Planting and Caring for your Roses

Preparing the Rose Bed

It is best to always group roses for easy care.  Choose a spot that gets full sun for at least 6 hours a day and is away from encroaching trees or shrubs. Make sure the soil drains well. It is a good idea to add soil to raise the bed up 8-10 inches for good drainage.  Landscape timbers around the bed will hold the soil and blend with almost any setting.  A good soil mix for roses is about 1/3 existing soil or top soil, 1/3 organic matter like pine bark, compost, or manure and 1/3 sand.



Hybrid teas and grandifloras should be planted 3 feet apart, floribundas about 2 feet apart, and minis 1-2 feet apart.  Old garden roses require more room as some can get very large.  Check with reference material on the potential size of a specific rose.  To plant a container rose, first water the bush and let it drain.  Next dig a hole about twice as large as the container.  Cut off the bottom of the container and discard it.  Set the bush in the hole, positioning it so that the bud union is about 2 inches above ground level. Now cut the sides of the container all the way down in 2 or 3 places and remove.  Fill in the hole with soil and water well.  Don’t tamp down the soil with your feet.  This breaks the roots.  Add about 2 inches of mulch.  For bare root roses, dig a hole larger than the root system and spread the roots over a cone of soil for support.  Add soil and water to eliminate air pockets and then follow the procedure for container roses above.  Keep your newly planted roses well watered and do not fertilize until they form new growth. 



Roses need about 1-2 inches of water per week.  Plan ahead to have soaker hoses or an irrigation system, especially if you have a large garden.



When you cut off flowers, generally cut to the outside of the bush about a quarter inch above a bud, or right above a 5 leaflet leaf.  That’s where a new rose blossom will start to grow. Wait until the bushes are well established to cut long steamed roses because new bushes need time establish a good root system.  Always leave at least two 5-leaflet leaves on the stem when cutting blooms.  Prune your roses on Valentines Day and Labor Day for the best blooms cycles.  At this time, clean out the centers, cut off the dead canes and cut the bush back at least 30%.



To encourage rebloom, roses need regular applications of fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season.  You can use a balanced granular like 8-8-8, a time release or a natural fertilizer like alfalfa or fish meal.  Water before fertilizing and follow the directions on the label.  


Disease Control

The main disease of roses here is blackspot, a fungus causing feathery black spots on leaves.  Except for a few highly resistant varieties, blackspot is bound to appear in your rose garden.  To control the disease, spray your roses with a fungicide following the label directions.  Funginex, Daconil, Immunox, Mancozeb, Fertilome products, and Bayer products are all good but they must be applied on schedule to be effective.  Begin spraying right after spring pruning and continue throughout the growing season. 

Downey mildew may also strike the rose garden.  Downey mildew causes purple areas on the leaves and stems along with yellowish areas on the stems.  Special fungicides must be purchased to combat downey mildew.  Prune off the growth infected with downey mildew and destroy.  Call a consulting rosarian to help identity and treat any rose diseases that may appear.  


Insect Control

For environmental reasons, we recommend that you spray with insecticide only when you see damage and not weekly as with blackspot.  Insect spray, when used, can be mixed with fungicide spray unless the label states otherwise.  Many pests may be controlled with non-toxic insecticidal soap sprays available at garden centers.  If flower edges start turning brown, thrips are probably the cause. Add Conserve to your spray mix or spray just the buds and flowers with acephate.  No need to spray the entire bush with the acephate and kill the beneficial insects in the process. Spider mites attack in hot, dry weather. If leaves turn pale and dry, starting at the bottom of the bushes, mites have probably arrived.  To detect mites, remove an infected leave and tap it over a piece of white paper.  You’ll probably see tiny white mites about the size of a pin prick crawling around on the paper.  Washing the underside of the leaves with a water wand or a forceful spray of water will deter the mires.  For serious attack use a special miticide like Floramite.  Conserve works well to manage chilli thrips.



It is important to protect yourself from exposure to chemicals. Read the entire label on any product before you decide to use it. When spraying, always wear goggles to protect your eyes, as well as a face mask, rubber gloves, and all-over protective clothing.  It is a good idea to shower after spraying. A pesticide hotline, funded by the EPA, will answer any questions you have about gardening chemicals.  The line, operated by Texas Tech School of Medicine, is open 8 AM to 6 PM weekdays.  Call 1-800-858-7378.

Choosing Rose Varieties

It is a great help in selecting roses to see them growing in an established garden. You can do that by touring the rose gardens at Independence Park or at the Burden Center on Essen Lane. Here is an overview of the different kinds of roses available along with a few recommended varieties for our climate.


Hybrid Teas:  If you want to grow bushes with large blooms for bouquets, look for hybrid teas or grandifloras. They make an excellent cutting garden. Some healthy hybrid teas are Beverly (pink), Grande Amore (red), Double Delight (red blend), Mr. Lincoln (red), Elina (light yellow), Queen Elizabeth (pink), and Savannah  (pink).


Floribundas:  Floribundas have clusters of flowers and the flowers are smaller than those of the hybrid teas. The bushes are lower growing in most cases than hybrid teas or grandifloras. Floribundas are ideal for landscaping. Some top varieties are Gruss An Aachen (light pink), Julia Child (yellow), Sunsprite (yellow), Cinqo de Mayo (dusty orange) and Hot Cocoa (burnt orange).


Miniatures/Drifts:  These roses are very versatile. They’re equally at home planted in the ground or in containers on a sunny patio. Climbing minis are beautiful in a hanging basket. Blossom size varies widely but averages around 1-1.5 inches. Bush size goes from 6 inches to 4 ft in height. For best landscape effect, group bushes with those of similar growth habit. Recommended varieties include: Magic Carrousel (red blend), Rise ’N Shine (yellow), and Red Cascade (red climber).


Drifts: Drift roses are a cross between the miniatures and full size ground cover roses. They are repeat blooming, hardy and form a low, spreading rounded mound. All the Drift roses do well in Baton Rouge and can be used as ground cover roses.


Shrubs:  If you have very little time or energy to devote to your garden but still want to grow roses, try the shrub roses. This is a versatile class of roses that grows in number every year with the introduction of new disease resistant varieties. Some good choices are: Belinda’s Dream (pink), My Girl (pink), Knock Out (red, pink, or yellow), and Freckles (pink blend). 


Old Garden Roses:  If you have plenty of space and want carefree roses put in old garden roses. Many of the Teas and Chinas bloom almost all year and thrive in our climate. Some excellent choices are Mrs. B. R. Cant (pink), Monsieur Tillier (orange-pink), Cramoisi Superieur (medium red), Mrs. Dudley Cross (white-pink blend), and Souvenir de la Malmaison (pink). There are many outstanding climbers in this class such as Sombreuil (white), New Dawn (pink), Lady Banks (white or yellow) and Souvenir de Mme Leonie Viennot (once blooming, pink).

Best Roses for Baton Rouge Carefree Beauty in Bloom

Best Roses for Baton Rouge



1. Hardy

a. Shade - Mermaid, Knock Out

b. Survivor Instinct – Old Blush, Mrs. B R Cant, Souvenir de St. Anne, Cramoisi Superieur, Napoleon, Knock Out, Isabella Sprunt, Mrs. Dudley Cross, Duchesse de Brabant, Ann Olivier, Gilbert Nabonnand, Barn Dance, April Moon, Folksinger, Vincent Godsif, Gaye Hammond, Sweet Jane, Belinda's Blush, Grannie Grimmetts

2. Best Shrub 

a. For Hedge – Old Blush, Mutabilis, Natchitoches Noisette, Le Marne, Vincent Godsif, Le Marne

b. For Specimens – Mrs. Dudley Cross, Mrs. B. R. Cant, Marie Van Houtte, Archduke Charles, Belinda's Dream and other Teas. 

3. Best Climbers 

a. Mannerly – Red Cascade, Climbing Rainbow’s End, Don't Rain on My Parade, Graham Thomas, Red Cascade   b. Vigorous – Peggy Martin, Lady Waterlow, Souvenir de Mme. Leonie Viennot (once blooming), Mermaid, yellow/white Lady Banks (once blooming), Climbing Cramoisi Superieur, Climbing Old Blush, Climbing Reve d'Or, Climbing Pinkie, Seven Sisters

4. Best Fragrance - Duchesse de Brabant, Abraham Darby, Darrows Enigma b. Most Fragrant Hybrid Teas: Mr. Lincoln, Double Delight, Fragrant Cloud, Eiffel Tower, Lemon Spice

5. Best Container Rose – Cecile Brunner, Perle d’Or, the Knock Outs, Lindee, Drifts, Lavender Pink, International Herald Tribune

6. Most Versatile Rose – Don Juan, Belinda’s Dream, Double Knock Out, Double Pink Knock Out

7. Best Naturalized Rose – Mermaid, Lady Banks, & Cherokee will all grow into trees,  Mutabilis 

8. Most Historic – The Peggy Martin Rose, Lafter, Cherokee Rose

9. Best Cut Flower – Mrs. B. R. Cant, Maggie, Polonaise, Belinda’s Dream, Elina, Veterans Honor, Don Juan, Louise Estes and most hybrid teas 

10. Most Unusual – Green Rose, Ebb Tide, Night Owl

11. Best Hips – Carefree Beauty, Dortmund

12. Best Fall Color – Carefree Beauty, Caldwell Pink

13. Most Polite – Vincent Godsif, Valentine, Plum Perfect

14. New Roses to Try: Sweet Jane, Purple Prince, Polar Express, Beverly, Grande Amore, Savannah, Easy Does It, At Last, Gaye Hammond, Golden Fairy Tale, Flamenco Rosita, True Passion and any of the Drifts, especialy Sweet Drift


15. Griffith Buck Roses to try: Countryman, Winter Sunset, April Moon, Kathy's Find, Simon Estes, Bright Melody, Polonaise 

American Rose Society Rose Selection Guides

Propagating Roses

Propagation Tips

Propagation Tips 2021.docx
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Margaret Ganier's Propagation Method
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Rose Bonsai by Lowell Tilley, Louisiana Bonsai Society

Rose Bonsai
Adobe Acrobat document [280.8 KB]

No Monthly Meetings in 2021

Upcoming Events:      

BRRS Fall Propagation Day
Independence Botanical Gardens

Rose Garden
9-11 AM
November 20, 2021

Independence Blvd. between Airport and Lobdell


Join us to propagate some roses for yourself or for the society to sell next spring.  The BRRS will provide the necessary propagation items and some light refreshments.

BRRS Fall Pruning
Independence Park Rose Garden
9-11 AM
September 18, 2021



Monday January 6, 2020

7:00 PM

Garden Center
7950 Independence Blvd
Baton Rouge


Presented by Dr. Allen Owings

Dr. Owings is currently serving as Region 7 Director for the American Rose Society.  Region 7 includes Louisiana.  He is retired from the LSU Ag Center where his focus was on extension programs providing service to nursery, landscape and garden center professionals.  He is now employed by both Bracy’s Wholesale Nursery and Clegg’s Nursery.  His professional activities and accomplishments are literally too numerous to mention.  Dr. Owings is not only an expert plantsman but also a dynamic and entertaining speaker.  

Feel free to bring a friend.  Everyone is welcome.

If you would like to help with refreshments, reply to Dawn at

Independence Park Plant Sale                      

Saturday April 13, 2019

8:00 AM - 1:00 PM


Join us as we support the plant sale that raises money for the botanic gardens at Independence Park.  We have many roses for sale including some of the new healthy shrubs planted in the Park rose garden.  Come shop, buy or visit.  All are welcome at this fun event.

Planting Day

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Independence Park Botanic Garden
Rose Garden

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Bring a shovel and your work boots as we will begin planting the empty beds, aka the “Annex”, on the west side of the rose garden.   

There are at least 33 roses to be planted on March 23.

Please come and join the fun!

If you have questions or comments call Dawn at 225.964.0324.


9-11 AM

February 16, 2019

Independence Park Rose Garden


Bring your clippers and join us as we get ready for spring with our semi-annual pruning.

2019 Mid Winter Conference

February 8-9, 2019

American Rose Center

Shreveport, LA


The Gulf District Board of the American Rose Society invites you to the annual Mid Winter Workshop at The American Rose Center - Klima Hall in Shreveport, LA on Friday and Saturday, February 8 and 9, 2019.

Come join us on Friday afternoon, as registration will begin on at 1:00 pm. A free rose arrangement workshop will begin at 3:00 pm in the Gift Shop of Klima Hall. Make sure to browse the historical artwork from Civil War era Louisiana. A wine social will begin at 5:00 pm, giving everyone to visit with old friends and make new ones.

Friday evening dinner will be followed by a ”Year of the River” presentation marking the historical significance of the rivers of Louisiana including the introduction of formal gardens to Louisiana. Friday evening will conclude with the Gulf District’s award presentation.

Saturday morning will begin with opening remarks at 8:15am. Coffee, juice, donuts and more will be available!!! Saturday’s theme will focus on Making Your Garden Greatand conclude with our keynote speaker, Paul Zimmerman.


Register here.

Holiday Social

December 9, 2018

Floyd and Frances Falcon's

4302 French Village Avenue

Baton Rouge, LA  70809

4:00 PM


Come kick off the holidays with a special gathering at the Falcon's.  They will be serving their famous brisket along with good cheer.  Bring something to share like an appetizer, salad, covered dish, etc.  The club will supply the drinks.  You supply the holiday cheer!


Call Dawn at 225.964.0324 with questions.


French Village Avenue is accessed from Bluebonnet  Road which interescts Jefferson Highway just west of the major intersection with Bluebonnet Blvd. Call Frances at 225.293-9992 if you need more directions.


Pruning At Independence Park Rose Garden

Saturday, September 8, 2018

9:00 AM - 11:00 PM


Come help prune the roses at Independence Park and enjoy the other gardens. The new Butterfly Garden is especially nice this time of year.


Bring your pruners, clippers and whatever else you normally use for pruning.


Light refreshments will be served.