Care For Climbing Rose Bushes

climbing roses require Patience

What images come to mind when you think of climbing roses? A cottage tucked away in rural England, covered with blooming vines? Perhaps an old prestigious university with one of the lecture halls bedecked in this regalia? Or do you see a trellis of flowering climbing roses as an arch while the bride and groom exchange vows in a wonderful garden wedding ceremony?

Whether it’s any of these or another, no one can certainly fault you for including climbing roses in your personal garden. The secret to raising climbing roses though can be summed up in a single word: patience.

That’s right! You see this particular variety of rose may take several years to reach maturity. You may get frustrated by this, because very often the climbing rose is also placed and designed to be the “centerpiece” if you will of the garden, one of the key elements.

To start with, you want to make sure that you’re starting out with the best possible choice. To that end, five factors exist that you must give careful consideration to. They are size, shade tolerance, disease, resistance, rebloom and basic aesthetics, in other words, color, fragrance, and any other personal preferences.

What about size?

large climbing rose climbing rose large : photo by James Insell

How much room do you have? That’s not a flippant answer to the question. I ask that only to get you to think about the space limitations, if any, with which you’re working.

Do you want a very large climbing plant, one that will climb upwards of 30 feet? Or are you looking for a smaller, more delicate version of a climber to grace the door to your garden?

A common mistake among novice rose growers is to chose the climbing rose they love, and darn the size. They seem to have the mistaken impression that if the plant really wants to grow 20 or more feet, they merely have to cut it back to fit the five-foot area they have planned out for it.

Nothing could be further from the truth. You see, in many ways, roses like this one have minds of their own. For one thing, you’ll find that you’re nearly always pruning the poor plant, which in the end may only cause it fatal injury.

For example, I knew a person who once really only wanted a climbing rose that would climb a maximum of eight feet. But she chose a rose called the

Climbing Cecile Brunner
Cecile Brunner by Malcolm Manners

Climbing Cecile Brunner. As soon as she told me what she did, I realized she was in trouble with it.

The Brunner is known to climb tall and aggressively. Let’s just say that the Brunner has been accused of tearing the front porches off of houses with its large and overwhelming mass.

After a year of battling that monster of a climber, she realized her mistake. The following year she bought a Blush Noisette that fit her space perfectly. Unfortunately, she was never able to view the Brunner with the initial love that she felt before she purchased one of her own.

I’d hate for you to have an experience like that. Not only is it frustrating, but it’s disappointing to think your passion for a particular rose would be quashed like that.

Made in the shade.

Rose tree
photo Rose tree by T.Kiya from Japan

Yes, we’ve established earlier that roses like the sun — at least six hours of sunlight a day (I can see them now in a chaise, with the sunglasses on lounging along a beach!).

After you’ve determined the size you have available to allot to your chosen love, seriously consider how much sunlight the area receives. Don’t rule the area out immediately just because it may get some shade. Some climbing roses thrive in partial shade.

Some climbers, especially those that produce white, light pink, and light yellow roses can tolerate more shade than those plants which produce brighter and stronger colors (reds, oranges, and the like).

In fact, just about the majority of the Hybrid Musk Roses, which can occupy a space as small as six to 10 feet — are capable of withstanding up to half a day of shade. The particular varieties in this category include Buff Beauty,

Rosa Lavender Lassie
Rosa Lavender Lassie photo by Salicyna

Lavender Lassie, Kathleen, and Cornelia.

Again, don’t go knocking your head against that brick wall by trying to fill shaded space with a plant that needs sun and vice versa.


Madame Alfred Carriere climbing roses
Madame Alfred Carriere climbing roses in the shade

When choosing a climbing rose, the degree of its disease resistance is probably a more important consideration than with the lower-lying plants. Why? Are you really going to climb 10, 15, or 25 feet above the ground just to spray your plant to rid him of disease?

Give this some thought (you might not have thought this factor through completely yet). Not only would it be more difficult to apply any disease killing materials, but it would be nearly impossible to visually check the plant’s health status, as you do with other plants and roses in your garden.

So, it’s of vital importance that you begin with a plant that is hardy. Roses growing along a wall, by the way, receive less air circulation which opens them up to greater risks of disease. Roses growing in the shade may also experience more health problems.

Similarly, roses growing on a chain-link fence or on top of a trellis getting that full sun won’t experience nearly the number of fungal problems than roses on a north wall.

If you’re bound and determined to place your roses in a shaded area (it’s the only available area, which is more likely the case) then consider choosing one of the Noisettes, like the Madame Alfred Carriere. While these roses may not be extremely resistant to illness while young, they seem to acquire that trait as they get older.

Bloom and bloom again?

Felicite et Perpetue
Felicite et Perpetue photo by A. Barra

Now that you have those issues resolved, well, at least you’re thinking about them — let’s tackle yet another topic: the rebloom factor. Many climbing roses — especially the old Ramblers (the roses, not the cars!) bloom only once. They bloom in the springs. Other climbers, though, bloom from spring through fall.

Rambler Roses
Rambler Roses

If your climbing rose is taking center stage in a small flower garden, then you’ll want a flower that’s going to last for more than just a month or so.

On the other hand, if it’s going to be among an ensemble cast of a group of one-time bloomers, then that becomes less of an issue. If you’re looking for a single bloomer than, think of the Belle of Portugal, Kiftsgate,

lady banks rose
lady banks rose

Lady Banks or even Felicite et Perpetue. These once-blooming plants put more energy into vertical growth and far less into the flower itself.

There are some large climbers which are repeat bloomers, like the white Sombreuil. This plant, which can climb to more than 25 feet, is also quite healthy. You’ll be pleased with its rate of blooming if you provide it with enough water, fertilizer, and sunlight.


Finally, that brings us to color. And of course, that’s purely a matter of individual taste. I’m sure you’ll find some color that complements the other flowers you have in mind. Or, you could possibly choose the color of the roses, and pattern your garden around them. Yeah! Roses deserve that consideration, now don’t they?

Related How To article: 3 Methods to Plant a Climbing Rose

Standard Tree Roses

Please watch this 2:28 video with some very good info.

Sounds like an oxymoron? Think of the rose, your mind wanders to shrubs, bushes, climbing plants, even miniature blooms of grand beauty. But a tree?

Indeed, a tree! Think about it. Imagine your yard with a rose tree or two or more! Majestically imposing its presence throughout your land. You’d feel like royalty over your tract.

Standard Tree Roses

Perhaps you haven’t heard them referred to as rose trees, maybe you’re more familiar with them being called rose standards or standard tree roses. These plants have purposely been cultivated to resemble a tree.

Rose tree
photo Rose tree by T.Kiya from Japan
The physical appearance of the tree consists of a long, slender cane approximately three feet in height. This cane (you can for the moment consider it a trunk that has no foliage, like the trunk of a tree. It’s from this trunk that the rich abundance of rose flowers burst forth.
Created by Grafting

T grafting or T budding
T grafting. Photo from sv Anvandare Chrizz
T grafting or T budding. The tree is created by grafting two pieces of other roses to it. First, a graft is made at the top of the central cane to support the hybrid tree. Then a second graft is made at the rootstock or the bottom of the plant.

This creates a unique plant that more than one person has commented to make it look similar to a “lollipop.” In order that the central core can actually handle the weight of the grafted rose on its top, it’s usually staked. While normally this isn’t a problem, be careful if you’re planning on planting this tree in a windy area. It’s even more important then that you stake it.


Another important aspect to think about is the amount of sunlight this plant receives. This may sound strange because we talk about how much roses love the sound, but the large cane-trunk itself is quite susceptible to the sun. So much so, in fact, that some have actually suffered sunscald.

Winter Care

But summer is just one season, now isn’t it? How does this plant stand up against the winter weather? It indeed can, but you need to give it some care. The rose tree requires mulching the entire length of the cane. You can do this by physically relocating the plant during the winter months, or if you’re clever (or you know someone clever) creating a container of wire mesh to surround the cane and then fill this mesh container with mulch.

Care of Pruning

rose pruning
rose pruning needs to be done properly

You should also take into consideration the seasonal care this plant needs. Rosarians who choose this variety need to be diligent in pruning in order to receive just the right look. But don’t ever prune the center cane, the trunk. Just the flowering upper portion of the plant.

Just exactly how you prune depends on the type of rose sitting up there. You also should be aware that if you don’t prune it properly, you may accidentally create an uneven distribution of weight. That stress may easily break the stems. The other consequence of improperly pruned plants is the increased risk of disease.

Different species of trees?

It seems that increasingly commercial rose growers are trying their hands at providing rosarians with several species of rose trees. One of the most recent entries to this is called the double-decker rose true. It produces two layers of flowers. The first is on the top of the rose, as you would expect with a normal rose tree. The second layer, though, lies closer to the grand.

How to Prune Your Standard Rose video. (3:38 min.)

Related How To article: How to Prune Tree Roses

How To Prepare Soil For Plants

“Essentially, all life depends upon the soil…There can be no life without soil and no soil without life, they have evolved together” Charles Kellogg

The best way to get to know your soil is to dig a narrow, hole about 24 inches deep. There should be a dark topsoil layer above a paler layer, known as subsoil. Your topsoil should be loose and well-draining. If it’s hard and compacted, then roots will have trouble growing in it and drainage will be poor.

There are different types of subsoils: hard clay, bedrock, stony material, and even sand. There really isn’t anything you can do about your subsoil but it’s important to know what type of drainage it provides.

A porous subsoil will allow roots to reach down for nutrients, and during dry weather, for water. If your subsoil is compacted, then your best option is to make raised beds. That way you can increase drainage and the amount of good soil available to your plants.

Is Your Soil Alkaline? Or Acid?

This video will show how to determine your soil’s nutrients. 1:38 minutes long

Measuring your soil’s pH level is important because most plants need soil which is slightly acidic, in the 6.2 to 6.8 level. For reference, a pH of 7 is neutral, less is acidic and anything above 7 is alkaline.

A laboratory test is ideal, but soil test kits are sold in most garden centers and home improvement stores. The kit will quickly indicate your soil’s pH by using a simple color system. Acidic soil using turns the testing solution an orange-yellow, neutral shows as green, and alkaline soil turns it dark green. If you have a local Cooperative Extension Service, nearby, you can have your soil tested there. They will also be able to tell you if your soil has any deficiencies and suggest ways to improve it.

Types of Soil

Sandy soil
Sand Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay
• Sandy soil drains easily but it dries out quickly in the summer heat. It contains few nutrients so you will need to fertilize regularly. It is a good soil for cool-season crops because it retains heat in the spring when most gardens in northern regions are being started.
clay soil
clay soil Image by Dirk (Beeki®) Schumacher from Pixabay
• Clay is heavy and rich in nutrients. It drains poorly in winter which makes for a waterlogged garden during the spring thaw. They maintain moisture in the summer so they’re good for warm weather crops.
loam soil
• Loam is a crumbly soil that combines the best features of sand and clay.

How To Check Your Soil’s Drainage

Remember the hole you dug to examine the soil in your yard? Now it’s time for a little experiment to find out how well it drains. Fill the hole with water, cover it, and leave it overnight.

If the water is still there the next morning, your soil is draining poorly. This means you may need to set up a drainage system or resort to raised beds. Excess water is deadly for plants, causing root rot and weakening the plant and making it susceptible to pests and diseases.

Related How To article: How to Prepare Soil for a Garden

Where Should I Plant My Garden?

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow” Audrey Hepburn

Here Comes the Sun!

Here Comes the Sun
HERE_COMES_THE_SUN by Marianthi Mandani
If you decide to grow most types of beans or artichokes, for instance, you’ll need a spot that is sunny for most of the day. On the other hand, if you want to grow lettuce or spinach feel need a spot which offers some shade.

But how do you know which spot is sunny at noon but shady at 4 pm or vice-versa? By checking the light and shadow patterns during the day.

Place wood stakes in the areas you’re considering for your garden. Record the times when each area is fully covered with sunlight and the times when shadows appear. In general, you’ll want an area that receives at least six hours of sun. Again, your choice of plants will play a role in the amount of sun your garden should receive.

Examples of plants which require full sun:
• Artichoke • Asparagus • Beans • Beets • Broccoli • Brussels Sprouts • Carrot • Cauliflower • Celery • Corn • Tomato • Pumpkin

Examples of plants which do well in partial shade:
• Arugula • Cabbage • Endive • Horseradish • Lettuce • Spinach • Peas • Swiss Chard • Radish • Rhubarb

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Climate will influence your selection of the fruits and vegetables you can grow successfully. Most areas in North America are located in a temperate zone which is unaffected by the extreme heat of the tropics and frigid cold of the polar circles.

However, that doesn’t mean that all of North America has the same weather conditions, as you already know. Some areas are drier and hotter, and others with cooler, wetter conditions. Your plans should always reflect your local weather conditions.

Most plants have a range of air temperatures in which they thrive. Most common vegetables are divided into two categories: cool season and warm season. These vegetables vary in their planting requirements, and in the conditions they will tolerate.

Examples of cool weather crops:
• Arugula • Beets • Broccoli • Brussels Sprouts • Cabbage • Cauliflower • Collard • Kale • Lettuce • Onion • Spinach Turnip

Examples of warm weather crops:
• Cantaloupe • Carrot • Corn • Cucumber • Eggplant • Lima Beans • Pumpkin • Potato • Snap Bean • Sweet Potato • Tomato

Map it Out!

garden planner
garden planner at Amazon
It sounds like a lot of work, but again, preparation is key. Now, that you know which areas receive the best sunlight for your planned crops, and where you have the best access to water and good soil, you need to do a little more groundwork.

Your site has to be free from underground utility lines. Local utility companies will happily locate and stake out their underground lines if you contact them.

Create your map, by first taking a photo of the site to map out the garden. Shoot the photo from a point which allows a full view of your entire garden area. Now, you draw a design of the area and mark the shady areas or any areas which have obstructions such as roots, large rocks, or slopes.

Related How To article: How to Plant Your First Garden

Rose Cuttings Propagation


If you’re like me, you may have envisioned nurseries growing rose bushes from seedlings. Or you may even think of them growing from smaller plants, like when you bring home small tomato plants. If that’s your conception — and it is for many who are just starting the hobby — you’ll be surprised to learn how roses really are bred.

Buds or Shoots

Buds or Shoots
Shoots Bud

For the most part, the roses you buy at most retail outlets today are grafted or more appropriately budded. This means that the buds or shoots of a specific rose are attached to the roots of a second rose. This second rose is called the rootstock.

Once attached, they grow together to create one plant. The point at which two parts are joined is referred to as the bud union. Later in this blog, I’ll refer more to this particular part of the rose.

Not only that but on most plants that you buy, you’ll be able to identify this section with relative ease. This point is usually slightly swollen. If for some reason, you can’t see this point and you know without a doubt the rose is grafted, you can safely assume the bud union is then the point where several main stems or canes join the base of the plant.

Top Growth

Canes which are attached either above or directly at the bud union are called “the top growth.” These are nearly always those of the desired rose. On rare occasions, a plant produces what’s called “sport”. This is a shoot with traits that differ from the rest of the plant. Traits like vigor, habit, or even flower color could be among these types of traits on occasion.


rose suckering
rose suckering

If the cane emerges below the bud union, it’s called a sucker. These are outgrowths of the rose which was used as the rootstock. If left to grow, the sucker usually crowds out the desired top growth. Most people remove these as soon as they recognize them. It’s best to snap these off where they come out at the root, rather than just cutting them off at the ground level. If you don’t do this, the plant is likely to continue to produce another sucker at this same point.

You may be confused at first by some of the other terminologies, rose lovers used to describe their growths. Once you get a handle on this, you get a better idea of not only what these individuals are talking about, but you’ll gain a better understanding and enjoyment of your gardening habit.

Grafted or Own-root

Once you’ve decided on which roses you’re planting, then you have a second choice to make — one you may not have thought much about up until now.

Are you going to buy a grafted or “own-root” plant. Either choice has advantages attached to it, as well as disadvantages.

Grafted plants are essentially the top growth of the desired rose attached to the roots of another rose — called the rootstock. This method of propagation allows the producers of these plants to quickly create a garden-ready plant. It also allows a better variety of rootstocks to suit a particular growing condition.

dr. huey rose
dr. huey rose from Arnold Stegall on Pinterest

Three rootstocks are among the most commonly used in the United States.

The first is called ‘Dr. Huey’. This one tolerates average to dry conditions and alkaline soil conditions.
The second is ‘Fortuniana’. This particular rootstock is well suited to hot climates. It tolerates nematodes that are soil-borne pests. It needs to be fertilized regularly and generously. You may also discover that it may take an extra year or two to settle into its new home as well as produce some good top growth. If you choose this type, then you need to be patient with it.


And the third type is called ‘Rosa multflora’, which adapted quite well to cold climates. Not only that, but it also tolerates acidic soil and nematodes well.

Fascinating and Frustrating

Now here’s the kicker, it’s what makes growing roses so fascinating and so frustrating at the same time. The same top growth grafted onto different rootstocks can perform differently. That’s why two roses with the same name but bought by different sources may differ drastically in their performance.

For the most part, you just don’t know which rootstock a plant has been grafted to. But, for the best results, seek out suppliers who can tell you what rootstocks they’ve used. Then they’ll be able to tell you whether the rootstock itself is suited to your area.

Own-root Roses

In the last few years, a new trend among rose growers have occurred. More nurseries offer roses propagated by cuttings. These cuttings, in turn, actually form their own roots.

Survive Winter

As you can imagine, this method has several benefits. First, many of these plants survive winter weather much better. They tend to live longer and their chances of developing the rose mosaic virus, a common rose disease is minimized.

If by chance, the cold weather kills the top growth of one of these plants, the odds are in your favor that new growth will actually sprout from the roots. And the good news here is that the new growth will be the same rose you originally chose.

This is in contrast to the grafted rose. When a grafted rose dies, the new growth will be whatever the rootstock was and for you, that’ll be a surprise. Chances are it’ll be nothing like your original choice.

You Decide

So now you have yet another decision to make in choosing your roses. Some rose hobbyists love the own-root roses. Others, however, feel the benefits of selecting the rootstock make the grafted plant a better choice. But only you can decide.

If you really can’t make up your mind (and while you’re new at this, you may not really have much of an opinion), why not choose one or two of each? In this way, you’ll have some experience with each kind.

Related How To article: How to Grow a Rose Bush from Rose Bush Cuttings

Knockout Rose Varieties

Knockout rose
Knockout rose is selling like hotcakes

It’s the latest entry into the rose family and its youth alone deserves a mention. I’m talking about the rose that has just about every rosarian talking: The Knockout Rose.

Perhaps the pure simplicity of this rose is what so inspiring to many. Indeed, its ease of growing is what attracts some. Either way, if you’re new to growing roses, it’s definitely a variety of rose you may want to think about adding to your garden.

Grows as a Shrub

The Knock Out rose grows as a shrub to about three feet tall and about the same dimensions wide. It products cluster of blooms — beautiful cherry red ones approximately three inches in diameter. And much to every rose lover’s delight, these blooms continue to repeat blossoming throughout the growing season. According to some rose experts, the Knock Out rose has one of the longest blooming flowers on the market today.

One Disadvantage

If this plant has a disadvantage, it’s the flower itself isn’t suited well to being a cut flower. It’s fragrance, moreover, is light and delicate, similar to the tea rose.

Developer, William Radler

William Radler

This new rose — which many have even called revolutionary, is not much more than 20 years old — a mere child in the ancient rose family. The developer, William Radler, sought a rose which would be a hardy repeat bloomer. His development began with nearly 600 seedlings a year grown under fluorescent lights in his basement.

Crossed The Seedlings

Then, 1988, Radler crossed the seedlings of a variety called the Carefree Beauty with the Razzle Dazzle. Both of these plants are hardy ones. By the year 2000, the hybrid had won the prestigious All-America Rose award.

It took little time for the Knock Out Rose to take the country by storm. In its first year on the market, it became the fastest-selling new rose in history. More than 250,000 were sold in that initial year alone.

Rosarians Discover It

Red Double Knockout Rose
Red Double Knockout Rose by Tony Alter Flickr

As this particular variety of rose matures, and more rosarians discover it, you can imagine how it will grow in popularity. In the meantime, Radler is wasting no time developing sisters and cousins of this plant. He recently introduced the Double Knock Out rose.

If you’re thinking about starting out your rose-growing experience with this particular variety, you still need to provide it plenty of sunlight. The rose can thrive in some light shade. The plant, like all roses, needs fertile well-drained soil.

Put Among the Low Evergreen Shrubs

white knockout rose
white knockout rose is a rarity

And as shrub roses, their appearance in the wintertime isn’t all that pretty. That’s a definite consideration when you’re deciding just where in your garden to plant it. You may want to plant it among the low evergreen shrubs. In this way, you’re compensating for its winter nakedness.

Just as with any other shrub rose, you’ll want to prune it just before the new growth starts as well as throughout the growing season to control its size.

Related How To article: How to Grow Knockout Roses

How To Transplant Your Roses

Admit it. You’re hooked. You’re hooked on just about everything about roses — from the sweet fragrance to the beauty of the bloom to the overall majestic look of the entire plant.

And now. . . well, you’re determined that you will become a rose grower. Yes, you’ve heard they’re hard to grow . . . needed lots of care . . . just the right soil conditions and indeed even the right climate. But, still, you believe that they’re worth every bit of “trouble” that people told you they are.

Adjust Your Thinking

Before we go any farther, allow me a small adjustment to your thinking. True, specific species of roses are climate-sensitive, soil sensitive, even sunlight sensitive.

But the glorious aspect of it all: So many species of roses exist that –with just a little bit of research on your part — you can easily find a rose that will not only survive in your garden or yard — but actually thrive!

The Secret of the Climate Zones

If you believe that you live too far north to plant roses, then you’ve failed to discover the secret of the climate zones. You may hear experienced rose growers refer to it as the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. Its purpose is clear. Broken down into 11 different climate zones, this map outlines the climate conditions for all 50 states.

You merely need to consult the map, which by the way you can easily find on the web at USDA hardiness map, to discover the zone in which you live.

The next step — as you might easily guess — is to ensure that the roses you’ve chosen are suited for your specific climate zone. Many times, you’ll discover this as you research your choices. At least you’ll receive “hints.” The descriptions will tell you if the rose is overly sensitive to cold, or prefers cooler weather. If these descriptions match your region fairly well, then you know to continue your research.

However, if the rose you’ve come to love can’t stand the cold and you live far north, it’s best to abandon your quest in favor of a similar, but hardier rose.

Some descriptions of roses actually cite the climate zones in which they thrive — this makes your final decision straightforward. If you can find no such descriptions, then the process might come down to paying strict attention to the growing instructions even before you purchase your rose. And one last hint — buy them from a reputable nursery.

You’ll be sure to find what climate zones your chosen rose need. If any of the zones match yours — BINGO! — you’ve got yourself a rose for your garden!

It is truly overwhelming if you’re just beginning.

Literally volumes have been written about the basics alone of growing roses. And as I delve more deeply into your new-found love, you can explore more books . . . as well as more online resources. But, I would hate for you to be paralyzed with information overload.

I’m presenting the necessities to get you started — enough to give you confidence in the beginning, but not so much as to scare you off this wonderful hobby.

First, you’ll want to decide where exactly you’re going to plant your new flowers. Of course, this was one of the questions you’re already pondering, so it really comes as no surprise.

Sun and roses

Let me tell you what a rose really needs in order to thrive. Every rose — no matter its kind — need six hours of sunlight daily, and more the better, in order to develop to their fullest. I can see you looking up at the sky now. Even as I write this I look out my window and see a dreary, cloudy day. My initial thought is that my roses are being deprived.

Relax. While, yes, roses do need six hours of sunlight a day, it doesn’t have to be continual sunlight. This may seem hard for some of us in certain parts of the country to realize, but every segment of the nation receives some clouds now and then.

And to be truthful, some roses really appreciate an array of different sunlight. Many types appreciate the morning sun, then prefer some midday shade before they’re ready to take in another burst of the afternoon sun. Six hours of sunlight may seem like quite a bit, but when you break it up like I just have . . . it’s really not so much.

Now, if you really have your heart set on growing roses and you know you just can’t provide a space with a minimum of six hours of sun, don’t give up. Not just yet at least.

Yes, it is possible to grow roses in an environment that offers less than six hours of sun. But what you’ll need to do upfront is “experiment” with several types of roses to see which particular kinds fill your needs.

The key to making this work is not to be disappointed when your first choice fails the test — because in all possibility it just might. You need to keep looking for the “ultimate rose” for your garden.

If you receive less than six hours of sun . . .

Start with a species of rose noted for tolerating shade. These include the alba and hybrid musk roses. While you’re choosing at this point, include in your search those flowers that are a little hardier and more disease-resistant than others.

I mention this with good reason, it’s not just a recommendation I throw out there lightly. Roses that thrive in the shade sometimes are noted for being more susceptible to developing diseases. So if you can find a rose that both tolerate the shade well and can stand up to diseases, you’re increasing the odds of its survival.

Well-drained Soil

Roses don’t like soggy soil. It’s a fact. Despite the fact that roses grow best and are most beautiful when they receive a steady supply of moisture, they don’t grow well planted in soggy soil. Of course, most other flowers don’t either.

The places you don’t want to plant your roses are in those areas where the water tends to stand idle after a rain or those regions where the soil stays “squishy” under your feet for more than a few hours following a rain.

If you can’t find any areas like this around your house, don’t think you can’t raise roses. You’ll just have to improvise some. One way to solve this problem is by lifting the soil level through the building of raised flowerbeds.

Test your soil before you make your final decision

Specifically, you’ll want to know what the pH balance of the soil in which you’re planting your roses. If you’ve never done this before and are hesitant about doing this alone, then do what I did when I was unsure.

I called my local Cooperative Extension Service. Not only did they help me check the acidity and alkaline levels of my soil, but they gave me right-on advice about how to adjust them to make the soil “rose friendly.” They also helped me with adjusting nutrient levels in this area as well.

The level of your garden, I can’t emphasize enough, is a crucial step in ensuring the health of your roses. It’s much easier to take care of these matters before you physically plant your roses, then try to correct the situation while the roses are in the soil.

Tropical Gardening Design Ideas

How to plant a tropical garden video 1:08 minutes

Pick Your Tropical Plants

Tropical Plant

Tropical gardens have become quite popular in more recent years because the plants that you can grow in this type of garden are full of gorgeous colors. Tropical plants often have a more unique look about them too, which makes them all the more appealing for areas of the country where everyone seems to plant the same things in their gardens.

Beneficials Are Attracted To Tropical Gardens

beneficial butterflies
Tropical gardens often attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds too, and this makes the garden all the more enjoyable throughout the year. Tropical gardens can contain a wide variety of plants, but some require lots of heat while others require lots of water.


Most Admired Plant Here is The Bougainvillea

Some tropical garden plants such as bougainvillea, thrive on irregular watering patterns. The bougainvillea plant, for example, is natural in areas of the world where there could be pouring rain for weeks, then months of dry spells. You can mimic these conditions when growing bougainvillea plants in your tropical garden by watering them really well for a week or two, then not watering them for at least a month. You’ll find that these tropical plants seem to bloom best when they’ve been stressed or kept dry for extended periods of time.

Bougainvillea plants can be grown in a variety of ways too. Most varieties will climb as a vine in the right conditions and with the right care, but these plants can also be shaped and pruned into small shrubs and bushes too. Bougainvillea plants have hook-like thorns on them which can hurt if you’re stabbed by them, but these thorns are what allow the plant to climb fences and trellises, and create a gorgeous display of color.

Bougainvillea tends to create tiny flowers that most people miss. The flowers are surrounded by paper-thin bracts which bloom in a variety of bold, beautiful colors, and most people think these bracts are the actual flowers of the plant. The flowers themselves though, are tiny and located inside the bracts.

Other Excellent Plants
Esperanza and Spanish Broom are two more excellent plants to put into a tropical garden. These plants do quite well in really dry gardens too, because they’re both heat and drought tolerant, which makes these beautiful plants quite hardy and tough. Despite their toughness though, both of these plants produce gorgeous, bright showy yellow flowers that bloom continuously from spring through fall.

Related How To article: How to Make a Tropical Style Garden

Butterfly Garden Design

butterfly meal
A butterfly meal

Creating a butterfly garden design is another wonderful way to enjoy nature in your yard and garden. Like birds, creating gardens that will attract butterflies is as easy as putting out plants, water features, and housing areas designed just for them.

The Best

One of the best kinds of plants you can have in a butterfly garden is a butterfly bush. These grow quite fast and large though, so you’ll need to make sure you have room before planting them.


It’s not uncommon for a butterfly bush to grow four feet or more in a year, so if you have friends or family who already grow them, you may want to consider taking a cutting from theirs to get yours started. Butterfly bushes come in a variety of colors too, so you’ll be able to pick and choose your favorites, or colors that compliment the rest of your garden design.
Use a Weed for The Butterflies

butterfly weed

butterfly weed

Another excellent plant to put in your garden which works wonderfully for attracting butterflies is called a butterfly weed. These are much smaller than the bushes, so they can be grown in small garden spaces or patio containers. For a short video on butterfly weed click here.

Create Their Habitat

There is a wide variety of plants and flowers which will attract butterflies to your garden. Butterflies like nectar just as hummingbirds do though, so sometimes you can attract both into the same garden. One of the most difficult parts of creating a butterfly garden though is the amount of time you must be patient. Butterflies take time to develop. You must create habitats that are friendly for both the grown butterflies and the larvae caterpillars which will emerge from the eggs they lay.

Now for the Caterpillars

Monarch caterpillar
Monarch caterpillar

Once the eggs hatch too, your new caterpillars will start eating the host plants too. Many gardeners who aren’t familiar with this cycle will sometimes think something is wrong with their garden when they see spots caterpillars have been feeding on, so the Spray chemicals thinking that the plants have some Kind of bug or disease. If you spray the plants of course though, you’ll usually kill the caterpillars. And if you do that of course, you won’t end up with any butterflies.

Butterfly Houses

Butterfly House
Now in addition to putting plants and flowers in your garden to attract butterflies, there are little butterfly houses you can buy for both decoration and functionality too. Like birdhouses, butterfly houses will provide butterflies safe and comfortable places to live, nest, and lay eggs. So providing these in your garden is almost guaranteed to start helping you build an active butterfly community in your yard.

They Need Water

Birdbath for birds and butterflies
Birdbath for birds and butterflies
Butterflies like water features too though, so be sure you’re providing this in an easily accessible area of your butterfly garden. If you don’t mind having different wildlife using the same things in your garden, you’ll probably be fine using a birdbath for both birds and butterflies. Birdbath for birds and butterflies. Just be sure to clean it out regularly without soap or chemicals, so it will stay a healthy and fun place for the wildlife to bath, drink, and play.

Related How To article: The 3 parts to Create a Butterfly Garden

Bulb Garden Designs

Bulb Garden

Bulb gardens tend to be a favorite of many, particularly when you want a formal looking garden that has lots of vibrant, cheery color in it. When you mention bulb gardens to most people though, they automatically think you’re talking about tulips or daffodils. There are in fact though, many variations of plants that grow from bulbs.

Favorite Bulb Types

Tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths are some of the most popular types of flowers to grow in a bulb garden, but others you may like include many different kinds of Lily flowers, snowdrops, crocus, dahlias, canna lilies, irises, begonias, amaryllis, and many others. All of these bulb flowers are gorgeous in almost any type of garden you can imagine. They come in a large variety of sizes, colors, textures, and shapes, plus they blossom wonderfully throughout a variety of months each year.

Flower Bulbs

Cannes lily

A bulb garden starts with flower bulbs. Bulbs are the “root” of the plant essentially, and this is where the food is stored during winter months while the plants themselves are dormant. Once springtime comes though, or the particular part of the year which is best for your chosen bulb garden flowers, new shoots and leaves will sprout from the buried bulb, and grow into a gorgeous full-grown blooming plant.

Need Spring or Fall Bulbs

Bulbs are usually classified as spring bulbs or fall bulbs. Spring bulbs are those which sprout and flower in the springtime, while fall bulbs will flower in the fall. Spring bulbs are actually planted in the fall though, generally from September through October in most parts of the United States, because they need the initial wintering period to prepare for flower production in the springtime.

Fall bulbs are planted from February through April or May in most areas, and these will stay dormant until the leaves begin to turn. Planting a mixture of both fall and spring bulbs in your bulb garden will give you the longest blooming time though, so most bulb gardeners prefer to include both in their gardens.

Bulb Requirements

Bulbs usually need moist rich soil which drains well. They like sunlight too, but they’ll tolerate filtered sunlight usually as well. Bulbs can often be grown in pots or containers instead of the ground too, and sometimes they’ll even grow nicely as an indoor houseplant too.

Natural Habitat?

When planning your bulb garden, try to learn more about the natural habitat of each bulb flower you’ll be planting. Tulips for instance, like warm and dry soil conditions. Daffodils are natural meadow growing flowers, so they love lots of sunlight. Bluebells and snowdrops grow naturally in wooded areas though, so they tend to do best in shadier spots of your garden.

Related How To article: The 4 parts to Make a Bulb Garden