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Hybrid Tea Roses

Pruning and Using Hybrid Tea Roses in the Garden


AARS Winner Rosa 'Mr. Lincoln'

AARS Winner Rosa 'Mr. Lincoln'

Courtesy of the All-America Rose Selections

Using in the Garden

Hybrid tea roses are the plants used in traditional rose gardens. They are often planted in rows, by themselves, because it’s easier to care for them that way. Space them anywhere from 18 - 36 inches apart, depending on the growth habit, and keep weed free.

Hybrid teas are grown for their blossoms, not their landscape appeal. They can work unexpectedly well in a border, especially with a low growing perennial covering their gangly stems. Artemisia, true geraniums, lavender and nepeta works well as partners with hybrid teas.


Pruning hybrid teas is not unlike pruning other rose types. If you are regularly cutting the blossoms, you will actually have less pruning to do. When selecting hybrid teas, keep an eye out for some of the thornless varieties. Most have the word ‘smooth’ somewhere in their name. Thornless takes some of the pain out of pruning.
  • Prune in early spring, before new growth.

  • When cutting roses, be sure to leave a few leaves on the stem.

  • Make cuts about 1/4 inch above an outward facing bud.

  • Make cuts at a 45 degree angle, so that water runs off.

  • First cut out anything dead, diseased or damaged canes.

  • Cut out scrawny, spindly canes of less than ½ inch in diameter.

  • Prune remaining stronger canes by about a third of their length, down to 12-24 inches. Hard pruning like this encourages strong stems and large flowers.

  • Prune to open and shape the plant and allow the plant to put its energy into fewer flowers.

Judging Great Rose Blooms

Even an imperfect rose blossom is a pleasure, but if you get the bug to compete with more than your neighbors, here are the criteria hybrid teas are judged by. Each quality is graded on a specified number of points with the highest combined total of all points being 100.

Most important features:

  • Shape or form
  • Color

Then comes Substance:

  • Freshness and sheen

Other considerations rated:

  • Balance and proportions
  • Size
  • Stems and Foliage

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