Grower Direct – Rose Central

Everything you ever wanted to know about Roses – and more! The rose is certainly one of the most recognizable flowers both in North America and around the world. It’s fragrance and soft petals, not to mention sharp thorns, make it more distinguishable than any other flower.

The rose family is a very complex one whose varieties include bushes, hedges, miniatures, climbers, vines and even ground cover. At Grower Direct we focus on roses that are commercially grown for retail sale and have over the years developed close working relationships with some of the best rose growers in the world. This allows us to bring our customers the finest and newest varieties of this beloved flower. So when you think of buying roses, think Grower Direct, trust us you will be happy you did

Pale pink spray roses


Quick Links
The History of the Rose | Rose Types & Varieties | Rose Medicinal Qualities | Caring for Fresh Cut Roses
Roses in your Garden | Roses – Symbolic Meanings | Roses – Color Meanings | 

The History of the Rose

Worlds Oldest Rose - 1000 Years OldThe beloved Rose has a long and rich history. In fact there is fossil evidence from North America, Europe & Asia that the rose is 35 Million years old! Cultivated roses originated in China & have been in existence for approximately 5000 years. However cultivated roses were not introduced to Europe until the late 18th century – most modern day roses can be traced back to this ancestry.

A wreath found in the Egyptian tomb of Hawara, which dates back to AD 170, contained roses – this is the oldest preserved record of a species of rose that still lives today.

The worlds oldest living rose is thought to be 1000 years old and still lives on the wall of the Hildesheim Cathedral in Germany.

Natures roses originally only had Pink or White flowers, China however had vivid yellow blooms & cultivators spent many many years creating a rose that was both yellow in color and hardy. Now, after centuries of cultivation, roses are available in a rainbow of colors.  

Morden Sunrise - Orange/Pink shrub roseRoses & the Greeks

According to Greek Mythology – This is how the rose came to be!
The Greeks even named an island after the rose! The Greek island of Rhodes.

Roses & the Romans

The Romans are well known for their decadence, and roses played a huge part. In fact the emperors placed so much emphasis on the rose that peasants had to resort to growing roses instead of food!

Romans used rose petals as confetti for their parties, as perfume & as medicine. They filled their floors with rose petals and used them like carpets for their feasts, believing that the aroma would both act as an aphrodisiac & fend off drunken foolishness! Romans also filled their fountains & baths with rose water.

The Romans imported roses from Egypt and even created hot-houses where they would force the rose to bloom more often!

Romans are also responsible for the traditions of planting a red rose on a lovers grave & to show purity, planting a white rose on the grave of a young girl.

After the fall of the Roman Empire roses fell in & out of favor with gardeners depending on the trends of the time.

Roses & Europe

Deep red miniature roseIn the 15th century there were two factions fighting for control of England; The house of York & The house of Lancaster. York was represented with a white rose & the red rose represented Lancaster. This is why the conflict was dubbed “The War of the Roses“.

In the 17th century roses were so highly coveted that they were often used as legal tender! It was not unusual for commoners to pay their debts to royalty with either roses or rose water.

The Monks of Monasteries in England blanketed their gardens with roses, mostly the wild red rose due to the belief that the rose turned red when blood from Jesus (during his crucifixion) dripped onto it. The 5 petals represent his 5 wounds. Rosaries were made from rose hips and many cathedrals stained glass windows contain images of roses.

In France, Josephine (Napoleon’s wife) had a huge interest in botany, especially roses. After her divorce Josephine moved to the palace Malmaison, an estate outside of Paris. Here she grew a rose garden containing over 250 varieties of roses. The famous “Les Rose” watercolors by Pierre Joseph Redoute were painted here & today are still considered one of the finest records of botanical illustration.  During the Napoleonic wars rose seeds were transported between France & England without resistance thanks to Josephine’s patronage. 

Vivid yellow miniature rose


Roses & China

Although the Chinese cultivated roses thousands of years before anyone else, very little is known or written about the cultivation of roses in China. What we do know is that Confucius, in 500 BC, kept a record of the growing and cultivation of roses in the gardens of the Chinese Emperor. The Chinese revolutionized the progress of the rose like no other civilization.

The roses of today came to Europe through China and in the 18th century Europeans were thrilled to have a larger variety of colors and rose bushes that bloomed more than once a year.

Roses have fascinated many different civilizations throughout history, they have had many different purposes & meanings. Today roses are still considered to be the Worlds Favorite Flower!

Rose Types & Varieties

The following chart shows just a few of the Rose Types and their Varieties.

Hybrid Tea Roses – The standard rose
hybrid tea roses

These roses have one bloom per stem with sizes ranging for 2.5″ – 4″ in bloom height. Hybrid Tea roses generally have the longest cycle times. Roses in this category can bloom on stems as long as 80 to 100 cm.


  • Royalty
  • Samantha
  • Livia
  • Emblem
  • Isiana
  • Dallas
  • Crystalline
  • Dolores
  • Soni
intermediate roses

Roses in this category are smaller than the Hybrid Teas and usually, but not necessarily, have flat-topped blooms. Intermediate roses usually grow to a maximum length of 40 to 50 cm and are generally more productive, as well as having a shorter growing cycle.


  • Gabriella
  • Golden Times
  • Prive
  • Fire & Ice
  • Bridal White
  • Champagne
  • Bridal Pink
  • Fisco
  • Kardinal
  • Sterling Silver
Spray Roses
spray roses

These are roses that have a 3 to 6 small blooms per stem, usually less that 1″ to 1.5″ in size. These roses mature on stem lengths of 20 to 60 cm, the norm is 40 to 50 cm. The center bud is pinched during production so the remaining buds mature at approximately the same time. Spray roses have fast growing cycles and are generally very productive plants.


  • Joy
  • Dutch Beauty
  • Porcelain
  • Francis
  • Nikita
  • Red Hawk
  • Evelien
  • Dutch Beauty
  • Seline


sweetheart roses

This category is characterized by small sized flowers (bloom size maximum is 1″ to 1.5″) that mature on stem lengths of 20 to 30 cm. Roses in this category generally have the fastest growing cycles and the highest productivity per plant. The blooms of Sweetheart roses are smaller than both Hybrid Teas and Intermediates.


  • Jack Frost
  • Lavendar
  • La Minuette
  • Ilseta
  • Yellow Doll
  • Church Mouse
  • Edna Marie
  • Fairy Magic
  • Lavender Lace
  • Puppy Love
climbing roses

Usually climbing roses are mutations of either Hybrid Teas or Floribundas, however a few of them are specifically bred. There flower sizes are not specific as it is dependent on the original bush, therefore you can get climbers whose flowers range from miniatures to the large size of the Hybrid Teas. Most climbers do not flower as abundantly as the original shrub.


  • Autumn Sunlight
  • Black Boy
  • Double Delight
  • Golden Century
  • Iceberg
  • Lady X
  • Nozomi
  • Seduction
  • Work of Art

a single roseRose Medicinal Qualities

Essential Rose Oil has been used for centuries by many civilizations for a variety of purposes. Even today it is coveted for its medicinal qualities, however it is the most expensive essential oil available.
It takes over 60,000 rose petals to create just one ounce of essential oil, which explains why true rose essential oil is cost prohibitive. Because of the expense, essential oil from Geraniums and Palmrosa is often substituted, or the rose oil is diluted, which in turn reduces the effectiveness of the oil.

So what is Essential Rose Oil used for? Quite the variety of issues!

  • Aphrodisiac (for men & women)
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Skin Care (especially aging skin, dry or sensitive skin)
  • Sprains
  • Stress
  • Wounds

From the Greeks to the Romans and up till today the rose is also used in cosmetics and perfumes.

Do you suffer from arthritis? Read about Rose Hips Amazing Benefits!

Caring for Fresh Cut Roses

Bouquet of deep red rosesFollow these tips to ensure your beautiful bouquet of Fresh Cut Roses will last as long as possible.

  • Remove the bottom 1/3rd of foliage
  • Keep as many leaves as possible on the rose stem – these help hydrate the flower
  • Cut stems (preferably under water) with sharp, clean flower shears – be careful not to damage the stems
  • Place in 6″ to 8″ of warm water (100° – 110°F) with a floral preservative – provided with your Grower Direct Roses
  • Re-cut the stems every 2 to 3 days and place in fresh preservative solution to prevent clogging of stems (bent neck)

Design Suggestions:

  • Place in a clear vase or use in a cut flower arrangement
  • To achieve a formal look keep the design simple
  • Mix color of roses for a rainbow look.
  • Gently unfold some rose petals to give the appearance of an open rose at the focal point of the arrangement.

View the Rose Bouquets and Arrangements that we have available for sale.

Roses in your Garden

Red Roses Planter
The most important things to consider when choosing roses for your garden are to select varieties that will:
  1. Fit into the size of your garden
  2. Suit your local growing conditions
  3. Selecting a variety that you like & will fit into your overall plan 

Once you have chosen your rose plant there are a few more things to consider.

Select the site for your new rose carefully. It should be in full sun with good air circulation, have well drained soil that’s high in organic matter for your new rose bush to thrive. Roses require a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight a day. If all day sun is not possible then select a site where the rose bush will receive mostly morning sun. Morning sun will dry the dew off the leaves quicker, this will help to reduce the potential of diseases.

Well drained soil is essential for rose bushes. Without it the roots will rot and will you lose your plant.

When planting your roses make sure you have adequate space between plants. This will help reduce the spread of diseases or insects between your rose plants. Usually you want about 2ft between roses, but if your variety is smaller then you can indeed plant them closer together.

When watering your roses ensure you apply the water to the soil at the base of the plant (soaker hoses are excellent for roses). Keep the foliage as dry as possible to help prevent diseases. Place a layer of mulch (such as cedar chips) about 2″ to 3″ deep. This help retain water and will reduce weeds around the rose.

Ensure that you fertilize your roses in early spring and again at the beginning of summer. If you choose a continuous blooming rose then you should fertilize again in the middle of summer. A general purpose fertilizer of 10-10-10 or 12-12-12 works well with roses. Do not fertilize in late summer or fall as this can cause new & fragile stems to suffer winter damage.

You should deadhead your roses regularly. This will encourage many more buds and will help reduce the risk of disease. Pruning of roses is also important. Pruning is done to remove dead wood, damaged or diseased wood. Pruning will increase air circulation, shape the plant and encourage new growth.

You should do your pruning in the spring. Pruning in fall can cause winter damage in many rose species. When pruning always make sure your equipment is clean & sharp. If your rose is a climber do not prune for the first few years, when you do prune a climber do it in moderation. A lot of climbers new blooms grow on old wood, if you prune it to hard you will have fewer blooms.

Tinted Blue

If you planted a climber, train it to grow horizontally instead of vertically. This will result in a climber that is well spread and a frequent bloomer.

Roses can be subject to a variety of diseases and pesty insects. Your best defense is to inspect your roses regularly. If you do spot a problem, treat it quickly before it has a chance to spread to your other rose bushes. Get yourself a good book which identifies diseases and insects in roses to help you diagnose the issue.

To get your roses ready for winter there are several things you can do. Stop fertilizing after the middle of August. Stop deadheading near the end of fall and allow the plant to form rose hips.

The whole point of winterizing roses is to keep them frozen all winter so they don’t suffer the damage that occurs with constant freezing and thawing. There are several ways to do this, and of course it depends completely on the hardiness zone that you live in. Your best bet is to ask your local greenhouse how to winter roses for your zone.

Roses – Symbolic Meanings

Love, Passion & Romance
Roses have several different symbolic meanings. Most people are aware of the roses main symbolic meaning; LOVE & PASSION. Throughout history the rose has symbolized love, passion and romance like no other flower has or ever will. Whether it’s a single rose, a dozen roses or more, when you give roses it is a symbolic expression of your feelings & the receiver of your gift of roses has no doubt about what you are saying when they are presented to her!

Religious Devotion
Roses also represent religious devotion, at least where Christianity is concerned. It is associated with eternal life & resurrection. Rosary beads are an important Christian symbol of devotion to god or simply of being one with god.

Good & Evil
Are you familiar with the saying “Every rose has it’s thorn”? This comes from the paradox of good & evil. The beautiful, sweetly scented bloom represents “good” while the sharp & painful thorn, of course, represents “evil”.

The rose is also a symbol for keeping secrets or privacy. Known as sub-rosa, this term became popular in Roman times. Anything spoken under the rose was known to mean that the matter discussed required the utmost of discretion and was not to be repeated.

say I love you with roses

Roses – Color Meanings

The color of the rose can change the meaning of the message slightly, or drastically!

You can have a lot of fun when you know the meanings of each color. It allows you to send a “secret code” to a person you admire, mix different colors in your bouquet to say exactly what you want, with out words! Remember to include the color meanings in your card if the recipient of your coded flower gift is not familiar with the color meanings.

Red Roses
There are several different meanings associated with red roses, the most popular being love & romance. Other meanings are congratulations, complimenting beauty or courage. Interestingly enough how open the rose is can also change the meaning. A single red rose bud means a new love just beginning while a more open red rose means a true everlasting love.

Pink Roses
A dark pink rose symbolizes appreciation – a great way to say Thank You! A light pink rose can mean sympathy, admiration, happiness or even “Please believe me”!

White Roses
Can mean purity & innocence, which is partly why they are so popular for weddings. They can also mean youthfulness or humility. When mixed with red roses they symbolize unity between the giver and the recipient.

Yellow Roses
The yellow rose means friendship, joy & delight. They can also mean a new beginning, a remembrance or welcome home. If a yellow rose with red tips is given it symbolizes that the giver is falling in love.

Peach Roses
This color symbolizes gratitude and appreciation.

Orange Roses
This vibrant color represents desire. Other meanings include that the giver is infatuated with you, enthusiasm or congratulations.

Purple Roses
The symbolism behind purple roses is also related to love. They can mean you are enchanting or love at first sight. However with purple roses the shade is equally important. If the rose is a lighter shade of purple it symbolizes a new or young love, a darker purple is usually given for a 25th anniversary (or higher) or for a spouse who has passed. The darker the shade of purple the more intimate the gift is.