The hybrid tea rose epitomizes our notion of rose beauty, with large, often fragrant single blooms that positively dazzle with their velvety texture, vivid color, and simple elegance.
If you’d like to add these classic roses to your rose garden, be prepared to be challenged by the sheer variety. There are hundreds of different tea rose varieties. Tea rose hybrids come in many different sizes, shapes, and colors.
Here’s a 10 step checklist for selecting your hybrid tea roses:
- Read the label carefully. All of the better commercial hybrid tea roses will have a label, growth sheet, or catalog description. No matter how good it looks, don’t buy it if you can’t grow it where you want. If it won’t thrive, pass it by.
- Chech the climate requirements. If you live in a mild climate, find a hybrid tea rose that is heat tolerant. If your area is humid, choose a tea rose that has resistance to mildew and fungal diseases. And be sure to evaluate the plant’s cold hardiness. Most roses do not fare well in freezing temperatures, so if you live in one of the less temperate zones in the world, make sure your hybrid tea rose won’t freeze to death before you put it in the ground.
- Be aware of growth habits. Is the tea rose a climber? Is it a rambler? Does it spread sideways rapidly? Will it make a good groundcover? Visualize where it will go and what direction it might grow. Also, make note of its average height and width. You don’t want to plant mistakenly a tea rose that grows too high for its location.
- Make sure you know what kind of perfume you like and want. Some roses are highly fragrant. Is that what you want or does just the thought make you want to sneeze? Roses vary from no fragrance to perfume store overflow levels. Your rose depends on your particular likes and needs.
- Are you fond of cut flowers? Some tea roses stand up better when cut or put on display. Others have petals that may be too fragile to withstand cutting. If having cut roses is important to you, make sure to research your top choices.
- Check the label carefully for disease resistance. Some are more inclined to trouble than others. If the mere idea of a mildew infection or Japanese Beetle infestation makes you cringe, consider choosing a tea rose that is labeled as disease resistant.
- Think about the amount of care you can provide. Some tea roses need more care than others. After all, this is the easy gardening blog! If it’s going to take too much work, try to find a variety that can thrive with less of care.
- Consider the bloom and leaf color. All tea roses are beautiful; find one that will look good in your garden. Visualize it in full bloom. Some colors may go well with your other plants; others may clash.
- Choose only healthy-looking plants. It should have at least three strong canes. Don’t but tea roses with brown roots, shriveled foliage, or damaged branches. Choose one that has bright white roots and bright buds at the side of each stem.
- Buy your hybrid tea roses from a reputable dealer. The clerks at the big box stores were probably selling plumbing supplies last week and are only concerned with moving merchandise in and out. Most couldn’t tell a sick rose from a healthy one, and even if they could, their corporate bosses will tell them to sell it anyways. A couple of bucks off isn’t worth the risk of introducing an infected plant to your garden. Plant infestations and diseases can spread quickly. Instead, visit your local nursery and pick only the most healthy-looking plants. If you order your tea roses by mail order, deal only with reputable dealers. The extra bit of money you spend now will be well worth it when you experience your season of gorgeous hybrid tea rose blooms.
Want to learn more about roses? Check out the American Rose Society.