Though it's still winter, now is a great time to shop for floribunda roses. Here we've featured some of the easiest ones to grow, along with our rose planting and care guide.
Blooming Beauty #1: 'Iceberg'
With snowy white blooms, 'Iceberg' flowers like mad and grows to six feet tall and wide.
Blooming Beauty #2: 'Brilliant Pink Iceberg'
This 'Iceberg' variety was bred in Tasmania and is relatively new. It's covered with deep pink and cream blooms, and grows to the same dimensions as the regular 'Iceberg' rosebush.
Blooming Beauty #3: 'Preference'
Crimson blooms on a compact, disease-resistant bush make 'Preference' a real winner from the coast to the desert. It recently won the Golden Rose Award at the Rose Hills International Trials in Southern California. The 'Preference' bush tops out at about three feet.
Blooming Beauty #4: 'Ebb Tide'
The old-fashioned, deep purple blooms of 'Ebb Tide' fill the air with a heady, clovelike fragrance. It stays a compact three feet tall and two-and-a-half feet wide.
Blooming Beauty #5: 'Marmalade Skies'
Huge clusters of coral blooms and a well-behaved habit make 'Marmalade Skies' a carefree choice for your garden. This variety reaches three feet tall and four feet wide.
Blooming Beauty #6: 'Easy Going'
One of the best yellow-gold floribundas available, 'Easy Going' has long-lived flowers and glossy foliage. This variety grows four feet tall and wide.
Floribunda Planting Guide
Roses like full sun -- at least six hours a day -- and fast-draining soil; before planting, amend soil in your planting hole with compost (planting hole should be about two times the diameter of the root ball). Soak roots in a bucket of water for up to 24 hours before planting to replenish any lost moisture. In all climates, bare-root roses should be planted as soon as possible. If you must wait more than two days, wrap roots in water-soaked newspaper and set the root ball in an unheated, dark place; this trick will keep the root ball ready for up to two weeks.
Floribunda Planting Guide, continued
Next, dig a large, rough-sided planting hole with sides that slope outward from top to bottom. Form a cone of soil in the center of the hole to keep the rose from settling too low. Dig the edges deeper to help roots penetrate into the soil.
Floribunda Planting Guide, continued
Trim off damaged roots or canes. Set the rose on the cone, with the graft knot, if there is one, just at or above the soil level. (To check, lay a stick across the planting hole.) Spread roots over the mound, fill in with soil, and water well.
Caring For Your Roses: Water
Build a basin of soil around the rose two to six inches high and three feet across. Run the hose in the basin at a slow trickle until the soil is moist but not soggy. (Avoid wetting foliage.) Repeat when the top two to three inches feel dry.
Caring For Your Roses: Fertilizer
Wait until after the first bloom to feed new roses. Then water thoroughly so fertilizer won't burn surface roots. Scatter dry fertilizer around the plant, following label instructions; lightly scratch it into the top one-and-a-half inches of soil.
Caring For Your Roses: Pruning
Thin the bush about a month before the last predicted frost to remove dead, old, or weak canes. Remove canes that cross through the center to give the plant an open, vaselike shape. Cut remaining canes by less than one-third, pruning at a 45-degree angle just above outward-facing buds (recommended cuts shown here in red).
For region-specific expertise, you can also visit the American Rose Society website ars.org) and select "Ask Questions About Roses" to e-mail a consulting rose expert in your area.
Arena Roses (888-466-7434 or arenaroses.com), Edmunds' Roses (888-481-7673 or edmundsroses.com), Jackson & Perkins (800-292-4769 or jacksonandperkins.com), and Regan Nursery (800-249-4680 or regannursery.com).
More Gardening Tips:
• Pruning trees and shrubs: Where daytime temperatures are above freezing, start winter pruning. Cut out dead, diseased, crossing, and one of each pair of closely parallel branches. Work from the bottom to the top, and from the inside out. Then make a few last cuts for shape.
• Watering house plants: Bone-dry winter air and indoor heaters mean that houseplants need more water than usual. Check soil often, and water when the top of the soil has dried out.