Glossery Of Terms

Bare Root: Most mail order roses are purchased bare root. Meaning the plant comes dormant with no soil around the root area. Once they are potted up or planted however, they quickly leaf out and form a large shrub within a few weeks. Most Bare Root roses are grafted on Dr. Huey rootstock but some can be on their own roots. Fortuniana grafted roses however, are never sold bare root.
Blackspot: The most common malady of roses, Black Spot can decimate a rose bush if left unchecked. Many products and fungicide can control this harmful disease, but it’s a constant battle for the South Florida rosarian.
Bud Onion: The large swelling where the scion (rose variety) meets the rootstock. In South Florida, this part of the rose should always remain above the ground.
Die Back: Die Back is a reference to any cane that has died for one reason or another. Sometimes its caused by fungus or other such malady, other times it’s a natural response to pruning or breakage from wind damage, etc. But Die Back can sometimes happen for no obvious reason and can be difficult to diagnose and control. When the die back starts at the bottom of the plant, it usually indicates the demise of said plant. Otherwise, it can usually be pruned off to prevent spreading.
Double Bloom: A term describing the form of a flower. Single blooms have 5 petals while double blooms usually have anywhere from 20-30. Very Double or Fully Double blooms usually have more than 30. While semi-double blooms have 10-15. Single and Semi-double roses always show off their stamens.
Dr. Huey: A very common rootstock that is sold throughout the US. Dr. Huey performs well in most of the country but is short lived in Florida (3-5 years).
Floribundas: A term describing the growth habit of a rose bush. Floribunda’s form “candelabras” of flowers where more than one flower forms on a stem. This is called a spray. Floribundas tend to be shorter bushier plants, but not all floribundas have the same growth habit.

Fortuniana: The rootstock most highly recommended for Florida. Fortuniana is a very large, once blooming variety that does well in our sandy soil and is very heat tolerant. Its fibrous root system helps roses thrive in our hot, humid climate.
Graft: Grafting is a common occurrence in roses where weaker bushes are attached to stronger root systems to produce a healthier plant. Many roses are grown on their own roots, but grafted roses usually grow at a much faster pace providing instant gratification. Whether a rose should be grown grafted or on it’s own roots is mostly depending on the variety. Here, fortuniana grafted roses are usually preferred.
Grandiflora: Another category pertaining to bloom habit. Grandifloras are a blend between Hybrid Tea and Floribunda type roses that tend to bloom in sprays but have larger flowers than floribundas. Most Grandiflora roses tend to grow tall like Hybrid Teas, but some, like Cherry Parfait, remain compact.
Hardy: A term used in gardening to indicate that a plant can survive freezing temperatures. Most roses can survive cold, but not all roses survive very cold winters.
High Centered: A term to describe bloom form. High Centered roses are usually what one thinks about when they think of a florist rose. They are spiraled in form and have a classic hybrid tea form.
Hybrid Teas: A classification of rose. Hybrid Teas are probably the most common type of rose bush and usually have high centered blooms that are typical of what one would see at a florist shop, although they come in many shapes and sizes (and colors). Most Hybrid Teas are however, susceptible to disease and so may be more difficult to grow successfully in South Florida. They do however produce some of the most beautiful blooms for cutting and are worth the extra care.
Miniflora: Another classification of rose, Mini Flora are a blend of miniature roses bred with standard size roses to produce a large flowered bush with compact growth.
Multiflora: A rootstock that is most commonly used up north because of its cold hardiness (or tolerance). This rootstock is not recommended for Florida.
Old Garden Roses (aka antique roses, OGR’s): Old Garden Roses are classified as roses hybridized before 1867. Old Garden Roses are usually some of the toughest and easiest to care for roses available and many do well in South Florida. They tend to grow very large however so may not be suitable for small gardens, and many only bloom once a year.
Organic Matter (aka Compost): Organic Matter can be anything from mulch to decomposed leaves, but it usually refers to compost. Adding organic matter to your rose beds helps to improve the soil and will feed your garden for the long run.
Own Root: Some roses are grown on their own roots. While many are grafted on to stronger rootstock, some vigorous varieties grow well on their on their own roots and are therefor not grafted.
Pegging: Pegging is a way of growing a climbing rose or large rose bush that requires one to ‘peg’ down the canes as horizontal as possible. This causes the rose too shoot out lateral canes, which produce blooms. Some roses, particularly climbers, bloom best when pegged.
Powdery Mildew: A rose disease that causes a white powder like fungus to grow on the leaves. Many of the older garden roses are susceptible to it, but it only really becomes a problem during long periods with no rain in the cooler months, which in South Florida is not terribly common.
Quartered: A type of bloom form, quartered blooms open to form large, flat disks that are distinctly separated into four sections. A good example of this is Souvenir De La Malmason.
Romanticas: Romanticas are an unofficial line of roses introduced by Meilland, which distinctly have an old fashioned bloom form but are actually modern shrubs. However the term “romanticas” has become somewhat popular is now associated with any modern rose that has the romantic antique rose form. Some examples of this are Eden Rose, Bolero and Yves Piaget.
Rootstock: Some roses are grown on their own roots just like any other plant, but many are grafted or budded onto stronger or hardier rootstocks. The most common rootstock is Dr. Huey, which does well in most of the country but has a short life span here in Florida. Fortuniana rootstock is the best one for Florida as it is both heat and nematode resistant. Roses grown on Multiflora do not do well here and may live only a year or less.
Rosette: Another descriptive term for rose blooms. Roses that form a rosette are usually in the “romantica” category in that they look like old-fashioned antique roses. A good example of the rosette is David Austin’s Evelyn, Boscobel, and Boule De Neige
Scion: Also known as a cutting. A scion young shoot or twig of a plant cut for grafting or rooting.
Semi Double: A description of bloom form. Semi Double blooms usually have 10 or more petals but almost always show their stamens when open.
Sepals: The small green leaves the cover the rose bud before it completely forms. Sepals can be small and almost unnoticeable once the bloom has opened, but some roses have large elaborate sepals that add extra charm to the blooms.

Sport: A sport is a mutation in a rose bush which causes a certain branch to produce different characteristics of its original bloom or growth habit. Many sports show a change in bloom color while others show a change in growth habit. Sometimes producing climbing versions of themselves. A good example of this is the Peace rose which has produced a climbing sport and two different colored sports: Chicago Peace and Flaming Peace.

Sucker: A cane or shoot that comes from the rootstock as oppose to the rose variety that is grafted. Suckers must be cut off immediately or they may take over the entire rose eventually killing off the grafted variety.
 Tender: A term referring to plants that cannot withstand frost. Roses are usually not tender varieties, but some are more tender than others and can only withstand certain amounts of cold.