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Can I grow roses successfully in Florida? Absolutely!
Here are some tips from the Consulting Rosarians in the Bradenton-Sarasota Rose Society.

Picking out your rose bushes:

In Florida we are able to grow roses all year long. Selecting roses grown on Fortuniana rootstock will provide excellent results. Roses grafted on Dr. Huey rootstock are also quite acceptable, and some like "own-root" roses. You will find all your favorite roses in Florida, but some grow better than others.

For a current list of successful roses, as well as images, visit Our Favorite Roses or send us an e-mail at: To get you started, some of our favorites, including the rose classification and color, include:

Selecting your site:

Roses need sun. They prefer 6 to 8 hours per day. Roses don't like "wet feet" or wet roots, so plenty of drainage is important. If your soil doesn't drain well, we suggest using large pots or building a raised bed. You should plant roses leaving 4 to 5 feet between each plant. This will improve air circulation and reduce any problems with fungus.

Planting your roses:

Spring and fall are the best times to plant new roses in Florida. There are many ways to prepare the soil for roses, but the following is a good way to get started:

Start by digging a hole about 2 feet deep and equally as wide. Place a small handful of Super Phosphate in a corner of the hole. Don't try to mix it in with the mixture in the next step. Next, begin to fill the hole with the rose in the center followed by a mix of the following:

1/2 Good Top Soil     1/4 Peat Moss     1/4 Perlite

Set the rose so that the "bud union" (the big ball that the canes come from) is about 2 to 4 inches above the soil line. The higher the better (this is different in Florida). Pack the bottom and the sides with the mix, water well and tamp it in solidly. Be sure to pick up the four items while still at the garden center.

Watering your roses:

Once planted, water your roses daily for the first week. After the first week make sure your roses get about 2inches of water a week. It is probably best to water every other day if our rain doesn't do it for you.

Protecting the roses:

In order to hold the moisture created by watering or rain, you will want to put mulch over the soil. A good 2 to 3 inches of mulch will help the new roses get started, Again, try to keep the bud union higher than the top of the mulch. The mulch not only holds the moisture but protects the shallow roots from the heat. Roses should be fertilized monthly with a good rose fertilizer.
Roses should be sprayed for fungus (especially black spot) according to the directions on the bottle.
Roses need only be sprayed for insects when you observe them on your plants. Talk to your garden center to find the best fertilizers and sprays for your area. Always wear protective clothing, gloves and a mask when spraying.

Testing the soil:

As you develop the garden you will want to obtain a soil test to assure your roses are getting the right nourishment. Incorrect pH levels keep the fertilizer from doing its job. The members of BSRS will help you with this task.

Pruning Roses:

In Florida we typically prune roses two times per year. The major pruning takes place in late February. The Bradenton-Sarasota Rose Society program in the month of February is a pruning workshop conducted at the home of one of our Consulting Rosarians. The group learns how to prune all types of roses. The February pruning will reduce the size of the bushes by about 1/2. Having the correct tools and knowing where to cut is taught to the BSRS members. The second pruning usually takes place in late summer and is used to reduce summer overgrowth. This pruning only reduces the bushes by 1/3.


Enjoying your roses:

Following the above steps will provide many enjoyable hours of gardening.

Most Rosarians grow roses for one or a combination of three reasons:
  1. To create a beautiful garden for enjoyment of family and friends.
  2. To produce cut roses that can beautify the home.
  3. Growing winning roses and participating in local rose shows.
Members of the Bradenton-Sarasota Rose Society are a mix of all three interest groups and enjoy sharing experiences and helping each other learn how to produce the worlds' most beautiful flower - the ROSE. Join us for one of our programs. Check out the calendar of events or Contact us by e-mail at for dates.

This Page Last Updated : 12/1/2007