A flower cherished and treasured for centuries, roses come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. Some roses produce large, fragrant blossoms on long stems, while others generate clouds of tiny flowers across the surface of their shrubby form. One variety of rose, the tree rose or rose tree standards, resembles a small tree. This interesting rose plant makes a delightful ornamental display in the center of a yard or near the front of a landscape.
Rose standards stand erect with blossoms that emerge from the top of a cane that resembles the trunk of a small tree. Like other varieties of roses, these trees vary in size, with central canes ranging in height from 24 inches to 36 inches tall. Their blossom times, characteristics and colors vary, depending on the variety of roses grafted to form this small tree.
Rose trees result from grafting together two separate types of rose plants. Nurseries and gardening centers commonly graft together grandiflora roses, floribunda roses and hybrid tea roses to form this interesting type of rose plant. Rose standards contain a graft where the cane meets the rootstock and another graft near the top, where the blossoming portion attaches to the upper part of the cane.
Although many cultures enjoyed experimenting with rose plants, rose tree standards probably originated in Germany between 1790 and 1800. During this early phase, wild roses provided the under stock for grafting tall rose plants that resembled small trees.
Like all garden plants, rose tree standards require regular maintenance to survive and flourish. Plant these in areas that receive protection from harsh winds and damaging storms. Water your rose plant regularly to ensure slight moisture near your rose tree's roots. Prune lightly in the fall, removing only dead and broken branches. Watch for pest damage and quickly treat infestations with an application of herbicide.
While most varieties of rose tree standards can withstand light frosts, they require protection, especially around their exposed graft unions, to ensure renewed growth in the spring. Insulate your rose late in the fall if you live in a climate that experiences winter temperatures that drop below freezing. Place a wire cage around the cane of your rose tree, extending a few inches beyond the top graft. Secure the wire in place with garden stakes and fill the area between the cane and the wire cage with clean straw, old grass cuttings or raked leaves. Wrap a large piece of burlap around the wire cage to hold the insulating material in place. Remove the burlap and insulation before new growth appears in the spring.