Rose: The Queen Of All Flowers

2 comments Jun 20, 2024


By Veronica


Roses are amongst the most beloved and prized flowers. In the garden or a vase, they distinguish themselves by their outstanding features: abundant flowers, perfume… From the elegant hybrid teas to the free-flowering floribundas, from loose hedges to containers, you can find a rose for any position in the garden. And, with a little bit of love and care, they will reward you with flowers for months on end.


Roses for containers

Roses can be grown in containers but bear in mind that these beauties are hungry and thirsty plants so you will need a large container and they will require much more minding in a pot than they would in the open ground. Some roses, however, will perform better than others and would be preferred for this setting. Compact, repeat flowering, highly scented and disease resistance are some of the features you might look at when choosing a rose for a pot.

The patio roses are the most compact and they boast a long flowering season. Flowers are typically smaller but abundant. If scent is what you are after, ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ from David Austin cannot be overlooked. This stunning rose is a real favourite, not only for the quality of its large, pink, rosette-shaped flowers, but for its strong, Old Rose perfume.

Gertrude Jekyll by 掬茶, CC BY-SA 4.0 

‘Nostalgia’, on another hand bears cream flowers with a red edge that exhale a sweet fragrance. It is also available in standard form for elegant planting combinations in pots. It looks stunning, when underplanted with a selection of trailing and upright bedding such as lysimachia and nemesia.

Rosa Nostalgia by Dominicus Johannes BergsmaCC BY-SA 4.0 

Carpet roses are near disease resistant and therefore are a great choice for pots. They are very free-flowering and less demanding than most varieties so definitely worth a try.

As for climbing roses, smaller varieties will be more suitable and rambling roses should be avoided as they grow into large plants. ‘Strawberry Hill’ (from David Austin) will make a great addition in sunny corner. It will still reach a height of 3 m, perfect for an arch or a large obelisk.

'Strawberry Hill' Rose, Photo by Thomas Curryer on Unsplash

In general, choose a pot of 60cm x 60cm preferably (although carpet roses and patio roses can be grown in a slightly smaller container). The quality of the compost used is just as important. John Innes no 3 with a bit of multipurpose compost is the ideal mix to keep your plants healthy. You may also add slow-release fertiliser to your mix. Keep your roses well-watered throughout the season and feed every 2 weeks with a balanced fertiliser. We do recommend seaweed feed as it contains micro elements such as copper to prevent fungal diseases.


Best varieties for cut flowers

Hybrid teas are certainly the most highly regarded varieties when it comes to bouquets. The large and elegant blooms are unrivalled. You may prefer unscented or lightly scented flowers to decorate your table to not overwhelm your senses while eating. Varieties with a strong perfume will welcome you or your hosts in fragrant bouquets at your entrance.

The choice of colour is extensive from the purity of the whites to the rich reds. If you cannot make up your mind, try some two-toned variety. Just like ‘Nostalgia’, ‘Peace’ has a sweet scent. The pale-yellow flowers with soft pink edges are simply ravishing and perfect in a cottage style garden. Or make a statement with the quintessential ‘Ingrid Bergman’ rose and its perfectly shaped, bright red, velvety blooms.

Ingrid Bergman rose by 

As for luxurious blooms, David Autin roses are unbeatable. The flowers are large and full and their colours are magnificent. If you can have only one rose, let it be a David Austin! Be charmed by the soft orange tones of the ‘Roald Dahl’ or the vibrant orange-red ‘Summer Song’. These warm shades lift up any planting scheme, giving it an Indian summer feel. ‘Tranquility’ is perfect in more classic schemes, thanks to its pure white flowers, and its light scent makes it ideal for table décor.

Rosa 'Summer Song' by T.KiyaCC BY-SA 2.0 


Roses for Shade

Roses do prefer sunny areas; they will flower more, and their perfume will be stronger. Some roses, however, will still perform well with only 4 hours of sun a day as long as it is not in the early morning or late afternoon, as the sun would not be strong enough then to make up for the lack of it during the day.

Carpet roses and Rosa Rugosa are ideal for this kind of setting. There is not much scent from these, unfortunately, but abundant flowers that are also attractive to pollinators. These varieties are also perfectly suited for hedging and come in an array of colours.

Carpet rose hedge by Anthony Tesselaar, CC BY 3.0 


For showy flowers, try ‘Susan Williams-Ellis’, this disease-free variety will brighten up any dull corner with its large, white flowers. Light coloured flowers are, indeed, a better choice in shade as they stand out. ‘Emily Brontë is particularly pretty if you prefer to stay away from the whites. Its blooms are pale pinkish apricot with a strong old rose perfume.

Rosa Emily Brontë by Geolina163CC BY-SA 4.

To dress a north-facing wall, a few varieties can be considered. ‘Iceberg’ is a reliable climber with medium to large, pure white flowers. ‘Golden Showers’ is free-flowering and will keep producing golden yellow flowers, almost continuously, from early-summer to mid-autumn. In the pinks, ‘Zephirine Drouhin’ and ‘New Dawn’ are both spectacular when in flower. The first is larger, up to 4m high and both boast a strong fragrance.


Climbing rose 'Iceberg' by 

Growing tips

Success with roses relies on a few good practices, most of them designed to prevent fungus and promote flowering.

  • Good sun exposure: the more sun the better!
  • Good soil: roses perform best in rich and moist soil. Add dry fertiliser in the compost when planting or potting up (this can be seaweed, Organic Rose & shrub feed with mycorrhiza fungi or Top Rose).
  • Water regularly at the base of the plant. Avoid watering the foliage as this can induce or aggravate powdery mildew and black spot.
  • Feed regularly: feed every two weeks with seaweed. Strong, well-fed plants are best equipped to fight pests and diseases.
  • Pruning: Roses must be pruned every year. This can be done in Autumn or late winter/Early Spring. In general, cut back by one third, remove all dead, diseased or very thin stems. Remove branches growing towards the centre of the plant to improve air circulation and remove all remaining foliage as pests and disease spores can lay dormant over winter. During the season, keep deadheading your roses to promote further re-flowering.

Following these few steps should give you a myriad of flowers on strong healthy plants!


  • Mary MULCAHY July 4, 2024 at 8:42 am

    This information is really informative, and I appreciate it. Thank you.

  • Yvette Soraghan July 4, 2024 at 8:42 am

    Great tips will put them to use as I have many rose bushes I have bought from Windyridge. I buy all my plants from your beautiful garden centre Y

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