Rose Basics, (613) 797 6257

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Galetta Rose Nurseries

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2018 season

rose growing information index

Basics of hardy roses
Roses are the most popular flower in the world -- there are over 30,000 varieties -- but if you live in the Ottawa Valley, you might be skeptical about growing roses in our harsh climate. Don’t be…just follow these easy steps.

Selecting the right hardy rose.

First, choose a rose that’s reliably hardy for your growing zone. Refer to our various plant information sheets below for descriptions of roses that are hardy in this area.

Roses in stock this year: what's in stock

Not-so-hardy roses: Hybrid Tea roses and Floribunda roses are gorgeous: they can survive in the Ottawa area, but they do require a lot more work to get through our winters. I don't sell these varieties because they won't grow here, but I do have some advice on them:

  • Non-hardy roses (tea roses, floribunda,....)

    Hardiness of roses.

    Hardiness is the biggest concern that most people have about roses. Over the years, I've chosen just those varieties that are reliably hardy in this area. The roses that were developed in Canada (the Explorer and Parkland and Canadian Artists roses) are particularly good for our severe climate, but there are also lots of others that do well. See our page about hardiness zones

  • What zone are you in??

    Grafted vs. own-root roses.

    Roses that are grown on their own roots survive much better than roses that are grafted. All of the roses I grow and sell are on their own roots: for more inforrmation, see:

    rose rootstocks


    Good, rich garden soil. Make the planting hole 2' deep by 2' wide and fill with good soil with lots of organic material (compost is great). I don't use peat moss, but a handful of bone meal is great scattered in the planting hole.

    Make sure that the planting hole has good drainage.

    For grafted roses (which I no longer sell), plant the rose so that the graft (the knob near the base of the plant) is covered: it should be planted 4" below ground level. For own-root roses, plant about 2" below ground level.

    For potted roses, you can plant anytime from April through September.

    A location with 6-8 hours a day of sun is critical to get good blooms; also try to get good air circulation around the rose bushes.


    A deep watering once a week: roses have deep roots. Avoid spraying the leaves.


    Organic is best: lots of compost, manure.

    I don't use chemical fertilizers in my rose beds, but they do work if you're careful. Don’t put too much nitrogen on your roses: you want flowers, not just leaves. STOP fertilizing August 1.


    Remove the dead flower heads ("deadhead") from the rose bush until September 1.

    I prefer spring pruning for most roses…but remove dead/diseased/damaged canes any time.

    Bugs and diseases. Clean up! Old dead leaves harbour diseases and insects.

    Bugs. First line of defence: prevention (clean-up, dormant oil in early spring). Second: manual control (squishing bugs). If you have really bad infestations, resort to chemicals. But don't just spray indiscriminately, because you may kill some of the helpful bugs as well. Remember this rhyme:

    Big bugs have little bugs

    Upon their backs to bite ‘em.

    Little bugs have littler bugs,

    And so on, ad infinitum.

    Fungal diseases. Prevention first! Clean up, then spray with lime sulphur early spring. Try "Brooklyn mixture": to 1 litre of water, add 5 ml. of baking soda and 10 ml. of horticultural oil…spray every week as a preventive measure.

    Winter care.

    Stable winter temperature is critical: make sure roses have lots of snow cover. Othre than that, my hardy roses don't get any special winter care.

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