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Rose - (Terms to Use)

Rose terms commonly associated with gardening and growing roses.  This list will help with the understanding of roses by knowing the correct terms.


Annual - a plant that completes its life cycle in one growing season.


Asexual Production – the producing of new plants by any method but seeds.


Balled – a term used to describe a rose bud that has not opened properly and has rotted.


Bare Root - a dormant, pruned plant that is sold without soil.


Basal Break – a strong, new cane growing from the bud union.


Biennial - a plant that completes its life cycle in two growing seasons.


Blind Shoot - a non-flowering growth that must be removed to enable the plant to expend its energy on creating flowers rather than foliage.


Botanical Name - the Latin, scientific name of a plant, which includes the genus and species.


Bud Union - the swelling on the bottom of a plant stem where the graft is joined with the rootstock.


Climber - a vigorously growing variety of rose that has canes of up to 20 feet in length. Climbers are often sports of bush forms of Hybrid Teas and Floribundas. Training the long canes in a horizontal position will produce more blooms. A climber does not attach itself but must be tied onto a trellis or support.


Cultivar - a contraction of the term “cultivated variety”. A plant that has been bred or cultivated by man and is not found growing wild in nature.


Deadhead - to prune off faded flower heads. Cutting back the stem to an outward facing bud will encourage the plant to make more flower buds. Unless you desire ornamental hips in the fall, all roses should be regularly deadheaded to prolong the growing season.


Dieback - when tips, shoots or canes die, due to disease or damage.


Disbudding - removing excess buds to encourage fewer but larger flower blooms.


Dormancy - the temporary stop in growth during the winter months.


Floribunda - produce clusters of flowers all season long and are generally bushier and more disease resistant than Hybrid Teas. They usually grow to about 3 feet high.


Graft - the variety that was used to insert into the rootstock so that they join together and grow.


Grandiflora - tall and vigorous up to 8 feet tall, they have the flower form of the Hybrid Tea but the hardiness and clustering of the Floribunda.


Hardiness - the resilience of a plant to cold, drought or disease.


Heirloom - a plant or seed variety that has been passed down through the generations.


Heirloom Roses - another term for antique or old roses; those that were introduced before 1867.


Hips - the seedpod or fruit of the rose. Hips are produced in a wide assortment of bright fall colors and shapes and are generally more predominant in old garden roses that flower once a year.


Hybrid - the offspring that is the result of the crossing of two different species, cultivars or varieties; this is usually produced artificially in cultivation.


Mulch - an organic material, such as pine needles, home compost, rotted manure, grass clippings, shredded leaves, shredded bark or straw which protects the plant from weeds, water evaporation and changes in soil temperature and enriches and improves the texture and structure of the soil.


Old Garden Rose - the types of roses that existed before 1867. Most bloom only once and are very fragrant.


Own-root - a rose that grows on its own roots, propagated through cuttings or seeds, rather than being grafted onto rootstock.


Perennials - a plant that flowers and lives for many years, sometimes dying down in the winter and coming up again in the spring.


Procumbent - a plant that trails along the ground.


Ramblers - Ramblers are not sports like climbers; they are a distinct type of rose. Ramblers have flexible canes and flower once in early summer on canes that grew the previous year. They are very vigorous and can grow 30 feet in every direction.


Remontant - a plant that blooms continuously or is repeat blooming.


Rootstock - the understock or base of the plant onto which the variety of rose is grafted. Some common rootstocks are Dr. Huey, Multiflora, and Rosa Canina.


Rose Propagation - to dig up rooted shoots from the main plant or to take cuttings of a specimen plant.


Self-sowing - plants that propagate themselves by dropping seeds to produce new plants the next year.


Shovel Pruning - digging up and discarding an unwanted plant from the garden.


Soil Amendment - any organic material that is added to the soil to improve and enrich its texture, nutrition and draining quality.


Soil pH - the measurement of the alkalinity or acidity of the soil with 0 being acidic and 14 being alkaline. Roses seem to do their best in soil that is a little on the acidic side - 6.5 pH.


Species Roses - roses that grow in the wild.


Sport - an unusual change in growth or color that can occur on an established variety, usually the result of a natural mutation. A climbing rose is an example of a growth sport.


Spray - a group of blooms on a single stem.


Standard - a standard is another term for tree rose. A variety of rose is grafted onto an understock stem.


Sucker - An unwanted growth that comes from below the bud union on a grafted rose. This is the growth of the understock and must be removed. Suckers usually have leaves of a different color and shape than that of the cultivar. It is important to rip off the sucker directly from the rootstock; simply cutting it off will stimulate it to regrow.


Wind-rock - winter winds can loosen the roots of roses making them more susceptible to damage. Shortening the long canes of roses in the fall will reduce the risk.





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