Tips for Choosing your Tea Roses

Tea roses epitomize our notion of rose beauty: they produce large, often fragrant single blooms dazzle us with their velvety texture, vivid color, and simple elegance. If you'd like to add this classic rose to your garden, be prepared to be dazzled by the sheer variety.

There are literally hundreds of different tea rose varieties. They come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Here are ten tips that will make the process of choosing a tea rose a bit easier.

1) Read the label carefully. Nearly all commercial tea roses come with a label or catalog description. If you experience love at first sight, resist the urge to buy without considering carefully the label information. The last thing you want to do is choose a tea rose that you love, but which will likely not thrive in your garden.

2) Choose a tea rose that will thrive in your climate. If you live in a mild climate, for instance, choose a tea rose is heat tolerant. If you live in a humid climate, choose a tea rose that is resistant to mildew and other fungal diseases. Perhaps most importantly, evaluate the plant's cold hardiness. Most roses do not fare well in freezing temperatures, so make sure your tea rose can survive a cold winter before you put it in the ground.

3) Be aware of growth habits. Is the tea rose a climber? Is it a rambler? Does it spread sideways rapidly? Will it make a good groundcover? Visualize where the tea rose will be planted in your garden, and what direction it might grow. Also, make note of its average height and width. You don't want to mistakenly plant a tea rose that grows too high for its location.

4) A perfume so sweet. Do you want a tea rose whose fragrance lingers in the summer air? Or does the mere thought make you want to sneeze? Some tea roses don't have much of a fragrance at all, and some are incredibly fragrant. What type of tea rose you choose depends on your specific likes and needs.

5) Consider whether you plan on using your tea rose to produce cut flowers. Some tea roses are better suited for cutting and putting on display, while others have petals that are fragile or dry quickly after cutting. If having cut roses is important to you, make sure to research your top choices.

6) Consider whether the tea rose varieties you are interested in are disease resistant. Tea roses are all prone to disease, but some varieties are more resistant than others. If the mere idea of a mildew infection or Japanese Beetles infestation makes you cringe, consider choosing a tea rose that is widely regarded as disease resistant.

7) Think about the amount of care you can provide. Certain tea roses demand more attention and care to thrive than others. If you think you may not be able to give a tea rose variety the attention it needs, try to find a variety that can thrive with a minimal amount of attention.

8) Consider color. Even though all tea roses are beautiful, you may want to consider how different color types of tea roses will look in your garden. Visualize the tea rose in full bloom. A yellow climbing rose against a blue wall, for instance, can create a stunning display each year.

9) Buy only healthy-looking plants. If you are selecting a tea rose from your local nursery or garden center, choose a plant with at least three strong canes. Avoid buying tea roses with brown roots, shriveled foliage, or damaged branches. Choose tea roses with bright white roots and bright buds at the side of each stem.

10) Purchase your tea roses only from reputable, well-known dealers. Don't attempt to save money by purchasing your tea roses from the back of a truck. You don't want to take the risk of introducing a sick plant to your garden. Disease among roses can spread quickly with ease. Instead, visit your local nursery and pick only the most healthy-looking plants. If you order your tea roses by mail order, deal only with reputable dealers. The extra bit of money will be well worth it when you experience your season of blooms.

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