Glossary of Rose Terms


All-America Rose Selections (AARS).  A commercial organization that selects one to five new roses to promote each year.  AARS winners have been evaluated throughout the country and often prove to be dependable choices.

Amendments.  Organic and inorganic materials that improve aeration, structure, drainage, and nutrient-holding capacity of soil.

Bare root.  A plant from which all the soil has been removed for shipment from the nursery.  Both budded and own root roses can be purchased bare root.

Basal break.  Strong new growth appearing from the base of a rose plant.  Roses depend on the formation of basal breaks for long-term success.

Budded rose.  A rose that was propagated by budding.  With this method, a bud from one rose is grafted onto the rootstock of another.

Bud eye.  Also called an eye, a point along a stem where a leaf is attached and from which new growth can emerge.

Bud union.  The crown (swollen area) on a budded plant where the grafted top meets the rootstock.  In cold climates, the bud union of roses must be planted underground for survival.

Cane.  A main shoot of a rose that usually starts near the roots.

Crown.  The part of the plant where roots and stem meet.

Cultivar.  Short for cultivated variety.  A plant variety developed in cultivation rather than occurring in nature.  Cultivar names are usually enclosed in single quotation marks.

Deadheading.  Removing old, spent flowers.  Deadheading not only will conserve plant energy and produce more blooms, it will also remove hiding places and food for insects which often become pests in our garden.

Disbud.  To selectively remove buds when they are tiny. Removing the side buds around a developing bud on a hybrid tea rose will encourage a larger bloom.  Its best to remove side buds when they are pea-sized to minimize scarring.

Dormant period.  The time when a plant’s growth naturally slows, often after flowering or during the winter months of a year.

Double flower.  Flowers having 25 or more petals.  Very double roses have 75 or more petals and resemble pom-poms.

Endcap.  A plant or group of plants used effectively at the end of a bed or border.

Epsom salts.  Magnesium sulfate, often used to supply magnesium.

Feeder root.  Thin, fibrous plant roots that gather water and nutrients from the soil.

Grafting.  A method of propagation that involves attaching a section of one plant onto another in such a way they grow together. Also called bud-grafting.

Heritage Roses.  Another name used for old garden roses.

Hip.  The seedpod of a rose which develops after the flower falls away.  Rose Hips are loved by fruit eating birds, deer, rabbits,  and squirrels.  They contain a high amount of Vitamin C and have been used in jams, jellies, syrups and herbal preparations throughout the world.

Hybrid.  A plant resulting from crossbreeding parent plants that belong to different varieties, cultivars or species.

Leaflet.  One section of a compound leaf.  The leaf begins where the leafstalk attaches to the rose can.  Leaves can have from 3 leaflets to more than 15, but usually have only 5 to 7.

Modern Roses.  Any rose belonging to a class that came into being after 1867.  Per the ARS (American Rose Society), there are eight major classes of Modern Roses:  floribundas, grandifloras, hybrid teas, large-flowered climbers, miniatures, polyanthas, ramblers and shrubs.

N-P-K ratio.  The percentage of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) present in fertilizer.  The three numbers that you see on a fertilizer label, such as “5-10-10”, tell you what proportion of each macronutrient the fertilizer contains.

Old Garden Rose.  Any rose variety or cultivar belonging to a rose class that existed in 1867.  According to the ARS, there are 15 classes of Old Garden Roses including albas, bourbons, damasks, gallicas and portlands.  They include both repeat and once blooming rose cultivars.  Also called Heritage Roses.

Once-blooming.  This means flowering once per year – compared to repeat-bloomers, which bloom more than once a year.

Own-root rose.  A rose that grows on its own roots.

Pith.  The interior of a rose cane.  When pruning, search for white (living) pith versus brown (dead) pith.

Rambler.  A long-caned rose that can be trained to grow on a trellis, arch, or other support.

Reverse.  The backside of rose petals.  These are the first to present themselves when a bud is unfurling. The term is usually used when the reverse is a different color from the top of the petals.

Rootstock.  The rooted base onto which a rose is bud-grafted.  Rootstocks are chosen for particular qualities such as disease resistance or tolerance of particular environmental conditions.

Semi-double flower.  Flowers with more than 11 petals, but fewer than 25.

Single flower.  A rose with a single row of 5 petals.

Sport.  A natural mutation. An atypical form of a plant that arrives spontaneously as a mutation.

Spray.  A group of blooms on one stem.

Stamen.  The pollen-bearing organ in a flower.  Rose stamens are typically brown, but can be golden yellow or purple.

Sucker.  A stem arising from the rootstock of a woody plant.

Weatherspotting.  The splotches that appear on some rose blooms after rain, fog, or cool nights.









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