Growing Tender Roses in Cold Climates

Orillia/Barrie area, ON(Zone 4b)

Does anyone have any experience with growing the tender roses, hybrid tea, floribunda, grandiflora, in cold climates. I love roses and think it would be worth the extra effort to have them and I'm ready to add them to my garden this spring. I would appreciate any information. I live in southern Ontario- zone 4 I think on the US map. I should mention that I already have a few specifically cold hardy roses but would really like roses for cutting.

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

I no longer grow roses in zone 5. I've moved to TX (zone 8a). That being said, I used to grow a number of the types of roses you are wanting. The key thing is to do your research and then be ready for a little trial and error. Sometimes, on paper, a rose will look as if it will be very doable for your area. But once you get it home, lovingly plant it, follow all tips and techniques for you area and set your heart on that rose for that bed it will just up and snuff it. No explinations, no hearfelt goodbyes.....just gone. And the next rose, against all advise, will do great for no real reason. That's just the way it is sometimes. LOL!

I still buy roses from High Country Roses, They are located in Colorado, they do sell some Hybrid Teas and Grandifloras (and some Austins) and most of their roses are own root. Even if you do not buy from them you can hit their website for ideas and a shopping list. There are also some great nurseries in Canada selling Kordes roses, some of which make some really nice cut flowers and are very hardy. Probably look at Palatine's and Pickering. Those two are located in Canada.

Oh, and Mary Rose (do you have that one? an Austin) makes for some really nice cut flowers with very good fragrance. Fragrance is probably the key thing for me. Also, Lady of Shalott is garnering good reports on Help Me Find as a winter hardy rose and a good cut flower, . Oh, and don't use those styrofoam cones. My neighbor used to use those and my sons called them the mice condos. Eeeek! Good fertilizing program spring through summer makes for a good root system to help carry the roses through the tough winter months.

Donna has a very lovely garden up there in Snowing-Right-Now-Land (Chicago) and can list what has been doing well for her.

This is my Lady of Shalott. Not the best photo as I was trying to show these little, tiny bugs that I thought were going to damage her. Turns out I could have sprayed for them, but Lady of Shalott did not seem to care and just went on pumping out flowers all summer long. It was the only photo I could find today.

Above all, have fun and let us know what you choose (photos?!?) so we can garden along with you. Good luck!

This message was edited Mar 6, 2013 4:00 PM

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Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Hi. I'm the Donna referred to above.

Honestly, I have never been able to overwinter a floribunda in the ground. I went through four Icebergs and four Crimson Bouquets. What I have been able to do is grow roses in pots and overwinter them in my garage. I found particularly beautiful upright roses and put them in pots.

The most important thing for you is, as the very wise Terri noted, buy own root roses.

The first rose is Enfant du France. Very amenable to container culture. Huge, scented flowers. It is a hybrid perpetual. Notice the beautiful trailing habit.

And Gruss an Aachen is another great rose for container culture. It is identified as a floribunda, but it really isn't. It is a betwixt and between rose. It blooms all season.

The only zone 4 roses I have grown are huge - Constance Spry (a David Austin) and Quadra, a Canadian Explorer. But that is not what you are lseeking. The others are polyanthas (Marie Pavie).

You could do the same thing. But I don't believe that leaving them in the ground is very practical. You would have to have them in a very sheltered part of your yard (do you have a nice microclimate) and you would have to protect them, at least up to the graft union, every winter by essentially burying them. I have taken zone 5 roses that tended to die back and done just that. It means piling up compost about 6-8 inches high, and then perhaps putting burlap around the top.

But if you really want to, you can do it! And come to think of it, polyanthas and floribundas are related, alhtough the flowers of polyanthas are smaller. Many of them are zone 4. And they bloom all season. I grow Marie Pavie. It was a Pickering recommendation for a white rose that would bloom all season and could take the cold. Bulletproof Disease proff. Zone 4 rated.

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Orillia/Barrie area, ON(Zone 4b)

Thank you Terri and Donna for your replies. I garden on a century old farm. Years ago I thought it would be fitting to plant antique roses. I absolutely love fragrance (lily of the valley, lilac, old roses etc.) so made up a list and ordered old roses. I also ordered something that was available at the time - Brownell hybrid tea roses. They were supposed to be very hardy in cold climates. I did everything right including putting styrofoam tops on them etc. but they died. The old roses survived but attracted with their fragrance rose chafers to the the garden. I had never seen chafers before. They are small brown insects and are attracted to fragrant roses. They are not destructive in themselves but in great numbers they land on and destroy every rose bud and blossom but they don't do lasting damage to the plant. They only last in my area for about 3 weeks in June. My conclusion is that if I let them have the fragrant once blooming roses in June then they won't bother my perpetually blooming hybrid teas and floribundas. I found and ebook on raising tender roses in cold climates. This fellow Doug Green, has laid it all out how you go about planting and caring for these roses. I am going to give his method a try this year and have ordered enough hybrid teas and floribundas to fill a 30 foot garden. I will keep you posted on my progress. I sure hope this works. Terri, I love the Mary rose. I have the Abraham Darby from Austin and it survives here without winter cover so will try the Mary rose and other Austin roses for sure.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

If you have a lot of space I can recommend a glorious zone 4 David Austin rose. It only blooms once but for at least six weeks, and the scent and flowers will take your breath away: Constance Spry. Austin's very first rose.

Huge flowers, and quick to mature. Very large in only three years. Healthy leaves. And for whatever reason the japanese beetles were not interested in it.

Thumbnail by DonnaMack Thumbnail by DonnaMack Thumbnail by DonnaMack Thumbnail by DonnaMack
Orillia/Barrie area, ON(Zone 4b)

Oh the Constance Spry is gorgeous. I find in my climate and conditions here that the Austin rose I have blooms late which is a bonus because the chafers are gone by the time it blooms. Thanks for the suggestion. It looks like you are growing really beautiful healthy roses in a cold climate. If my hybrid t's don't work out the rose bed will not go to waste.

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