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What Should I Consider When Buying a Rose Bush?

By O. Wallace
Updated: May 17, 2024

For centuries, the rose bush has been a favorite among gardeners and flower aficionados. For many gardeners both experienced and greenhorn, selecting a rose bush that will go on to thrive and produce beautiful blossoms can prove to be a challenging task. Due to the fact that there are as many as 150 species of roses, selecting one bush for your garden can be overwhelming. There are many resources online or at your local nursery to help you with the decision. There are even Consulting Rosarians available to advise you on your rose purchase.

Many things should be considered when buying a rose bush. First and foremost, decide if you are selecting roses simply for yard beautification or for cutting. Certain rose bushes are better suited for window dressing, such as floribundas, shrub roses, hybrid teas and grandifloras. Others are perfect for cutting and arranging.

Another decision you need to make is how much maintenance you can give the rose bush -- do you need a plant that is more disease tolerant and will survive a little more abuse, or are you willing to tend to it constantly? How experienced are you as a "rosarian"? Also, the zone you live in will help determine what kind of rose bush will do well where you live. One rose that grows in the south may not do well in the northeast.

The next thing to consider is your garden. How much sun does the area get? Roses like a lot of sun and usually require full sun for at least six hours a day. How big is your yard? Roses don't like a lot of crowding.

Remember to consider the full grown size of the bush when selecting a rose for a specific area. If you don't have a lot of space, look for a rose that doesn't take up a lot of room. The final question is regarding your soil quality. Roses thrive in well drained, slightly acidic soil.

Rose bushes can be purchased in a number of places -- catalogs, nurseries, plant stands and garden centers are a few. Experts prefer the selection and reliability of catalogs, while nurseries and garden centers also provide healthy bushes that are often guaranteed. The most important decision you'll make when purchasing a rose bush is who you buy it from -- finding a reliable seller who sells quality bushes is half the battle.

Many experts will say that they prefer buying a bare root rose bush as opposed to a potted bush. This is not for the inexperienced grower because of its labor intensive nature. A potted rose bush comes "jump started" for the buyer and ready for planting. This option is good for a novice rose grower.

A one to two year bush will be a safe choice. If you order from a catalog, just make sure that it will be shipped at the right time for a mid-spring planting, which is the optimum time of year for starting a rose garden.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By letshearit — On May 21, 2011

If you are considering buying a rose bush make sure you also pick up some items and tools that will make caring for your new plants easier.

If you can afford to buy a spray nozzle for your garden hose it is an excellent purchase, as roses require deep watering about one or two times a week. This works out to about 4 or 5 gallons of water per plant, per week, or 2 inches of rain.

Picking up some quality soil and food will also help your plants bloom beautifully.

You should also make sure to get some pruning shears and a trowel for initial planting.

By Sara007 — On May 20, 2011

I am considering putting in some rose bushes in my garden for the first time. For a complete beginner, who likes the look of rose bushes, but doesn't have the greatest green thumb, can someone recommend some good species that are hardy and easily cared for?

Also, when caring for a rose bush, how much upkeep is required on the species that are harder to kill?

I remember my grandmother used to have some rosebushes and she was always pruning them and adding all sorts of feed to the soil. I would love to have rose bushes, but not if they are going to require hours of weekly upkeep.

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