The Best Time to Plant Roses in Texas

Roses are a timeless symbol of love and beauty, often associated with Valentine’s Day. Whether they are used to brighten someone’s day or enhance the aesthetics of a garden, roses are a classic choice. If you’re interested in growing roses in Texas, here are some valuable tips and recommended varieties to consider.

Roses of All Kinds

Roses have been cultivated in landscapes for centuries, boasting a wide array of shapes, sizes, and colors. From shrub types to climbers, ground covers, and even roses with green flowers, the variety is endless. It is believed that roses were originally brought to the New World by Spanish missionaries, first to Mexico and then spreading to the United States. Today, they continue to captivate gardeners with their beauty and charm.

Growing Tips for Roses

To ensure successful rose cultivation, it is essential to provide them with the right conditions. Roses thrive when grown in full sun and well-amended soil with good drainage. A raised flower bed enriched with organic matter is an ideal choice. Starting with healthy soil will minimize the need for excessive fertilization later on. Additionally, newly-planted roses should be watered about twice a week during their first growing season, while a layer of mulch helps retain moisture effectively.

Timing Matters

Mid-February is an excellent time to plant roses in Texas. Local nurseries typically offer a wide selection of roses during this period, making it a convenient time to find the perfect varieties for your garden. Moreover, mid-February is also the optimal time to prune most roses. By pruning shrub roses back to 4 to 6-inch stubs, you can clean out any deadwood and prevent disease. However, it’s important to exercise caution and avoid pruning climbing roses such as Seven Sisters or Lady Banks roses at this time. Since these roses only bloom in the spring, pruning them now would result in the loss of all their blooms for the year. Instead, wait until after they have finished flowering to prune them.

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Hardy Roses for Texas

Although roses are often considered delicate plants, there are several varieties that thrive effortlessly in the Lone Star State. These roses are hardy, disease-resistant, and well-suited to the Texas climate. Here are a few recommended varieties:

  1. Belinda’s Dream: This tough shrub rose, bred at Texas A&M University, produces large, fragrant pink flowers that bloom continuously throughout the season. It is a personal favorite and has been designated as a “Texas Superstar” plant.

  2. Sea Foam: An elegant climbing rose, Sea Foam produces double white flowers that repeat in spring, summer, and fall. Once established, this rose is quite resilient and requires a trellis or support for proper growth.

  3. Cecile Bruner: Known as the “sweetheart rose,” this shrub rose features small, perfectly-formed pink double-ruffle flowers with a strong fragrance. Blooming in waves throughout the season, clusters of these flowers adorn the plant.

  4. Red Cascade: A true rambling rose, Red Cascade produces small deep red flowers all summer long, making it a picturesque addition to hanging baskets.

  5. Caldwell Pink: This well-mannered shrub rose showcases button-type, small pink flowers. Mature plants reach around 3 feet in height and width, rarely ceasing to bloom.

  6. Drift roses: Ideal for ground covers, Drift roses offer a wide range of flower colors, from red to peach. They bloom most profusely in spring and fall.

  7. Mutabilis: Also referred to as the butterfly rose, Mutabilis is an impressive plant that can reach heights of 8 feet and widths nearly as expansive. Its flowers start yellow, change to pink, and eventually transform into crimson, often displaying all three colors at once.

  8. Knockout Roses: These modern roses are renowned for their disease resistance and continuous bloom throughout the season. Available in various colors, one standout variety is the open-face white flower called “Whiteout.” All Knockout roses possess a delightful light fragrance.

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Yellow Rose

These recommended roses are resilient, disease-resistant, and can withstand periods of drought once established. By deadheading, or removing old blooms, you can promote continuous flowering. For more information on suitable roses for Texas, visit the Ames Farm Center.

The Challenge of Rose Rosette

One disease of concern for rose growers in Texas is “rose rosette,” which is fatal for roses. This disease is spread by a tiny bud mite, and unfortunately, there is currently no treatment available. If a rose is infected with rose rosette, it is recommended to remove the affected plant immediately. Although this disease has been present since the 1940s and can affect any rose variety, it is not prevalent enough to deter rose enthusiasts from growing these beautiful flowers. Even if you need to remove a plant, you can replant a new rose in the same spot just seven days later, and it can thrive. Roses are resilient workhorses in our gardens and should always be considered when possible. The threat of this disease should not dissuade us from finding a place for roses in our gardens.

In conclusion, roses are wonderful plants that can add beauty and elegance to any garden. With proper care and suitable varieties, they can flourish in the Texas climate. So get ready, because spring is just around the corner! Happy gardening!

Drew Demler, Director of Horticulture at the State Fair of Texas