Roses are highly prized for their abundant color, rich fragrance and endless diversity of growing habits. Roses can climb fences, fill containers and even be trained into shrubs. These plants have a long history, come in many varieties and have many uses in the backyard garden.
According to the University of Illinois Extension, roses have a long and colorful past. Fossil evidence indicated that roses have been in existence for more than 35 million years. Garden cultivation began approximately 5,000 years ago. possibly in China. However, it wasn't until the 18th century that cultivated roses were introduced to Europe by the Chinese.
The University of Alabama Cooperative Extension says that there are 16 types of rose plants--bush roses, hybrid teas, floribundas, grandifloras, polyanthus, hybrid perpetuals, shrub roses, old-fashion roses, tree or standard roses, miniature roses, climbing roses, ramblers, large-flowered climbers, everblooming climbers, climbing hybrid teas and climbing polyanthas and floribundas. However, based on the plant's growing habit, roses are typically classified simply as a bush or climbing rose.
Most people automatically consider roses a garden focal point. However, the Mississippi State University Extension Service says roses are have many more functions in the garden other than being the center of attention. Roses can be used as accent plants, specimens, foundation plants and sound barriers. They can climb over walls or fences and be utilized as a ground cover or cover for trellises, arches, arbors or pergolas. Roses can also be used for hedges, screens, background plants, container plants and border or edging plants.
Roses can be planted anytime between early spring and late fall. However, according to the Ohio State University Extension, early plantings allow the rose to establish healthy root systems before the winter season. "Spring or early summer planting allows plenty of time for good root establishment before winter, whereas planting after mid-summer may not. Other advantages of spring planting are that selection of cultivars and availability of quality plants are usually better than later in the season," OSU says. Other considerations include the type of packaging. OSU says that bare root roses should be planted in the early spring. However, potted roses, which have a greater survival rate, can be planted anytime.
Roses of all types need at least six hours of direct sunlight. In addition they prefer well-drained soil conditions and should never be planted at a site that is prone to standing water. In addition, OSU recommends finding a location in an open area where roses will not have to compete against other plants such as trees or shrubs for nutrients and water.