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Hybrid Tea Roses

Selecting, Growing and Caring for Hybrid Tea Roses


1946 AARS Winner - Rosa 'Peace'

1946 AARS Winner - Rosa 'Peace'

Courtesy of the All America Rose Selection

Hybrid tea rose, a cross between hybrid perpetuals and old fashioned tea roses, are rose royalty. They are the most popular rose in the world and perhaps the most popular flower. Hybrid teas have all the virtues you look for in a flower: beauty, fragrance and easy care.

What Makes Hybrid Tea Roses Different from Other Roses?

Hybrid teas generally produce only one blossom at the end of the stem, rather than clusters of flowers. They have an open rather than bushy habit. Virtually all are repeat bloomers throughout the growing season and offer some degree of fragrance.

The flowers on hybrid tea roses may have over 60 petals and be as large as 5 inches across. A signature of hybrid teas is the long, pointed buds that open by slowly unfurling. Plants will grow anywhere from 3-6 feet tall, depending on the variety and the growing conditions. The long, strong stems make them great cut flowers. Hybrid teas have been cultivated in almost every color except blue, with many extraordinary bi-colors to chose from.

Choosing the Right Hybrid Tea for You

As with any other type of plant, not all hybrid teas are created equal. However, the idea that hybrid teas are fussier than other rose types is unwarranted. The key, as always, is to choose a variety suited to your climate and zone.

  • If your summers are humid, look for mildew resistance.

  • Where summers are dry, look for heat tolerance and vigorous root systems.

  • Be extra certain of zone ratings if you live where winters are harsh and provide extra protection. Roses with thick petals are hardier in variable weather and last longer as cut flowers.

Planting Hybrid Tea Roses

If your rose plants come bare root, remove the packing around the roots and soak them in a bucket of water for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

  • Be sure the soil in the planting area is loose and rich in organic matter.

  • Dig a hole large enough to spread out the roots, usually 12-18 inches in diameter.

  • Make a cone-shaped mound with soil, in the center of the hole and spread the roots out over the mound.

  • Check the depth of the rose in the hole by placing a shovel handle across the hole.

  • As with many cultivated flowers, hybrid teas are bud grafted onto hardy, disease resistant root stock. The bud union, the visible knob at the base of the plant. In warm climates the bud union should be 1-2 inches above soil level. In colder climates, bury the bud union 1-2 inches below ground level. This union should always be protected in cold winters.

  • Fill the hole half way with soil and water well to remove any air pockets.

  • Finish filling with soil and water again.

  • Once the rose is planted you can prune the top growth.

Watering Your Roses

As with most garden plants, an inch or two of water a week is usually sufficient. Of course this depends on your climate and growing conditions. Hot locations and sandy soil will need more frequent watering than cool, coastal regions. A better gage: If the top 3 inches of soil are dry, it’s time to water.

  • Water the soil, not the leaves, to prevent disease.

  • Water deeply to encourage roots growth. Strong, deep roots will help your roses survive periods of drought.

Feeding Hybrid Teas

Hybrid tea roses, being repeat bloomers, are heavy feeders and benefit from regular applications of food.

  • Start in early spring either a month before new growth or when you remove winter protection

  • Continue feeding weekly or every other week, depending on the fertilizer being used.

  • Choose a balanced fertilizer or one labeled for roses.

  • Hybrid tea roses like a slightly acid soil (6.0 - 6,5 pH).

  • Iron is especially important if the soil’s pH is too high. If the leaves turn yellow with green veins, use an iron supplement.

  • Magnesium sulphate (Epson salt) is thought to intensify flower color and encourage flowering canes. If your soil is already high in magnesium, adding more won’t help. If not, scratch in 1/4 to ½ cup per plant once or twice a year and water well.

  • Stop fertilizing about 6 weeks before your first expected frost date. You don’t want tender new growth on your plants that will be damaged by a change in weather.

Mulching Rose Bushes

Mulch to cool the roots and conserve water.

  • Add a 3-4 inch layer of mulch in the spring, when removing winter protection.

  • In warmer climates, mulch when the leaf buds begin to swell.

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