Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Growing Roses In the Shade

I am not a big fan of roses. Besides the fact you have to have perfect growing conditions (full sun, fertile well drained beautiful soil) to be very successful with roses, you must continually maintain roses by spraying and fertilizing and they still get diseases and get attacked by insects. Grrrrr!

Here at Tiger Gardens there is absolutely no spot in the yard that gets full sun. At best, when the sun is at it's highest, my garden might get 6 hours of sun. Talk about challenging! I learned pretty fast that a rose garden was not in the cards for me:(

Well, there are actually a few roses growing here. They are here only because they do well with no extra pampering from me. I do not spray, occasionally I add extra fertilizer, and I most definitely have not cut down trees so these roses can get the full sun in order for them to grow to their fullest. What? You just can't grow roses without full sun! Yes, actually you can. There are some roses that are okay with some shade-albeit very few.

The first one (and it is rightly pictured first) is 'The Fairy' rose. It is a polyantha rose that has been around in gardens for many, many years. It requires very little attention, no additional fertilizer and does well in part sun. I love it! I shear my two back by half in early spring and that is all the extra care it gets.
I wish I could name all of the other roses I grow here, but I cannot. Perhaps someone recognizes them? The second pictured rose is fragrant and blooms reliably each year. It grows in an area where it gets perhaps four hours of sun, yet does well. It is a larger shrub type than the Fairy, but is not a hybrid tea. Yes, the picture is from last year because this post has been in the hopper that long. It is still a good picture and I chose not to upload another one to Picasa since my account is getting full. The third rose pictured is a David Austin rose. It is 'Falstaff'. I always wondered why it did so well in the shade here at Tiger Gardens. Once I found out 'Falstaff' was a David Austin rose, I realized why. David Austin roses are reputed to be excellent roses and easy to grow with great fragrances. I am a believer! This 'Falstaff' will be hard pressed to get 4 hours of sun, yet does well and is rarely bothered by diseases like black spot. It does occasionally get it though.
The last one is what I think was a volunteer to my garden. I am not sure. Initially I had visions of a hybrid tea rose garden, but quickly had to lower my sights once I realized hybrid teas would not do well here. I quickly ripped them all out and gave them away. This rose may have been one I planted during that period when I was collecting roses. I am not sure. But this rose does well in about 4 hours of sun too. It is growing along a fence and bloomed it's little heart out this year. It grows slowly, probably owing to the fact it is not in full sun, but is reliable and not bothered by diseases.

If you wish to grow roses and do not have ideal conditions, try some of the non-hybrid tea roses. Any of the older varieties should give you better luck than hybrid teas. Trial and error is not the best way to select roses, but sometimes it's all we have....

in the garden....


  1. I hear ya, Tina, roses do require extra maintenance! But when it's gloom and doom outside(dead of winter), I have visions of glorious roses and order them haphazardly from those enticing catalogs!! I'm always optimistic when they start sprouting and looking so healthy but by mid bloom they all suffer from aphids and spots...even with sprays..and I wonder why I keep trying! It's great your gettings such pretty blooms from less than idea sun but that's what make gardening fun..the unexpected! 'Falstaff' is beautiful!

  2. The Arboretum has Fairy Rose, and now that you mention it, I don't think it is one in full sun (others are!) I love roses, but don't have the room or the time to devote to them. Sure would like cut roses in my house though! :)

  3. I love fragrant roses and think that a garden with a rose draped on a fence and over an arbors is wonderful, but I don't want to do extra maintenance! So, I will admire them from my blog or visits to gardens! For full disclosure~~ I have Fairy Queen; she is no problem, sits in about 4 hours of sun and only requires deadheading! gail

  4. Trial and erroris right! I had beautiful hybrid teas then purchased one with blackspot, had to cut everyone down and when they came back, they did so from below the graph. The best rose is a given rose.

  5. Hi Tina,
    Those are some very pretty roses!

    I'm not a big fan of roses for the same reasons. Only my vegetable garden gets 6 hours of sunshine and in Florida 6 hours is considered full sun. I did just recently purchase a vining Louis Phillipe rose. It will grow in shade or sun. I think it's considered an antique rose. I'm excited to see if it likes it here. It's always fun to give something new a try anyway.

    How nice you have a volunteer. Enjoyed all the pretty colors in your post today, Tina. And I bet it smells really lovely around those bloomers, too.

  6. I only grow roses that dont need any fuss. I give them rose fertiliser twice a year and cut them back when they have finished flowering. They dont do too bad.

  7. I love LOVE David Austin roses, that Falstaff is so rich, you can almost smell it over the internet!
    They say that Zephrine Drouhin does well in the shade, though I have no experience with it.

  8. One does hear an awful lot about roses needing full sun... but I know from experience that other sun-loving pants CAN adapt to shade. Thanks for highlighting which roses do!

  9. Tina girl .. one of the first things I did this morning (and it is gross) I was taking pictures and found aphids on one of my new Morden shrubs (small and care free almost!) .. scraping those little so and so blanking things off with my fingers .. eeuuuwww ! next I will get the hose and blast them too!
    Your roses are so pretty and you found a way to have them in your garden : )

  10. Looks to me like those roses just really want to be in your garden. They look lovely, I especially like the one climbing the fence!

  11. Tina,
    The roses you had are lovely. I must say when I say your title of "Growing Roses in the Shade" I thought "yeah, right!" You proved it can be done with minimal effort and great results.

    As you know, I cheat with roses and grow a few Knock Outs. I had to brutally whack off all the blooms a few days ago as the Japanese Beetles have invaded. I try to knock them off and drown them, but they still get the upper-hand. When they've finished, I'll have to cut off all the destroyed foliage and the KOs will come back again for late summer and fall.


  12. Nice job discussing roses for shade. We forget not all roses require six hours of sun (or more.) I have a thing for roses, with a formal rose garden (on an organic spray program), arbor roses, trellis roses. I can't say what rose is my favorite, but I do fancy the climbing rose Don Juan. That color red speaks to me. H.

  13. We only have one rose even though we get lots of sun. Unfortunately the cabbage loopers decided it was worth munching on. It doesn't look very happy right now!

  14. Tina,
    We learned a long time ago that Hybrids were the wrong way to go. We are currently putting old climbers into the garden. One day it will be almost all shade and they may not do well then, but we'll deal with it when the day comes.

  15. I'm with you on the roses. I have Fairy also. Falstaff looks delishious.

  16. I have 70+ hardy roses and use no sprays or anything else. They do get a LOT of sun on my hill, but they have to survive our winters. The Fairy is a champ! Come and see the Virtual Rose Viewing on June 28
    Unfortunately Virtual lemonade and cookies don't work well.

  17. Interesting topic. When I was in my rose obsession period I researched roses for every site. The species rose setigera does very well in shade and seldom is bothered by disease. Its blooms are single. Alberic Barbier, Veilchenblau, and many hybrid musk roses do very well in as little as a couple hours of sun.

    Tina, Darlow's Enigma would be another good choice for your garden. A vigorous climber with nice fragrance and disease resistance.

  18. The only roses I have here are the Knockouts for the very reasons you mention, Tina. I love roses, I admire them in other people's gardens, and I'm always drawn to their fragrance, but I know my limitations. I would love to have a climbing rose in a shady area, though--any suggestions?

  19. Hi Tina, I have a couple roses {floribunda & hybrid tea} that brother sent me. They do good & get the afternoon sun.
    That crazy thing on my fence & arbor doesn't get but a little midday sun. All are doing good. I guess my threat helped the fence & arbor rose as they did bloom quite well this Spring.
    Then the rains came. Ruined blooms for sure.

  20. Good morning all!

    Lynn, Oh yes, can't beat fresh roses from our own gardens. I just wish I had that full sun. Falstaff is very nice! Easy too.

    Linda, The Fairy grows well in Texas. I remember Aunt Debbie posted on hers. I love it! Easy to share too as it roots along the way.

    Gail, All gardens should have at least one rose, despite the issues. Glad you have one!

    Dawn, Oh yes, I know that trial and error. Not the best way to garden but sometimes the only way. Your roses are great!

    Meems, Happy 2 Year Blogiversary! What a wonderful post honoring it too! I can see how 6 hours is plenty of sun in Florida. Whew! you have to be very hardy to love it as much as roses. Your Louis Phillippe rose sounds nice! Veggie gardens are good spots for them.

    Helen, Yes, some roses are so easy and any blooms they give is such a reward. So glad you have some too!

    Janet, I somehow wound up with this rose from a big box store. I was so happy to learn it is a David Austin rose, that might be why I bought it. It is easy and more forgiving than the hybrids. A nice scent too. The Zephrine Droughn is a rose I'd love to grow if I could.

    Monica, Thank goodness sun loving plants adapt to shade. If not we'd all be a sad. The most colorful plants are sun lovers. Can't say as I blame them but we humans need the shade.

    Joy, Oh yes, those pesky aphids. They sure love new and succulent growth. Yes, I'd just hose them off and go on. Not too bad. I am glad I have a few roses too. Not so many but a few. All gardens need one at least.

    Heather, That fence climber was quite nice this year. I hope it continues to grow. Too much shade here:( but it hangs tough.

    Cameron, I was thinking of those pesky beetles. We have spotted them in the area here too. The period just before they arrive is so nice then blah for a while. Grrrr! What a shame they do so much damage. Maybe it won't be a bad year? One can hope.

    Helen, Roses are special indeed. It has been rough for me to adapt to not having a formal rose garden. I sure had those visions. I liked all your climbers and they looked most happy at your place!

    Dave, Those cabbage loopers are hungry this year. They did get my hollyhocks too. Grrr!

    Jamie and Randy, I say don't worry about the shade until it affects the plants. Denial is sometimes the best defense or we'd worry ourselves to death. It will be a while before you have too much shade but in the meantime enjoy those roses!

    Donna, You just can't beat the Fairy! It's the best!

    Commonweeder, I might have to get some lemonade and cookies here then I'll really get the experience:) Hmmmm. Sounds like fun!

    Marnie, I should've known you when I was looking for climbers! I think I wound up with Alberic Barbieri and yes, it does do good in shade. I'll look into Darlow's enigma because I think Albert may have to go bye bye. The thorns are killing us. I didn't add it in here though. Probably should have. I'm going to look into rosa setigera. Sounds neat. You are such a smart gardener! Thanks for the types! So many need this information as roses can be daunting without the right kind.

    Rose, Check out Marnie's suggestions. Sounds like lots of folks need to know these cultivars. I have ONE knockout, a new addition to a new sunnier garden. I hope it does well. So far not so well, but I don't have much patience. A bad thing for a gardener.

    Lola, I remember your roses! How is your black one doing? Great I bet. Rains are great in June! I have been delighted by them here. More expected today. I'll be working on college papers:((((( so it can rain rain rain! Almost done planting but not quite there. Stay cool!

  21. I'll be bookmarking this post Tina! I would love to have some roses here, and I know just where to pick up 'the fairy' with a nice discount. ;)

    I have a couple of mini-roses that are pretty happy (except for the black spot that plagues them every summer,) with only morning sun. Mine are six years old, despite their reputation for being short-lived here.

    Some of your readers may already know about this, but I've been reading a lot about milk as a prevention for black spot, powdery mildew, and other fungal diseases, and saw it recommended on a gardening segment on a morning news show recently. Opinions vary on what milk/water ratio to use, but spraying on susceptible plants is supposed to work very well. Here's a link to one of the best papers I've found on the subject:


  22. They all look great!! I love roses but only have 4 of them. My bush out by the road is blooming now and the seven sisters is starting to put out buds. They both are such old types that they really smell so intense. Can't beat em.

  23. hi tina, I love them, it s my favorite time, the time of roses !!! liebe grüße von Kathrin

  24. I've wanted to have some roses in the back yard which does not get full sun. Good to see that 'The Fairy' could handle it back there. 'Falstaff' is beautiful. I don't do much for my roses aside from dead heading them. If I ever have the right space I'd love to have a big rose garden.

  25. I am a believer in the non-hybrid teas too Tina. I bought my first David Austin rose this spring and now I want more. We are rarely plagued with the problems roses have in other climates because ours is so dry and the humidity is extremely low. (well, every year but this year!) I think you've managed to have a few very well despite the lack of sun.

  26. Hi Tina, I agree, and avoid Hybrid Teas like the plague. Chinas, teas (which, sadly, don't really like my farm, I think it's too wet in the winter) and polyanthas are what I've usually seen recommended for the Southeast, along with Knockout, species and some shrub roses. Rugosas have perfomed really well in my garden, somewhat to my surprise.

    Mermaid is another rose that does well with quite a bit of shade. In fact I actually prefer the flower color with some shade; the petals don't fade and stay a buttery yellow.

  27. I'm not a big fan of planting/maintaining rose-plants. I have a few potted ones but one pink variety is fragrant. I like your David Austin rose. Your roses look fine---and pretty!

  28. I have pretty much the same conditions as you, and I grow my roses in the sunniest spot I can find. Which is why I do not have too many. I find the Knockouts do well even when not in full sun, and I agree with you about The Fairy. Mine is doing well in a fairly shady spot. I don't spray,either. If it can't survive with minimal care, out it goes.

    Always Growing

  29. Tina the black {dk red} one is doing great. Blooming it's little head off. Just need to enlarge it's bed.

    Hi Skeeter, Jean, Dawn, Nina. Hope you all are enjoying our weather. 90º now. May get a degree or 2 higher later.

  30. 95 degrees here and Hot Hot Hot! I melted just going from the grocery store door to the car! Thank goodness for Air Conditioning! Dont know how I survived without it for 6 years in Germany!

    No roses in my gardens and I am sure my grandmother is not resting well in her spot due to this. She had a beautiful Rose Garden and it always smelled so nice and she spent a lot of time in it. I dont like to spend much time tending to anything so I dont have rose's. My brother has produced some beautiful rose's in his yard but not me.... Did I mention it was hot today? That is why I dont have many plants which need attention.

    The Japanese Beetles showed up yesterday! Arg, now I must get my pinching gloves ready to rumble with them....

    Keep cool Lola, I know it must be hot in FL if it is here. Hopefully we will have a shower this evening to cool things off a bit and water the gardens. I sure dont want to drag that hose around again. Jean, I am thinking Maine sounds good about now. Too hot too early this year for this gal….

  31. Hi Tina~
    I think your roses are lovely! Especially the Falstaff...I just love the look of the old roses. I can almost smell the scent of a rose when I look at your photos. Delightful!

  32. You roses are so beautiful, I am sure it will win the June Roses Contest:

  33. Linda, Thanks for the link. It will for sure help out folks dealing with funguses in the garden.

    Mom, Love your rugosa! I bet it is most beautiful right now.

    Kathrin, Rose time is indeed a nice time.

    Catherine, Your roses are all most gorgeous!

    Kathleen, I so enjoy hearing about your weather since I've never been to Colorado. Sounds ideal for roses. Can't beat those David Austin ones for sure.

    Sweetbay, yes, knowing the roses in pretty important. I will have to Google Mermaid too. I've learned so much about rose tolerances for shade. Thanks!

    Kanak, Thanks so much! They are sweet when in great shape for sure.

    Ana-Maria, Thanks!

    Jan, You just have to love those Knockouts and the Fairy. The easy ones are best for our humid climates for sure.

    Lola, Great!

    Skeeter, try some Knockout roses when you can find them on sale. Well worth it but yes, the J. beetles do get even them. Cameron is having that issue now. I think your grandmother would surely forgive you for not having a rose with all those other beautiful plants-especially the crepes and butterfly bushes. Stay cool...

    Karrita, Oh yes, the scent is wonderful. I love the fullness of Falstaff. It is literally packed with petals. Can't beat David Austin roses I think. Thanks.

    Vuejardin, No, my roses will never win, remember I am so not a rose gardener. They are only there for sentimental reasons and only because I think all gardens need at least one for romance. I bet there will be some awesome entries in GGW's contest though. Good luck to you!

  34. I had no idea you could grow any type of roses in so little sun. I may have to try these two out. I don't have really any areas with much sun left (all the beds are pretty full). The two roses I do have I'm ready to pull up because the foliage is a mess and I'm sicking of looking them they way they are. I love roses but I hate caring for them. -Jackie

  35. My grandfather had a fabulous rose garden (at least as I remember it) planted over our septic tank. :-) My experience with roses has been similar to others. However, when I keep track of what's blooming and for how long, the roses are always at or near the top of the list. I will definitely check out David Austin now that I've read your experience with them. I've had good luck with OSOEasy roses Paprika. Thanks for sharing your shade tolerant roses.

  36. I'm in love with that Falstaff guy!

    I only have 3 rose plants here and of the three, only one is doing well. Maybe I should spray for fungus this year. I do love them so will be on the lookout for the non-hybrid teas.

  37. I agree, most roses are not worth the trouble! I just have one, in almost full shade, and now several self sown seedlings of rosa glauca (aka rosa rubrifolia) that has no problem coping with the shade and lack of any care at all. That's a rose can deal with.

  38. I agree, most roses are not worth the trouble! I just have one, in almost full shade, and now several self sown seedlings of rosa glauca (aka rosa rubrifolia) that has no problem coping with the shade and lack of any care at all. That's a rose can deal with.

  39. Hi tina.

    How beautiful your roses are!
    I admire, admire, and admire them!!

    As for sending hydrangea small shrubs or baby hydrangea trees to you, I wish I could, but after checking out the possibilities, I found it very difficult to send them to you. One of the reasons is plant quarantines. It takes a few days to pass on both sides; Japan and US. Another reason is watering. You know hydrangeas need much water. I'm afraid they would die in the course of the quarantines and shipping.

    If I can get some seeds from them in summer, I can send them to you, though I have never collected their seeds before. Hydrangea seeds are not sold in Japan but some people say it is possible to collect seeds from the plants. If you want them, please don't hesitate to ask me.

    Have a nice day!

  40. Jackie, it is most difficult to grow roses in shade-but a few manage-albeit reluctantly:)

    Kathy, It is a funny thing about roses, they never seem to go out of fashion-always they have been in gardens. A wonderful thing for sure.

    JGH, Roses are wonderful. Three are about the right number for a garden for sure. Glad you like Falstaff.

    Megan, I'm not familiar with rosa glauca. I'll have to give it a peek. Sounds great in full shade!

    Sapphire, You are very kind. No need to send me any seeds or hydrangeas. I'll enjoy them on your lovely blog. You have a great day too!

  41. All great choices, I really need to look at some of the David Austins for my garden. Those hybrid teas drive me crazy with their finicky ways. ;)

  42. Amazing! I've been fighting my two shade-growing black spot-infested roses forever! I'm am so impressed by these shade blooming beauties! I'll have to look for some shade tolerant roses, I've read the climbing iceberg is, but I've had such I bad time with the ones I already have I'm not sure if I'm ready to try my luck!