Introduction To Roses

Welcome to the world of roses. These “Queen of the Flowers” pack the sentimental feelings, exquisite beauty, and lofty scent into one sweet bloom. They can become an obsession. We should know.

But before you jump headfirst into creating your own rose garden, it’s a good idea to learn a bit about the plant first. How much you want to learn is up to you! We’re just here to guide you through the planning and care of your Heirloom Roses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Roses are very forgiving and hardy plants, perfect for any new gardener and cherished by master gardeners alike.

Roses have just a few simple needs:

  1. Full sun, at least 6 hrs/day for most
  2. Average garden soil
  3. Annual rainfall, supplemented in summer with about 1 in/water per week
  4. Good drainage
  5. Fertilizer during the growing season

That’s it. If you have sun, space, and a watering hose ... you can do this!

Yes! Roses love the company of other garden companions. Lavender, pansies, foxglove, delphiniums, catmint, and poppies are just a few that can be grown with roses. Try to avoid bulbs that have to be removed or replanted each year.

Yes! Roses love to eat. Our Founder's Fish Fertilizer is one of our top recommended products for beginner-experienced gardeners alike due to it's rich mineral content and ability to supercharge a rose's health.

If you plant your rose in the fall, wait until spring to begin fertilizing. If you plant in the spring or summer, begin fertilizing about one month after planting and continue every 4-6 weeks. Make sure your last fertilizer application is 6-8 weeks before the first fall frost so that the roses may harden off for winter in preparation for dormancy. In the second year, you may continue to use a liquid fish fertilizer at full strength or begin to use a granular fertilizer like Heirloom Boost and Bloom per instructions. In the third year, you can use granular fertilizer and use all fertilizers at full strength.

Yes! This is a great solution for gardening in a small space, on a patio or balcony, or for gardeners with mobility issues. Most roses, except for large Climbers and Ramblers, can be grown successfully in containers. We suggest using a 10- to 15-gallon pot which will provide a nice home for any rose. Make sure your pot has holes in the bottom for drainage then place an inch or so of gravel in the bottom of the pot. You want to plant in 1/3 topsoil, 1/3 peat moss or other organic materials, and 1/3 Perlite. Start fertilizing roses once a month with a water-soluble type of fertilizer the first season. Water regularly and deeply, as containers will dry out faster than roses planted in the ground. Do not use a black pot as it attracts heat and will be too hot for the roots.

How Do I Plant a Rose Bush?

Click here to download and print your copy of Heirloom Roses Planting Instructions.



  • Find a spot with at least 6 hours of sun per day and good drainage.
  • Be sure your location is at least 3-4 feet away from other plants. Large shrubs or ramblers need about 6-8 feet of space.


  • Remove rose from container. Use soil mix from step 2 to plant rose in the center of the hole about 1” deeper that the soil line in the pot. DO NOT use granular fertilizer the first year as it may burn the roots and kill the rose
  • If planting in a pot, be sure your selected rose is suitable for it first.


  • Dig a hole that is at least 24” wide and 24” deep.
  • Remove the soil from the hole and mix with organic potting soil that DOES NOT contain granular fertilizer. Amend with peat moss, Heirloom Roses Aged Cow Manure and bone meal per package instructions.


  • Roses love water, but hate wet feet. Give them at least 1”-2” or the depth of a tuna can of water per week throughout the growing season.
  • Newly planted roses should be watered 2-3 times per week until established. Water at the base, not overhead to discourage potential disease.


Click here to download and print your copy of Heirloom Roses Planting Instructions.

Recommended Products For Success

Ensuring the prosperity of their rose plants is a key goal for many gardeners, motivating them to take every necessary step to nurture their growth.

Below is a collection of products that we recommend for beginner-advanced gardeners to help increase their success growing roses.

What Types of Roses Are There?

Roses are a diverse species of plant that grow in all corners of the world - in forests, along coastlines, and even high mountain elevations. This durable shrub belongs to the genus Rosa and can be divided into three main categories:

  • Species roses
  • Garden roses or Heirloom roses
  • Modern roses

    Within these three categories, there are at least 20 different classifications that group roses according to similar characteristics such as cold hardiness, disease resistance, growth habit, color selection, and size. If you know all the details about a particular rose, it will make it much easier to choose the perfect rose for your specific garden. At Heirloom Roses, we can help you find this custom-tailored rose suited just for your space, needs, and climate.

    Species Roses (Rosa moschata) are the way nature made them - wild and free. They form thickets and produce wonderfully colored rose hips in the fall. They typically have single flowers with 5 petals and bloom once.

    Old Garden roses or Heirloom roses predate 1867 and are tough, durable shrubs that are more fragrant than Modern roses. Most are once-blooming, grow quite large, and tolerate a hard pruning every few years. They are divided up into different classes including: Alba, Centifolias, Damask, Gallicas, Tea, and Moss roses. Learn more about Heirloom roses here.

    Modern roses are almost always repeat bloomers and come in every color except blue. They have large, beautiful flowers but sometimes lack the strong fragrance of an Old Garden rose. Modern growers are breeding new varieties with Old Garden roses to reintroduce fragrance and disease resistance. Modern roses include:

  • Large, flowered Climbers (up to 8-15 ft high)
  • Climbing sports (taller varieties of shrubs)
  • Hybrid Teas (single stemmed upright canes, 3-6 ft tall)
  • Floribundas (large clusters on a compact plant; good for containers)
  • Grandifloras (large stems of single or clusters, hardy, up to 7 ft tall)
  • Shrubs (hardy, easy care plant that doesn’t fit into another category)
  • Miniatures (range from 3 in to 2 ft; flowers, stems and leaves are all petite)

    Once you have determined where you will put your rose in the garden and made sure you have well-draining soil, it’s time to choose your rose. The best place to start is to ask “what matters most” to you? Make your list. Is it scent, a repeat bloomer, height, color, clustered blooms, or disease-resistance? Then use our Shopping Options toolbar to narrow down your choices and read reviews. Our head gardener has thoroughly vetted each and every rose we carry, and we grow them in our own gardens at home. So we can say confidently that you really can’t make a wrong choice. You can do this and we are here to help. Happy gardening!