ROSES IN MISSISSIPPI: The Allure, Lore and History of Roses MSU Publication Number: P2835 Updated: November 30, 2017 The rose is one of the most popular flowering plants in the world. Its beauty, fragrance, and diversity provide value be- yond our physical needs. That is why gardeners give prominent space to roses in their gardens and spend time, labor, and money to have roses in their lives. And gardeners challenge themselves not only to grow roses but to grow them better than their neighbors. We humans are very interesting creatures.
Rose species are native to the northern hemisphere, from eastern Asia to western North America. The beginnings of rose domestication are unclear, but it is likely that centers of cultivation began in early Chinese, Persian, Greek, and Roman cultures. Travel and trade among regions surely in- cluded the barter of valuable roses. The establishment of rose gardens led to natural and experimental crosses between the roses of the east and the west. Garden roses were diversified well before they came to North America. These roses followed human migration westward, and some of their progeny now live alongside native species and on old homestead sites and cemeteries.
In other words, trading and business have always been at the heart of garden rose development. The wealthy sent out plant explorers to search for exotic plants for beauty and commerce. Breeders and growers of roses produced plants that met aristocrats’ and tycoons’ plant needs and obsessions.
Today, breeders continue to define rose perfection. Often they promote one characteristic to the detriment of others. Many cultivars that are front page headlines today will dis- appear within a year or two of dismal performance. But good roses endure and thrive. That is why old garden roses do so well: they are the survivors. The same will happen with modern roses. Gardeners will continue to select roses that grow well and make people happy.
Considering adding roses to your garden? Here are some tips for success: 1. Choose a planting location. Roses should receive a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. Be sure the soil is fertile and well-drained. 2. Select cultivars or species that thrive in the climate and soil conditions you have and that can resist pests and diseases that are common to your site conditions. 3. Decide how much time and effort you are willing to invest in controlling disease before making your rose choices. Select cultivars and species based on your time and effort commitment. 4. Decide if you are comfortable using chemicals or prefer to use an organic approach to growing roses before choosing which roses to grow. Select cultivars and species based on your maintenance direction. 5. Buy vigorous, healthy plants from a reliable source. Cultivate plants using proper pruning, mulching, watering, and fertilization practices.