Rose Growing Terms and Information





Rose & Garden Terms:

Rose World Words Defined:


Asexual Production – the producing of new plants by any method but seeds.

Balled – a term used to describe a rose bud that has not opened properly and has rotted.

Bare Root – a dormant, pruned plant that is sold without soil.

Basal Break – a strong, new cane growing from the bud union.

Blind Shoot – a non-flowering growth that must be removed to enable the plant to expend its energy on creating flowers rather than foliage.

Botanical Name – the Latin, scientific name of a plant, which includes the genus and species.

Bud Union – the swelling on the bottom of a plant stem where the graft is joined with the rootstock.

Climber – a vigorously growing variety of rose that has canes of up to 20 feet in length. Climbers are often sports of bush forms of Hybrid Teas and Floribundas. Training the long canes in a horizontal position will produce more blooms. A climber does not attach to but must be tied onto a trellis or support.

Cultivar – a contraction of the term “cultivated variety”. A plant that has been bred or cultivated by man and is not found growing wild in nature.

Deadhead – to prune off the older dead or spent blooms. Pruning back the stem to an outward facing bud will encourage the rosebush to produce more growth and buds for blooms. Unless ornamental hips are desired in the fall, most roses should be regularly deadheaded to bring forth repeat blooming.

Dieback – this is when tips, shoots or canes die, due to disease or damage such as winter freezing of the canes.

Disbudding – the removal of some of the buds on a rosebush to encourage fewer but larger blooms.

Dormancy – the temporary stop in growth during the winter months.

Floribunda – rosebushes that produce clusters of blooms all season long and are generally bushier and more disease resistant than Hybrid Teas. Floribundas usually grow to about 3 feet high.

Graft – the point where the rootstock and the desired variety of rose were joined to grow as one rosebush.

Grandiflora – tall and vigorous rosebushes growing up to 8 feet tall, they have the flower form of the Hybrid Tea but the hardiness and cluster blooming of the Floribunda.

Hardiness – the resilience of a plant to cold, drought or disease.

Heirloom – a plant or seed variety that has been passed down through the generations.

Heirloom Rosesall roses that were in existence before the introduction in 1867 of La France, the very first hybrid tea rose.

Hips – the seedpod or fruit of the rose. Hips are produced in a wide assortment of bright fall colors and shapes and are generally more predominant in old garden roses that flower once a year.

Hybrid – the offspring that is the result of the crossing of two different species, cultivars or varieties; this is usually produced artificially in cultivation.

Mulch – an organic material, such as pine needles, home compost, rotted manure, grass clippings, shredded leaves, shredded bark or straw which protects the plant from weeds, water evaporation and changes in soil temperature and enriches and improves the texture and structure of the soil. (Shredded Cedar mulch is an excellent mulch material.)

Old Garden Rose – the types of roses that existed before 1867, most of these bloom only once and are very fragrant.

Own-root – a rose that grows on its own roots, propagated through cuttings or seeds, rather than being grafted onto rootstock.

Pesticide – any chemical used by man to control pests of any kind. Fungicides, Herbicides and Insecticides are part of this group.

Procumbent – a plant that trails along the ground.

Ramblers – Ramblers are not sports like climbers; they are a distinct type of rose. Ramblers have flexible canes and flower once in early summer on canes that grew the previous year. They are very vigorous and can grow 30 feet in every direction.

Remontant – a plant that blooms continuously or is repeat blooming.

Rootstock – the understock or base of the plant onto which the variety of rose is grafted. Some common rootstocks are Dr. Huey, Multiflora and Fortuniana (a warm climate rootstock).


Rosarian hobbyists or professionals who specialize in the cultivation of roses and the enjoyment thereof.

Rose Propagation – to dig up rooted shoots from the main plant or to take cuttings of a specimen plant.

Self-sowing – plants that propagate themselves by dropping seeds to produce new plants the next year.

Shovel Pruning – digging up and discarding an unwanted rosebush from the garden.

Soil Amendment – any organic material that is added to the soil to improve and enrich its texture, nutrition and draining quality.

Soil pH – the measurement of the alkalinity or acidity of the soil with 0 – 6.9 being acidic, 7 is neutral and 7.1 – 14 being alkaline. Roses seem to do their best in soil that is a little on the acidic side at 6.5 pH.

Species Roses – roses that grow in the wild.

Sport – an unusual change in growth or color that can occur on an established variety, usually the result of a natural mutation. A climbing rose is an example of a growth sport.

Spray – a group of blooms on a single stem.

Standard – a standard is another term for tree rose. A variety of rose is grafted onto an understock stem.

Sucker – An unwanted growth that comes from below the bud union on a grafted rose. This is the growth of the understock and must be removed. Suckers usually have leaves of a different color and shape than that of the cultivar. It is important to rip off the sucker directly from the rootstock; simply cutting it off will stimulate it to re-grow.

Wind-rock – winter winds can loosen the roots of roses making them more susceptible to damage. Shortening the long canes of roses in the fall will reduce the risk.


A Few Measurement Conversions: 


1 Tablespoon  = 3 Teaspoons


1 fl. oz. = 2 Tablespoons or 6 teaspoons 


6 fl. ozs.  = ¾ cup


1 ½ Tablespoons in 3 gallons of water  = 1 ½ teaspoons in 1 gallon of water.


2 Tablespoons in 3 gallons of water = 2 teaspoons in 1 gallon of water.







The Myth of Day Watering

Per Robert Cox, Horticulture Agent, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension.

Still showing up in some popular garden literature is the notion that “day-watering can burn plants.”  The notion says that sunlight is “magnified by the water drop on the leaf to cause a leaf burn.

Anyone who ever burned ants using a magnifying glass and the sun knows that the magnifying glass did not burn the ant if it were placed directly on the ant.  Rather, it had to be held a distance (focal distance) from the ant to concentrate the sun’s rays enough to burn the ant.

If this notion were true, all gardeners would cover all their plants prior to every rainstorm.

Farmers would not be able to prevent widespread “leafburn” after rain clouds gave way to sunshine.  The root of this notion may have come from the effects of applying poor-quality water high in dissolved salts.  As water drops evaporated from leaves,the salts left behind could cause a leaf burn.

These are but a few of many claims and examples of conventional wisdom offered to the gardening public.

Ever since gardens were planted, observations and anecdotal claims have been offered to improve garden success.  Some of these may be myths in Colorado but good advice in other areas of the country.  Be cautious of label and advertising claims for garden products and skeptical of what you hear–and read!


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