Roses Planting & Care

Pre-planting Roses

All roses should be planted in well-drained topsoil.

Pre-planting Instructions

Take care to prevent windburn to plants during transport by covering them well. Keep plants cool, in a shady area, and well watered until they are planted. Cover the root ball of balled and bur lapped trees to prevent root drying.


Soil Preparation

All roses should be planted in well-drained topsoil. If there is less than 20 cm. of topsoil in the planting area additional topsoil should be added. As you dig a hole separate the topsoil from the heavy subsoil. Discard the subsoil and replace it with rich topsoil. Do not pull heavy subsoil in around a plant as backfill. Add one part peat moss or prepared soil mix to three parts soil that you have dug from the planting hole. If, after digging a hole, you find the subsoil to be excessively heavy, having a high clay content; dig the hole down an additional 15-30 cm. (6-12 in.). Fill this space with clean sand or gravel to enhance the subsoil drainage conditions.

About Roses

Perennials can be planted anytime from spring to fall. If the ground can be worked you can plant.

The colour Languages of Roses

  • Red - Love
  • Pink - Grace / Gratitude
  • White - Worthiness / Purity
  • Yellow - Jealousy

growing roses

It is a common misconception that rose gardening is the domain of expert gardeners. With a large variety of types and growth habits, a rose bush can add colour and fragrance to almost any garden. Many roses can survive Calgary's harsh winter climate with little more care than a flowering shrub or perennial, while other more tender varieties need winter protection. There are two main classifications that will be used for the purpose of Calgary rose gardening - hardy shrub roses and tender roses. greengate carries a large variety of roses, both hardy and tender. Please feel free to consult our helpful greengate staff if you have any rose questions.


Hardy shrub roses

These easily grown Calgary favorites are suited to novice and expert gardeners alike. Those who want summer roses without the winterization needed by tender roses find these to be an excellent option. For those gardeners who want decorative hedges and borders, these roses with their shrub-like growth habit are often ideal.


Explorer rose

Developed in Canada and named for early Canadian explorers, these disease resistant hybrids bloom prolifically on new growth. Many varieties bloom all summer, with others blooming twice, in early and later summer.


Parkland rose

Developed in Manitoba expressly to survive through Canada's winter, these compact shrub roses will bloom and re-bloom throughout the summer.


Rugosa and other shrub roses

These roses are vigorous and hardy with very prickly stems. They come in a large variety of colours and are usually fragrant. These plants are good for hedges and garden beds.


Climbing roses

True climbing roses do not do well in the Calgary climate. There are however, some tall hardy shrub roses that can be trained to climb a trellis or a fence.


Tender roses

Tender roses are those roses that require protection to ensure survival. The huge variety of bloom sizes and colours make these tender roses a beautiful addition to many Calgary gardens.


Hybrid tea roses

These garden favorites feature large flowers on long stems, with usually one flower per stem. They make excellent cut flowers and come in many varieties and multiple colours.


Floribunda rose

Large quantities of smaller flowers are presented in clusters on these bushy plants. With their shrub-like growth habit and abundance of flowers, floribundas are an excellent choice for garden beds and border plants.


Grandiflora rose

This combination of hybrid tea and floribunda roses produces large vigorous plants, and flowers on long stems. Flowers on grandiflora are present both singly and in clusters. They make good cut flowers.


Miniature roses

These perfect, scaled down versions of hybrid tea and floribunda roses come in a stunning variety of colours. These miniatures will bloom continually throughout the summer and can be grown both in and outdoors.

Rose Care and Growing Tips

Spent flowers on perennial plants should be removed, or deadheaded, to encourage flower production.

rose gardening tips

When gardeners come to us asking for suggestions for plants that bloom most of the summer, are bright and cheery, and need little attention, it seems that the rose has been overlooked as a very viable and beautiful addition to your garden. There have been so many great roses that have come out in the past few years that are just wonderful - like the Hope for Humanity rose, a true deep red hardy shrub rose, the Campfire Hardy shrub rose with its full summer long and multicoloured blooms, and the Olds College commemorative hardy shrub rose.

rose gardening tips

You may wonder why we are including roses to our July newsletter and that's because roses are a perfect addition to a late summer garden even though they look like they are almost done blooming right now. The answer: there's a second season of rose blossoms just around the corner. Try not to miss it.

Many roses have a spring and a late summer bloom period, so when you are looking for the perfect addition to beautify your garden in summer, it is the rose.

Roses generally bloom best in June and early July, but as evening temperatures start to drop and days become shorter in the late summer and even into the early fall, a second bloom is triggered and rose bush shows us why it's the queen of the garden. Often, these blooms last longer than the spring editions for exactly the same reasons that make them bloom a second time: shorter days and cooler evenings.

Finding and Growing the Perfect Rose

1. Your vision.

Pick roses that suit your garden. There are many heights and colours to choose from. Use height in semi climbers like the John Cabot, use smaller rose like the Campfire to nestle in along edges.

2. Work or no work.

Most hardy shrub roses can survive with little to no work, spraying or covering. So, they have that going for them. If you are looking for more fragrance and a more formal rose garden look go for tea roses, but know that they will need more care and certainly they will need winter protection and some awareness on their progress come spring.

3. See your yard as a canvas.

Where can you fill in with roses? Imagine them in their most mature state. Will they fit? Choose roses that are the right size. If you have more room can you mass plant a single variety or will a cluster of different roses be more to your liking? Look at other yards. Do they have mass plantings of roses? If they do, then you know they are low maintenance and great performers.

4. Roses like sunny locations

so fit them in where they love it. Sunshine is the one essential ingredient for growing roses. Use a minimum of six hours a day. Or forget it.

5. Go with Canadian grown.

Roses are excellent examples of why it is a good idea to buy locally. Canadian grown roses have already experienced two Canadian winters. You can find roses that are grown in the U.S. Sometimes they can be cheaper. Yet the quality of a Canadian rose bush over an American grown is that the latter is prone to dying through our winters.

Keep in mind our selection will become less as summer progresses so your best chance to get a rose you really want becomes a little more difficult the longer you wait.

If you're thinking about getting something new and exciting. Think about going a little old school on your garden scheme and consider planting roses.

growing roses


Roses are heavy feeders that require water at all times during the growing season. A lack of moisture will slow or halt blooming and growth. It is important that the soil has good drainage and that water never collects around the roots of roses.


- Allow the soil to become dry only a little below the surface


Water deeply at the base of the plants but not enough to allow water to collect for any length of time.


- Mulch may be added to increase moisture retention in hot, dry weather.

Deadheading for flowering

As your rose blooms whither they should be removed from the stem. Remove head at a shoot or leaf junction to encourage further flowering



Pruning roses

  1. Use clean, sharp tools. Ensure your cuts are clean and not jagged..
  2. Prune from the base of the plant upwards Keeping stock of the roses overall shape..
  3. Open the centre of the plant to light and air circulation..
  4. Cut at a 45-degree angle, about 1/4 inch above a bud that is facing toward the outside of the plant..
  5. Remove all broken, dead, dying or diseased wood. This includes any branches that look dry, shriveled or black. Cut down the stem until the inside of the cane is white..
  6. Any weak branches thinner than a pen should be removed..
  7. Remove sucker growth below the graft.


Roses benefit from regular fertilizing, such as 20-20-20, 15-30-15 or 20-30-20. Fertilize only until about the middle of August. Later fertilizing stimulates new growth, which could be harmed by early frost. Fertilizer does not make roses (or any flower) bloom. They bloom when they receive enough sunlight, although some will stop blooming in very hot weather.


Winter protection for tender roses

  1. Prune long stems down to about twelve to eighteen inches (45 cm.)
  2. Water in well
  3. Mulch heavily at base with dry leaves, vermiculite or straw
  4. Cover stems with a rose cone with the top cut out.
  5. Fill container with mulch, and cover the open area with cloth to allow air circulation during chinooks.
  6. Do not cover too soon in the fall. Wait until considerable frost is expected. Covering too soon stops them from getting cold and entering dormancy, which is necessary for their survival.
  7. Uncover in spring when poplar trees are leafing out. Uncovering them too soon to see if they are alive is likely to kill them during another frost. Be prepared to cover them when frost is expected.

Note: Snow is an excellent insulator and may be piled on both shrub and covered tea roses for added moisture and protection.