally produced and therefore are not common when it comes to gift-giving. However, blue roses represent mystery and illusion. In matters of love, they are related to desire and lust.

On the other hand, black roses are associated with death and creepiness. That’s why they are used in festivities such as Halloween or at wakes as a symbol of grief.

Final recommendations 

Do not get disappointed if you don’t succeed at propagating the rose by cuttings at first; that’s something that happens with any other plant. Then, all you have to do is try again or use several stems at a time and see how many of them thrive.

On the other hand, if you want to use fertilizers, we advise you to implement those that are rich in potassium (K) to strengthen and promote flowering..

In and of itself, starting a rose garden and figuring out how to care for roses shouldn’t be an intimidating activity. In fact, we hope you’ve realized that it’s easier than you might think.

That said, we hope that this blog has motivated you to start growing roses in your garden and that the most important points regarding rose care have become clear to you. Additionally, we hope that you found it helpful to read about the meaning of roses according to their color and that you will put it into practice.