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How to Care for Hybrid Tea Roses

By Debbi Tom ; Updated September 21, 2017

Hybrid teas are the long-stemmed roses sold in floral shops. Most varieties have large, sharp thorns. The hybrids are available in most any color of the rainbow, and they bloom continuously through the summer. They are not one of the easiest roses to care for, but newer hybrids are more disease and insect resistant. It takes three growing seasons for these roses to mature to their full height, usually 5 or 6 feet. Roses optimally should get at least six hours of sunshine daily. Morning sun is preferred, as it will evaporate the nighttime condensation, aiding in the prevention of fungus and disease.

Water the roses weekly. Soak the area at the base of the plant. Don’t let the earth get dry and cracked between waterings. Good drainage is imperative. Working organic compost or peat moss into the soil around the plants will improve drainage. Raised beds are also recommended for rose gardens.

Weed the rose garden regularly; hybrid tea roses do not like to share the nutrients in the soil. Any other bushes, shrubs or trees in the area should be at least 2 feet from the roses. Weeding also helps aerate the soil.

Fertilize in the spring as soon as you can till the soil. Loosen any winter mulch and work it into the soil surrounding the rose. Begin with a high nitrogen fertilizer until the roses begin to bud. Change to a fertilizer with a higher percentage of phosphorous to stimulate the production of more blooms.

Mulch with 2 to 3 inches of an organic compost to protect the soil from the elements and help keep it moist and temperate. Mulch also helps control weeds and provides a good environment for worms and other organisms that are good for the rose garden. Organic mulches also contribute to the nutrient levels in the soil.

Prune your hybrid tea roses in the spring after danger of heavy frost. Eliminate any dead, broken, or diseased stems. Cut back the plant to five or six of the strongest, healthiest canes, ideally about ¾ inches in diameter. The smoother and brighter green the stems, the healthier they are. Trim the remaining canes at a 45 degree angle, to between 1 and 2 feet high just above an outward facing bud at that height. It may look drastic, but the roses will fill out and grow back to their 5 to 6 foot height in no time.


Things You Will Need

  • Watering can
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Pruning shears
  • Gloves


  • The thorns on long stemmed roses can be treacherous. Instead of traditional gardening gloves, try a pair of heavy-duty work gloves, welding gloves or thick leather gloves for protection while caring for the rose garden. A thick, long-sleeved shirt to protect your arms is also a good idea. Avoid sweaters or knit fabrics that will catch on the thorns.

About the Author


Debbi Tom has channeled her life experience and passion for writing into a second career after retiring from her own restaurant business. Currently residing in Arizona, Tom has several gardening and travel articles published on a variety of websites.