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

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