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Questions & Answers
Roses


This page contains questions (edited) we have received from our viewers along with our responses.  
We thought you might find this information helpful.     

Q:

   Your info says not to prune roses this time of year (March 19th). With our unseasonably warm weather, my hybrid teas and my climbing roses (Stairway to Heaven) are both growing like it was early May! What do I do?  N. J., Pueblo, 3/19/12

A:
   Thank you for sending your question in to us at Colorado Gardening. Your question is one that is being asked of me a lot this year. There is little you can do to stop the roses from taking off and growing, this warm weather has some of mine leafing out already. We just have to hope we do not get a nasty freeze, which is still possible. We will lose most if not all of that new growth and it can set the roses back in the growth cycle if that happens. The only thing we can really do is not feed the roses, do not water them more than just a little bit if they are dry and try hard not to prune until at least the first part of April. Even that is early for the spring pruning but if the weather holds and they keep growing, we need to prune them to get rid of the old dead portions. Waiting too long will cause some twisted growth at times. I have seen this happen before and we got a nasty hard freeze at Easter time. I lost 6 rosebushes that year because they had taken off way too strongly and the freeze split the canes right down into the ground! There are some sprays on the market that are supposed to help protect them somewhat but I have never had a lot of success with those, so I do not spend the money on them. We are all in this boat together, all we can do is not do anything to encourage their growth at this time.
 
Stan the Roseman :o)
Stan V. Griep
ARS Certified Consulting Rosarian
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Q:

   Before reading your website (unfortunately) on a nice day in March I cut back all of the canes (to about 2 inches from the crown) on the 6 hybrid tea or floribunda rosebushes I planted last summer in Boulder, CO, thinking they would all grow back.  There is not a sign of any new growth as of May 14.  Did I kill them all?  Thank you for your help!  C. G., Boulder, 5/14/11

A:
   Fertilize the roses and keep them well watered.  Pruning in March was a mistake.  Also, you pruned them back way too short.  Hopefully they will recover.
 
Q:

   At 9400 feet, would the new landscape type roses survive a Colorado winter to be perennials?  These are the popular disease resistant type used in commercial landscaping.  P. B., Keystone, 12/24/09

A:    Most roses are not hardy at 9400 feet.  The new landscape type roses wouldn't survive.  Canadian roses in the Explorer series and the Parkland series include roses that may survive winters at that elevation. If you want to purchase the roses by mail order I suggest High Country Roses.  See www.highcountryroses.com.  They have an excellent reputation.  If you want to purchase roses in person in Colorado some of the garden centers, such as Tagawa in the Denver area and Harlequin's in Boulder, carry the Canadian roses.
 
Q:    What time of year may I safely dig up and replant a rose bush?  I reside in the Denver area.  Thank you, E., Mountain View, 4/8/09
A:
   A good time to dig up and replant a rose bush is spring.  Avoid moving it during late spring or summer when the weather is hot.  It is less likely to survive then.
 
Q:    I am moving.  I just planted a rose bush last summer and would like to take it with me.  I need to know how to do this. I live in Indiana.  Thank you, A. S., Connersville, IN; 2/11/09
A:
   If possible, you should move the rose in late winter or early spring while it is still dormant.  Water it well the day before you plan to dig it up.  Use a spading fork to lift it out of the ground.  Trim any damaged roots and plant it immediately in a container until you can plant it at your new home..  You may prune it just before you dig it up or just after you plant it in the container.  Keep the soil moist, but not soggy, while it is taking root.
 
Q:    What kind of mulch is best to use under well-established rose bushes to retain summer moisture, and not deplete the soil of nitrogen?  B. H., Denver, 6/12/08
A:
   Shredded bark is an excellent mulch.  Fertilizing the roses lightly in spring and early summer will counteract any nitrogen depletion as the bark gradually decomposes.
 
Q:    My husband and I bought our house in Denver last August and the house came with about 20 rose bushes. We pruned them back quite a bit last fall as our thinking was they have been neglected and overgrown. I'm afraid we went prune happy but we have fertilized them with rose food already and new growth is showing so it looks like there is hope. What is the rule of thumb in terms of cutting back roses for the winter? Did we do the right thing by cutting them back to encourage new and healthy growth?  R. B., Denver, 4/21/08
A:    Roses in this area are only lightly pruned in fall.  Major pruning is done in late April or early May.  You should apply fertilizer right after you prune in late April or early May.  You do not want to encourage new growth too early.  Late spring frosts will kill new growth.  Fertilize every 4 - 6 weeks.  Stop fertilization in mid-August to allow the plants to harden off for winter weather.
 
Q:    I have a couple rose bushes still in containers that have already started blooming in our solarium. When should we take them out of the containers and plant them safely. Mid-May seems to be the general consensus. Thanks in advance! B. T., Thornton, 4/8/08
A:
   The advice you have received on planting the roses is correct.  They can be planted after May 15th.  Because the roses have been in the solarium you should harden them off by putting them outside for a few hours each day, gradually increasing the amount of time they are outdoors, during the week prior to planting them.  If we get a weather forecast of a late spring frost after you've planted them, cover them with a sheet in the evening and remove it the next morning.
 
Q:    My husband and I recently moved to Monument, CO,  from Seattle, Washington. We are wondering when to prune or not to prune our rose bushes here in the landscape. The landscaper's map shows the roses are Sea Foam Rose and we have many of them. I don't want to do anything that would be the wrong thing to do for the elements of Colorado. Can you give me some help?  C. R., Monument, 10/5/07
A:    There are several steps to winterizing roses in Colorado.  Clean up fallen leaves to prevent disease organisms from over-wintering.  Sea Foam rose is a shrub rose and needs no pruning in fall.  Wait to prune it in spring.  Once night temperatures have been below freezing for several nights place a layer of soil or mulch over the crown of the plant.  A rose collar helps to keep the mulch in place.  Water the roses once or twice a month during winter when the ground isn't frozen. 
 
Q:    I have ten rosebushes that line the walkway to my front door. All were purchased from grocery or department stores and planted three years ago with varying colored roses -yellow, lavender, apricot, red, pink, with one exception.  I received a rosebush for my daughter's funeral with miniature pink roses which was not purchased as the others were.  Every one of my rosebushes is blossoming with deep red roses this year.  The miniature pink rosebush has not got blossoms yet, but I am afraid it, too, will bloom with the deep red roses.  What has happened?  I am so disappointed.  Usually my husband prunes them in the fall but due to ill health, they were not pruned until about 4-5 weeks ago.  H. V., Loveland, 5/29/07
A:
   Most roses sold nowadays have been grafted onto a hardy root stock.  One of the most commonly used root stocks is a red rose.  Our winter weather killed the part of the rosebush that had been grafted onto the red rose, leaving only the part below the graft alive.  That is why you now have only red roses.  Fall pruning would not have prevented the dieback.  Some gardeners put rose collars around their roses in late fall.  These are filled with mulch to provide insulation in cold weather.  You can also bury the crown of the rose with a mound of soil and gradually remove it in spring.  Hopefully the miniature pink rosebush didn't die back to below the graft like the other roses.
 
Q:    I am looking to plant some roses.  I live in Edwards, CO. What roses are going to grow well here?  What zone am I in? M., Edwards, 3/12/07
A:
   There are two groups of roses that were developed in Canada for cold winter regions, the Explorer series and the Parkland series.  Please see this article for specifics:  www.colostate.edu/Depts/CoopExt/4DMG/Flowers/Roses/winthard.htm.  For additional information on gardening at high altitudes please see the Colorado Master Gardener's Mountain Gardening website at www.coopext.colostate.edu/gilpin/MG.shtml.
    I believe you are in USDA hardiness zone 4.
 
Q:    I know spring is the time to transplant roses, but can I prune and send bare root roses out of state now?  Thanks for your help.  J. R., Boulder, 9/25/06
A:     You should schedule sending bareroot roses out of state based on when bareroot roses are supposed to be planted in that state.
 
Q:    Hi, I live in Falcon, Colorado, and have a rose garden that is not doing as well this year and am wondering why?  The roses have been fertilized and are very slow growing this year.  The buds are opening but they are opening up damaged as if they have been burnt along the edges.  The roses don't have as many blooms and the blooms are smaller. Do you have any advice or info that could possibly help me make them healthier?  Our weather of course was dry over the winter, but during this summer the weather has been dry w/ some moisture.  I do water them regularly and  we haven't had any severe weather.  The wind has been strong at times. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. C. G., Falcon, 7/2/06
A:    Be sure to use a rose fertilizer, rather than an all-purpose fertilizer when fertilizing roses.  Fertilizers that are high in nitrogen will promote leaf growth but limit flower production and size.  Keep the roses well-watered.  Inspect the plants for pests and treat if necessary.
 
Q:    When can you plant roses in Colorado Springs?  D. E., Colorado Springs, 3/20/06
A:    Bareroot roses can be planted in early spring, preferably by mid-April.  Container-grown roses should be planted after the danger of frost is past.  The average date of the last frost is about mid-May along the Front Range.
 
Q:    I live in Denver and have some Ruby Ruby roses.  I will appreciate your telling me how to winterize the roses.  B., Denver, 11/21/05
 
A:    To help the rose survive winter, here are some steps you can take:  Once night temperatures have been below freezing for several days, cover the crowns of the plants with soil.  Then, build up a layer of mulch over the lower portion of the rose bushes.  Rose collars are helpful with keeping the mulch in place, especially when it is windy.  You can use bark, compost, dried leaves or hay as mulch.  Some gardeners place pine boughs over rose bushes for additional protection.  If we have a dry winter, winter watering is helpful.
 
Q:    I am going to move into a new home in a few weeks and the new home has lots of rose bushes that I want to transplant to another place in the yard.  I live in Melrose, New Mexico, and I was wondering if you can tell me when is the best time of year to dig them up and transplant and how do I go about it?  V. F., Melrose, NM; 9/28/05 
A:    Wait until late winter or early spring to transplant the rose bushes.  Water the roses the day before you transplant them.  Prepare the holes before digging up the roses. Using a spading fork, dig up the roses and plant them immediately.  Water them well and keep the soil slightly moist while they take root.
 
Q:    I bought my father 2 William Baffin climbers from a nursery in Ft. Collins several years ago and they have provided abundant blooms even during last year's drought. This year the foliage showed signs of chlorosis and no amount of fertilizer corrected the problem. Because some of the canes looked like they had succumbed to disease I pruned several of the thickest to 4 feet, leaving 2 of the healthiest, longest canes supported by a trellis. His home is in the Palmer Divide area around 7200 feet and the plants are located against an east facing stucco wall. The soil was well amended prior to planting and are watered at the base twice a week. To what can I attribute the chlorosis and what damage have I done by over pruning the one bush so severely? Can I do anything in preparation for winter to insure healthier plants next spring? C. M., Colorado Springs, 9/6/05
A:    To correct problems with chlorosis apply chelated iron.  To harden off plants in preparation for winter do not fertilize them past mid-August.  Also, begin to clip off spent flowers right below the blossom rather than at 5-leaflet leaves.  Gradually reduce watering.  Once the weather gets cold, pile soil or mulch over the crown area to protect it.  Rose collars will help keep the soil or mulch in place.  Spring is the best time to prune climbing roses.  They should be fertilized in spring and summer.
 
Q:    I just moved into a rental home that has a rose bush that's about 5 feet in height and fans out about 5 feet as well.  There are absolutely no blooms on the bush and I've noticed other rose bushes on my street with blooms on them.  What can I do to bring this rose bush back to it's full blooming potential?  I'm excited to see what kind of blooms it will have!  A. P., Denver, 8/31/05
A:    Roses bloom in different ways and times.  Some bushes bloom only once each season while others are repeat bloomers.  If the bush gets little sunlight it will produce few blooms.  To encourage bloom, prune the rose bush in spring just before it leafs out.  (Usually pruning can be done in mid to late April.)  Cut the canes back to about 2 1/2  to 3 feet.  Fertilize the rose in spring and summer.  Keep it well watered.
 
Q:    I have just bought a house in Boulder and am a rose fanatic. Here in Georgia I have been busy with lots of climbers and am hoping I will be able to re-create something in Boulder. Could you possibly advise me on any hardy repeat blooming roses for Boulder. I particularly enjoy climbing/rambling roses, repeat bloomers if possible, pinks, whites and reds preferable. Any advice/contacts would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks.  A. S., Atlanta, GA; 1/19/05
A:
    You will find growing roses a bit different here in Colorado.  On the positive side, roses tend to have fewer diseases due to the dry climate.  Hardiness is a factor, especially for climbing roses.  Therefore, you should avoid buying climbing sports of hybrid tea, floribunda or grandiflora roses.  Canadian roses are often successful here. 
    There are many resources available.  Harlequin's Gardens, a nursery in Boulder, specializes in roses. (See http://www.harlequinsgardens.com.)  I believe they sell a very useful booklet by the Denver Rose Society "Growing Roses in Colorado."  This is a "must have" for new residents who want to grow roses.  It provides information on when/how to plant, pruning info, pest control, etc.  Also, you might be interested in joining the Boulder Rose Society. (See http://www.boulderrose.org.)
     Some hardy climbers that are repeat bloomers include these:
      John Cabot -- deep pink
      William Baffin -- deep pink
      Blaze -- medium red
      New Dawn -- light pink fading to white
      Don Juan -- red
      Golden Showers -- yellow
      John Davis -- pink
      Louis Jolliet -- pink
 Good luck with your move and welcome to Colorado!

Q:    In Colorado when is it best to cut rose bushes back?  To what height?  Is it the same for hybrid roses?  B. W., Lakewood, 11/12/04
A:
    In Colorado roses are pruned in late April when the plants break dormancy.  Canes should be cut back to healthy wood, about 6" to 12" long.  When pruning, you should remove dead or badly damaged canes completely.  If you want large blooms on hybrid teas, leave only about three or four canes.  For more blooms, but smaller sized, leave five to seven canes.  You may leave more canes on other types of roses.
    To protect the roses in winter you may want to purchase rose collars, place them around the base of the plants and fill them with mulch.

Q:   I have a rose bush that I would like to get rid of and plant tomatoes!  What is the best was to eliminate it, roots and all?  K. M., Longmont, 10/9/02
A:  There is no easy way to get rid of the rose bush.  First, you will need to cut off all the canes down to the ground.  Then you will need to dig up the rootball.  If the plant has roots that have spread extensively, you may need to cut these from the rootball to make it easier to dig the rootball out.  After you have the rootball out you can dig up the soil and pull out the remaining roots.  These tasks will be easier if the soil is slightly moist.  Amend the soil with compost before planting tomatoes.

Q:   What time of year should you plant rose bushes?  What are the best type of roses for Colorado's soil?  J., Broomfield, 9/22/02
A:   Bareroot roses can be planted during winter or early spring as soon as the ground is no longer frozen.  It is best to plant them before the weather begins to warm up.  This allows the roots to become established before the plant leafs out.  Roses sold in containers should be planted after the danger of frost is past.  (This is around the middle of May along the Front Range.)  You may plant container roses during  summer also, but need to be sure they get enough water during hot, dry spells.
  Before planting roses, improve the soil by adding a two or three inch layer of compost and then mixing it into the soil thoroughly.  You may also want to mix in some super phosphate.  After planting the rose bushes you should place a layer of mulch over the root zone to help the soil retain moisture.
  Colorado's weather, more than its soil, is a concern when selecting roses.  For your location, choose roses that are hardy in USDA Hardiness zone 5 or lower.  Provided they are hardy here and are planted and cared for properly, many types of roses will perform well in Colorado.  For additional information and a list of some roses by name, please visit the CSU Cooperative Extension website at www.ext.colostate.edu.  Click on "Gardening" in the menu and then on "Fact sheets."  Click on "Flowers" and then on # 7.404 "Selecting and Planting Roses."

Q:   I need help.  I would like to grow TREE ROSES between my boxwoods along both sides of my front (southwest) facing walkway in Highlands Ranch.  I am particularly interested in planting a creamy white old fashioned quartered center rose, pref. w/ perfume.  I am from Australia, and want to replicate an English/Australian colonial style here.  So far, the boxwood hedge is starting to take shape, and survived well, but OHH! the roses, I desperately want to know if I can also work the roses into this dream garden!!!!!!
  Could you also suggest another evergreen, or deciduous bush w/ attractive winter 'skeleton', that likes dry conditions and full sun, to line the front of my verandah, which also has the same south west orientation mentioned above.
Thanking you in advance.  T. F., Highlands Ranch, 5/21/02
A:  One of the best sources for roses in your area is Tagawa Garden Center at 7711 South Parker Rd. in Aurora.  They can help you select tree roses that are suitable for the Colorado garden.
  I'm not sure how large you want the bushes to be that will line the front of the veranda.  If you want something evergreen you might consider one of the many types of junipers.

Q:   I have been growing roses for many years with rewarding success.  One problem I have never been able figure out is why a few buds will have a "bent over" / "drooping" neck - while the rest of the buds on the same bush are fine. Thank you, R. C.,  Raleigh, NC; 6/3/02
A:   There are several possible causes for drooping buds.  One possible cause is that the rose may be receiving insufficient water, causing the buds to wilt.  To make matters confusing, if the soil is saturated with too much water, wilting can occur.  Do the buds show any signs of damage such as distortion, brown streaks, or not opening?  If so, inspect the buds for tiny insects called thrips.  Sprays are available to control this insect.  Another more serious cause of drooping buds on roses is a disease called verticillium wilt.  Yellowing of lower leaves on a portion of the plant, die back of canes starting at the tips, and new canes with very pale foliage are additional symptoms.  Unfortunately, the plant should be dug up and destroyed if it has verticillium wilt.  This disease lives in the soil.  Remove all soil that came into contact with the roots and spray the hole with a fungicide.  Avoid planting roses or other plants susceptible to this disease in the area.

Q:    I live in Littleton, Colorado in the Ken Caryl area. Due to the hot weather in the past weeks, my rose bush has begun to sprout some leaves along one stem. But I still need to prune (the other main stem). Since we're in the hovering around freezing temps for several days, will there be any damage? And should I prune at all since there has been new growth?  What is the rule of thumb with rose bushes?  How does one prune a rose bush?  M. S., Littleton, 4/20/02
A:    You should prune roses in spring when the bushes break dormancy (leaves begin to form).  Avoid pruning before the third week of April because a late frost will damage new growth.  Remove old, dead and weak canes.  On Hybrid Tea roses leave five to seven healthy canes that you cut back to about 12 inches tall.  Leave more canes on Floribundas, Grandifloras and repeat-blooming Climbing roses.  Shrub and Old Garden roses need little pruning other than to shape them or to remove dead, weak and interfering canes. The remaining healthy canes should be pruned by cutting off any winter-killed portion.  Make cuts at an angle about one-fourth inch above an outward facing bud.  Pruning cuts may be sealed with a dab of white glue.

Q:    My grandmother in Pennsylvania grew beautiful shrub roses.  I would like to take a cutting of one of her bushes to grow in my Boulder shrub rose garden.  Can you tell me how I might do this, or point me to a "how to" book?
Many thanks.  S. T., Boulder, 4/5/02
A:    You can find several "how-to" articles on growing roses from cuttings on the American Rose Society website: www.ars.org.  Point the cursor to "All About Roses."  Click on "Rose Care Articles."  Scroll down and click on "Propagation of Roses."  You will find several articles listed that explain how to grow roses from cuttings.

Q:    What is your advice on pruning roses (when and how)?  N. S., Lakewood, 4/1/02
A: Prune roses in spring when the bush breaks dormancy (leaves begin to form).  Avoid pruning before the third week of April.  A late frost will damage new growth.  Remove old, dead and weak canes, leaving five to seven healthy canes on Hybrid Tea roses.  Leave more canes on Floribundas, Grandifloras and repeat-blooming Climbing roses.  Shrub and Old Garden roses need little pruning other than to shape them or to remove dead, weak and interfering canes. The remaining healthy canes should be pruned by cutting off any winter-killed portion.  Make cuts at an angle about one-fourth inch above an outward facing bud.  Pruning cuts may be sealed with a dab of white glue.

Q:    HI, I moved into a rental house here in Fort Collins last summer, that has a lovely tall pink rose bush in the yard.  According to one neighbor, the bush has been there at least 20 years.  I have looked through every rose book I can find and have not yet even figured out what class it fits into, much less figured out it's variety.  How can I find out what kind of rose it is?  Also, I want to take cuttings from it to grow in pots so I can take some with me when I move to a house of my own.  When is the best time of year to take cuttings in this area?  Thanks.  C. P., Fort Collins, 3/3/02
A:    I suggest that you consult the Larimer County CSU Cooperative Extension office to find out what kind of rose you have.  They are located at 1525 Blue Spruce in Fort Collins.  Take in a photo of the plant in bloom if possible.  Also take in a good-sized sample that includes blooms.
   Take cuttings when the rose bush is actively growing in late spring or summer.  It sounds as if this rose bush is a true treasure.  Good luck.

Q:   I am buying a rose bush for a friend to plant in her garden in memory of her daughter who died.  Do you know of any roses that have the name Dusty or Dana in them?  I am also looking for roses that bloom for a long time!  Thanks for your help.  P. P., Antioch, CA; 1/31/02
A:   I checked the American Rose Society website, Week's roses, and Jackson and Perkins roses, but did not find any with the name Dusty or Dana in them.  Jackson and Perkins has a rose named "Peace" that might be suitable.  It is a long-time favorite.  They also have a new rose called "Stairway to Heaven" that you might consider.  Jackson and Perkins also have a bronze rose marker with the phrase "Planted in loving memory" that you might like.  My Colorado Gardening website has a link to the Jackson and Perkins site that you can use.  Look for "Links" at the top of the home page.

Q:    I'm in the process of moving to Denver from Southern California.  I have a tree rose garden and want to continue to grow tree roses once I relocate.  Is it possible to grow tree roses in the Denver area?  What winter care do they require?  D. H., Fullerton, CA, 12/22/01
A:    It is possible, but a risk, to grow tree roses in Denver.  You will discover that few are offered for sale at local garden centers.  You will need to choose varieties that are hardy in USDA hardiness zone 5.  Plant them in an area of the yard that protects them from our strong winds.  Keep the tree roses well-watered, disease-free and pest-free because healthy, robust plants have a better chance of surviving winter here.
   Some gardeners plant tree roses in containers so they can move them to the garage during winter.  Others protect plants during winter by wrapping them from bottom to top with "tree wrap," enclosing the trunk with tar paper, covering the top with burlap, and building up an 8 - 10 inch mound of soil over the base of the plant.  A more drastic method of protection in colder areas is to loosen the roots on one side of the plant, dig a shallow trench on the opposite side, bend the tree rose over into the trench, stake it down and then bury it under several inches of soil.  That shouldn't be necessary in Denver! 
   If you decide to plant tree roses, I recommend that you start with only a few and experiment to see what methods prove successful in your yard before making a large investment.  Roses of any type can be finicky here.  The Denver Rose Society and local consulting rosarians will be happy to share their knowledge on growing roses in our challenging climate.  They have an informative booklet, "Growing Roses in Colorado." 

Q:    If I plant a rose bush against an arbor and/or trellis against my home, will the bush stay on the arbor/trellis or will it go up the house like a vine?  If so, what is a safe distance?  L. R., Boulder, 4/1/01
A:   A climbing rose bush will not climb up the side of a house the way some vines do. Once they get to the top of the trellis or arbor, the canes will drape over the arbor or bend outward from the trellis.  You will need to tie the canes loosely to the trellis or arbor to keep them in place.

Q:   I want to plant antique roses in my yard this year,.  Do you know of nurseries in the Denver area that sell antique roses?  E. H. R., Littleton, 2/7/01
A:   I contacted a few nurseries in the Denver area and asked if they would have old garden roses (antique roses) for sale this spring.  Tagawa Garden Center in Aurora (303-690-4722) said yes.  (They carry thousands of roses, including antique roses.)  Paulino Gardens (303-429-8062) responded no. Echter's Greenhouse & Gardens (303-424-7979) in Arvada said they'd probably have a few and to check back with them in late March or early April.  Welby Gardens (303-287-0365) said to contact them in late March to see if they have any.  
  If you don't mind driving a bit, Lauren Springer mentioned these as good sources in a 1998 Denver Post article on old garden roses:  Harlequin's Market (303-939-9403) in Boulder and Windswept Farm (970-484-1124) in Fort Collins.  
  I recommend that you call these garden centers to verify they have old garden roses in stock before making a trip there to purchase roses in April or May.

Q:    I forgot to prune my roses this fall.  I live in Loveland.  Should I do it now or wait until spring?  R. T., Loveland, 1/7/01
A:    Do not worry if you didn't prune your roses this fall.  Fall pruning isn't essential.  Do not prune your roses in winter or early spring.  The time for major pruning of roses in Colorado is late April or early May when the rose bushes come out of dormancy and the danger of killing frost is almost past.

Q:    I live in Denver, Colorado, and just moved into my first new home.  My mother came for a visit from California and brought some rose cuttings from her yard from 3 different rose bushes.  The cuttings are doing well and are in small pots inside the house right now.  I water them constantly but would really like to plant them.  Is it too cold?  How can I tell if they're ready to plant?  How do I prepare the soil and what side of the yard should I plant them -- do they need a ton of sunlight?  I really want them to survive since they were brought from my old home -- any help you could give me would be wonderful!  I'm very new to gardening and need all the help I can get! 
K. J., Denver, 12/6/00 
A:    It is too cold to plant the cuttings outdoors now.  You should keep the potted cuttings indoors during winter and early spring.  Be sure they get plenty of light and water.  Harden off the young bushes in early May by setting them outdoors for a few hours each day, gradually extending the number of hours they spend outside.  The potted roses can be planted after the danger of frost is over -- usually around Mother's Day.
   Dig a hole at least twice the width of the pot and about as high as the pot.  Carefully remove the potted rose from the pot and place it in the hole.  The plant should sit about 1 or 2 inches deeper in the hole than in the container.  To refill the hole make a mixture of one part compost and two parts soil from the hole.  Stir 1/3 cup super phosphate into the mixture.  Fill the hole and water well.  Water the newly planted bushes every day or two for the first week and then gradually reduce watering.
   Try to select a site in your yard that gets at least six hours of full sun each day during the summer.  Roses like sun.  An eastern exposure often works well.  Growing roses can be a challenge in Colorado.  I wish you luck.    

Q:    I have a question about preparation for the winter.  How short do I cut my roses and do I need to pack them with anything (leaves, etc.)?  E., Denver, 10/28/00 
A:    If you wish, you may cut back rose canes to about three feet in preparation for winter. Do not cut back the canes of climbing roses, shrub roses or Old Garden roses at this time. Mound an 8-10" layer of mulch over the base of the plant. You may want to use a rose collar to keep the mulch in place. 

Q:    I have 2 raised bed gardens (8' x 8') that I plan on using primarily for roses.  The soil has been amended and is watered by a "dripper system".  What other perennials will do well with the roses?  I was thinking of Asiatic lilies and perhaps a peony plant.  I could also add annuals.  I had an Obedient Plant in there this year but it grew too large and tried to take over the space.  P. F., Colorado Springs, 8/17/00
A:
    When you select plants as companions for roses be sure that they have the same growing requirements as roses:  a sunny location, good drainage, soil amended with organic matter, and regular watering.  Select plants whose leaves and flowers complement the size and color of the roses, rather than over-whelming them.  Plants with blue or white flowers are popular companions.  Also, plants with silver or gray leaves offer a nice contrast.  You can use annuals and perennials as well as small shrubs.
 
Sweet alyssum (Lobularia)            Snapdragon
Candytuft (Iberis)                          Cranesbill Geranium
Bellflower (Campanula)                  Dusty Miller (Centaurea)
Silver King Artemesia                    Balloon Flower (Platycodon)
Silver Mound Artemesia                 Nierembergia
Lobelia                                         Blue Salvia (Salvia farinacea)
Ageratum                                     Daylily (Hemerocallis)
Lavender                                      Coralbells (Heuchera sanguinea)
 
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