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Frequently Asked Questions

You Have Rose Questions, We Have Answers!

  • Question: When is the best time to plant roses?
    Answer: The best time of the year to plant roses is in the spring or the fall when nature provides cooler temperatures and rainfall.  Some prefer to plant in the fall so the rose has a longer period to settle in and grow roots before the first flush of blooms in the spring 
  • Question: What is a "grafted" rose?
    Answer: A grafted rose is actually two roses that are grown together as one. The root stock (or bottom) rose is grafted to the top rose by inserting a bud-eye of the top rose into the the root stock (the bottom rose) creating what is known as the a bud-union. Roses are grafted to produce larger plants faster for market. Grafted plants do not live as long as own root roses.
  • Question: What is an "own root" rose?
    Answer: An own root rose is a rose grown on its own (natural) roots and is not grafted. Own root roses are often smaller when purchased but are preferred by many as they are long lived plants that will come back from their roots if damaged by mechanical means or by freezing temperatures.
  • Question: When should roses be pruned?
    Answer: Roses that bloom more than once should be pruned just as winter is ending and spring is beginning. In our area (USDA Zone 7), that is usually in late March.  Roses that bloom only once should be pruned just after they bloom.
  • Question: How much should roses be pruned?
    Answer: In USDA Zone 7, prune your repeat blooming roses in late March,  start by removing all the dead, dying and diseased portions of the rose. Generally speaking, your aim should be to prune back no more than 1/3 to 1/2 of the rose. Open up the plant to allow in light and air.  Each rose class will have more specific pruning recommendations. Once blooming roses should be pruned right after they bloom.   
  • Question: What are the most disease resistant roses?
    Answer: The Potomac Rose Society (PRS) promotes growing disease resistant roses in no-spray gardens. PRS compiles lists of roses that have shown good disease resistance in our local gardens. We share those lists with our members. 
  • Question: Do roses have to be sprayed with chemicals?
    Answer: That depends. What are your expectations?  We recommend that you start by selecting roses that have shown resistance to fungal diseases that are common to plants in the rose family (ex. black spot and powdery mildew).
  • Question: How do I become a member of the Potomac Rose Society?
    Answer: Please visit the "JOIN US" tab above and become a member!
  • Question: Are there beneficial insects for roses?
    Answer: Yes! One of our member benefits is hosting events with specialists such as Entomologist Holly Walker of the Smithsonian Gardens, who explained how insects can help us protect our roses. Members can view the video of that event in the "MEMBERS" section of the website.
  • Question: What is Rose Rosette Disease?
    Answer: Rose Rosette Disease (RRD) is a devastating virus affecting roses; an eriophyid mite is believed to be a vector. There is a website dedicated to informing about the ongoing research on RRD:
  • Question: What should I do if I find Rose Rosette Disease in my rose?
    Answer: Regularly inspect your roses for any symptoms of Rose Rosette Disease (RRD). If you find RRD, remove and dispose of the rose completely including the roots. Additional information can be found here: 


Top photo of Joy by Rich Baer