How To Plant A Hedge of Roses

Looking for a barrier hedge or a screen planting, for a decorative way to divide garden areas, or for colorful plants to define a path or drive

Roses can solve any of these landscape problems. But which roses should you use?

Planting Hedge of RosesPin

Barrier “Hedge” Roses

Barrier hedge roses produce impenetrable growth, grow tall, and flower continuously from spring to fall.

They are often advertised simply as “hedge” roses. The plants are so inexpensive, that you can use them to enclose your entire yard or make a long property line screen.

In addition to the so-called “hedge” roses, many old-fashioned roses (species and species hybrids) often listed under the heading shrub roses in books and catalogs make good barrier hedges and grow tall enough for property-line screens. Some are included in the chart.

With few exceptions, they flower only once, in late spring or early summer, but their leaves are luxuriant green throughout the summer.

They cost more than the hedge roses but are no more expensive than roses for decorative hedges.

Related: Caring Rose Bushes in Summer

Decorative Hedge Roses

Decorative hedge roses, unlike barrier roses, do not grow tall, and they deter rather than preventing animals and people from going through them.

Most of those suggested are floribunda roses. They reach 3’ feet in height, are relatively dense, winter hardy, and flower either several times a growing season or continuously from spring to fall.

Priced low, they are your best bet for colorfully defining walks and drives, enclosing terraces, gardens, and the like.

Their flowers are excellent for cutting—you get double value from a decorative hedge of roses!

Planting Hedge Roses

Soil preparation for hedges of roses is shown in drawings at the bottom of the page. Allow 12” to 18” inches between “hedge” roses and 3’ to 4’ feet between old-fashioned roses planted as a barrier.

It may be necessary to place a temporary fence behind both types for a few years after planting until they reach barrier proportions.

For hedges of floribundas, space plants about 2’ feet apart. 

Trench for planting rosesPin
Pile the top 12″ inches of soil to one side of 1-1/2′ to 2′ feet wide trench.
Use a pick to loosen stones so they can be removed.
Trench for Rose needs good drainagePin
Loosen subsoil or hardpan at the bottom of the trench with a pick or shovel to ensure good drainage and allow for deep rooting of rose plants.

Caution: Before ordering roses to screen out a neighboring garage or selecting decorative hedge roses to line your walk or patio, note how much sun reaches the area where you propose to plant.

Strong sun for at least half a day is necessary. Otherwise, look to more shade-tolerant hedging plants.

Mix peatmoss or compost with fertilizer for a good rose bed.Pin
Spread a thick layer of peatmoss and/or compost over loosened subsoil and mix together with a complete fertilizer.
Plant graph below the soil surface.Pin
Lay stick across trench as a guide in setting graph beneath surface.
Soil taken from the trench is filled around the roots.
Settle soil around rose bushesPin
Water to settle the soil. If the soil settles lower than the surrounding ground, add more. Mound the floridundas with soil for the winter.

Care: Roses make informal hedges, for except for County Fair, they cannot be sheared.

Straggly branches of barrier roses may be cut back at any time for a trim appearance, and wayward branches of floribundas may be shortened in early spring when pruning consists almost exclusively of removing dead growth.

All the barrier roses in the chart are practically insect and disease free, and the decorative hedge roses are relatively post-free too.

In some seasons, however, they may have to be sprayed regularly to keep them free of insect damage and disease.

Fertilizing after planting is not necessary for barrier roses, but for maximum floral displays, the floribundas should be fertilized each spring and once or twice during the summer.