Top tips for new season's rosesBack to Articles Page

Top tips for new season's roses

Words & Photos: Hayden Foulds 

Winter is a favourite time for rose enthusiasts as we look to see what’s new in the stores for the first time and get planting ready for spring flowering.

New season’s roses will be out and about, so get in early to avoid missing out, as new varieties often sell out quickly. This year’s new releases continue to reflect recent trends in the rose world of health and fragrance.

Breeding healthy roses is a major priority for many of the world’s rose breeders and great advances have been made in recent years. It doesn’t mean roses are totally disease-free and you still need to feed, water and prune them to have them looking their best. Fragrance is unfortunately linked genetically to health – and not in a good way. What we gained in highly fragrant blooms, was often at the sacrifice of the best health and vase life. There have been great improvements in this area, however, and there are many roses offering both longevity with strong scent.

Novelty is also becoming important as rose breeders strive to create something a bit different. The Persica hybrids have been one of the major developments in recent years with a range of colours now available and improvements in health, freedom of flowering and disease tolerance also made.

Top tips for new season’s roses:
• Get in early or you may miss out. Even better, order your roses in advance so you know you have a good chance of securing those on your wish list.
• Select plants with at least three strong canes and no signs of damage to them. Look out for wrinkled canes as this is a sign the rose has dried out at some stage. This is one of the main causes of plants failing to grow.
• Keep your labels and receipts in case your plants don’t grow and you need to return them for a replacement or refund.
• New season’s rose plants will have only been trimmed, not pruned, for easy of transporting. They only need a light prune in their first year, to remove any diseased or damaged wood.
• Don’t let your newly planted roses dry out. Despite being winter, it can happen if there are a few dry days or some frosts, which can dehydrate plants as well.

‘Acapella’: A new hybrid tea with large blooms of cherry red with a silver reverse to the petals. Very fragrant. A tall, healthy grower. Available from Tasman Bay Roses,

‘Christophe’: A bright, tangerine-orange rose that catches the eye. Lightly fragrant, this rose received a Certificate of Merit, NZRS Trials, Palmerston North 2014. Available from resellers of Matthews Roses or

‘Columba’s Rose’: Large, fragrant blooms of deep cream are a feature of this variety and sometimes they have a quartered appearance. Named for the centenary of Columba’s College, Dunedin. Available from Tasman Bay Roses,

‘Imagine’: A richly fragrant, coral-pink hybrid tea with blooms ideal for picking. Medium, bushy grower with good health. Available from resellers of Matthews roses, or

‘For Your Eyes Only’: One of the Persica hybrids with a blend of apricot, peach and pink with a purple eye. Free flowering, scented and healthy. Available from Tasman Bay Roses,

‘Nelson College’: Globular blooms of bright red with a slight scent. Medium growing with dark-green foliage. Available from Tasman Bay Roses,

‘Wollerton Old Hall’: A David Austin variety with soft apricot blooms paling to cream. One of the most fragrant English varieties. Best grown as a climber. Extremely healthy and good for repeat flowerer. Available from Tasman Bay Roses,