The climate of the southeastern United States provides two things roses need most to thrive: long, sunny days and moist conditions. Roses are available in hundreds of varieties, from old-fashioned climbers to miniature tea roses. Choose a variety to suit your gardening situation and plant it in a sunny spot with well-drained, loamy soil. Roses need some specialized care, particularly yearly pruning, which promotes new growth and keeps plants healthy. In return, your roses will provide years of fragrant blooms.
Pruning Hybrid Tea Roses
Cut back hybrid tea roses in early spring before new growth emerges. Prune out any dead or diseased limbs with your pruning shears.
Cut all but five of the most vigorous canes to ground level.
Cut back the five remaining canes to stand 24 inches above ground. Cut them 1/4 inch above an outward facing bud (the small brownish-green triangles on canes from which new growth emerges). Make the cut at a 45 degree angle so water drains off the cane, minimizing disease.
Cut any dead or diseased canes away throughout the growing season. Dip your tools between cuts in a solution of one part chlorine bleach to nine parts water when cutting diseased canes, to prevent the spread of disease.
Pull out any suckers that sprout below the graft line. These spindly, vegetative growths compete with the plant for moisture and nutrients.
Remove and discard spent blossoms throughout the growing season to promote more flowering.
Pruning Climbers and Shrub Roses
Prune climbers and roses in late spring, after the flush of spring blooms. Cut out all diseased and dead wood as described for tea roses.
Cut back growth by no more than 1/3 to control height or train the climber to a trellis. Climbers and shrubs tend to have more thorns than hybrid tea roses, so leather gloves are a must.
Disinfect your tools to prevent disease and remove spent blossoms.