Tree roses are beautiful, but often delicate, and wintering a grafted tree rose is not fun for every gardener. The alternative is a real-root stem rose, which can get very old and therefore cannot be purchased very cheaply, and then you could still try to grow your own stem rose from a real-root rose.

Plant and care for tree roses

Choosing the best location for a standard rose is even more important than for an ordinary shrub rose:

  • By choosing the location, you determine the crucial conditions for your stem rose to develop well, so this is worth a little thought.
  • Tree roses want to be planted in nutrient-rich garden soil that should be loose and well permeable to oxygen and water.
  • Very sandy soil is improved with compost, compacted and heavy soils should be loosened a meter deep, rose roots want to be able to develop deeply.
  • Tree roses like sun and partial shade, special varieties even quite shady places, then you would have to ask specifically for robust shade-tolerant varieties.
  • The stem roses that you buy in the ordinary market are all grafted stem roses that are not overly robust.
  • Refined tree roses usually do not tolerate vigorous competition in their vicinity.
  • The location should be somewhat protected, even a tree rose with a support pole does not withstand constant gusts of wind.

When choosing the standard roses, you may have to think about wintering, namely if you plan to overwinter your standard rose lying down. When choosing a location for the stem rose, make sure that you allow for enough space if it is to be put down in winter. If you intend to do this, the space for the later bent crown must be factored in, if it is simply to be wrapped up on its support pole, this is not necessary.

The tree roses should be planted in autumn, then they have all winter time to really take root before the “stress of growing” starts again. In addition, there is usually more moisture in the soil in autumn than in summer, and this moisture is needed by a freshly planted rose.

When the location has been found, the planting hole is dug, a little larger than usual because the support post is also planted, i.e. around 50 x 50 cm. If you still have to improve the soil around the rose, the excavated pit will of course be considerably larger, to 70 x 70 cm, to a depth of up to about one meter, you should remove the soil to mix it up. This excavation is now either mixed with compost or with loosening materials, then some of it comes back down into the pit. The rose is planted about as high as it was in the pot.

The support rod goes into the ground first, it should be rammed at least 20 cm deep into the ground, otherwise it will not give the stem rose sufficient support. You should already consider this when buying, as the support rod should be long enough to reach the crown.

Next, the roots are prepared for planting. Most of the time, the roots are almost ready to be planted when you buy a rose, but the pots are often not transported gently, usually some parts of the roots have suffered damage and are cut off. If possible, the roots get a plant cut all around, a few centimeters all around. However, the roots should not be shorter than about 25 cm, as they contain nutrients that the rose needs in winter. So if you have bought a stem rose with rather poor roots, it is better to plant it untrimmed.

Now the stem rose can be planted, here you should be careful not to dig in the so-called cone interface. This thickening at the base of the trunk should be a hand’s breadth above the surface of the earth so that you can later easily remove the wild shoots from the base.

If you want to overwinter the stem rose laid, the rose must be oriented in the direction in which it will later be planted before planting. It must therefore be placed in the planting hole in such a way that the crown comes to the ground in the planned location when the rose is bent over the cone when it is laid.

Then the planting pit is filled with earth and well silted up, the earth will sag. Give her a few hours to do this, then you can refill soil again, and maybe repeat the whole thing again until the stem rose is really firmly in the soil.

Now all you have to do is tie the stem rose to the support rod, once in the middle and once above, below the crown. Suitable binding material is, for. B. a soft, not too thin coconut ribbon.

After planting, the stem rose must be watered very carefully for a while, it must not suffer from drought now. The rest of the care depends on which rose has been refined on the base, the wild rose in the lower area has few special demands on care.

To cut

Tree roses, like all roses, are pruned in spring, in which basically all diseased, weak and inward-growing shoots are removed, a rose should always be kept nice and airy on the inside. The entire crown is then shortened a little so that the rose drifts through fresh.

Here, too, the subtleties depend on the refined variety, if a bush rose has been refined on the stem rose, the stem rose is also pruned like a bush rose, sometimes several times a year after the respective flowering. If the upper part of the stem rose consists of a hybrid tea rose, you must expect to be able to remove many weak shoots every spring in order to give the stem rose strength again.

You can let the upper area grow naturally, this is the current fashion, but of course you can also cut it into an even sphere. If you want to achieve this, you will usually have to cut again because some shoots develop more vigorously than others.

In autumn, roses are actually no longer pruned, this is different with the stem rose, otherwise the crown would usually make it impossible to apply the necessary winter protection. Already after planting in autumn (and every year again) prune the crown shoots of the stem rose to about 30 cm. This is necessary both for wintering lying down and for well-packed wintering, otherwise you would not be able to put up enough soil or you would pack a huge package that quickly collapses under the load of snow.

Only in the year of planting should you not be overzealous with the pruning, the stem rose must first grow in, if it can no longer close the cut wounds by winter, germs would have an easy time of it. Depending on when you plant in autumn, the crown shoots can therefore, if in doubt, stay a little longer; in the case of late autumn planting, the crown is only trimmed with the spring pruning.

In the case of grafted tree roses, you have to constantly cut away the wild shoots that appear frequently and with pleasure in this cultivated form. Unfortunately, grafted stem roses do not only sprout where they should, except from the grafting point under the crown, shoots usually appear in all possible places. And if these shoots come from the root area below, or from the trunk, they are shoots from the rootstock, wild roses are much more robust and vigorous than the grafted varieties. These unwanted shoots should be removed; they consume water, light and nutrients that the stem rose then lacks. Sooner or later the wild rose would prevail over the grafted rose, then you would have a resistant, true-root rose, but no longer a standard stem.


If you don’t want to make a fuss with your tree roses before winter, you should choose absolutely hardy tree roses from the outset.

In principle, the grafted tree roses are also hardy without any problems if varieties of the roses that bloom once in summer have been grafted on them. Portland roses are also offered as trunk roses, are very hardy and even bloom more often. The varieties “Rose de Resht”, “Madame Boll” and “Jaques Cartier” are recommended here. In addition, there are some modern rose breeds that can survive the cold season with us without any problems. B. the variety “Bonica 82”.

But there are also many standard roses with a crown that is made up of the most frost-sensitive varieties, and the frost-resistant, refined standard roses need a few years before they can really withstand the cold. Young grafted stem roses (and some varieties for their entire life) therefore need winter protection, and wintering can be approached in two ways:

If the trunks are not lignified and pliable, you can simply “flip” the trunk rose in winter, literally on the ground. This is a very convenient method, the stem rose is simply bent over and the crown is fixed on the ground, covered with soil and covered with brushwood, that’s it with the winter protection.

You can no longer do this with older tree roses, they will soon be lignified and can no longer be bent to the ground. So they have to be packed when it comes to refined tree roses, an elaborate work in several layers, with protective fleece and jute. The crown must be protected from winter sun and frost, it is loosely wrapped so that the air can circulate, and tied together below the grafting point.

If you do not want to do this work and never want to waste a thought about the winter cold, which could damage your roses, you should simply say goodbye to the grafted stem roses.

Because the refinements that are so popular in the trade (because they can be sold in record time) are not that popular among real rose lovers, they also have their disadvantages: Little resistance and less frost resistance, among other things, and if the base dies, the refined rose also dies with it .

True-root roses, on the other hand, are really frost-hardy, down to minus 25 degrees, and if they do freeze off, they will emerge from their own roots again. True-root roses are also grown into tree roses by some enthusiast nurseries, you just have to find out about the providers of true-root roses and probably look for something.

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