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Expert Guide to Growing a Rose Hedge in Australia

Your rose hedge will create a lovely screen with plenty of gorgeous blooms.

If you love roses as much as I do and have a lovely sunny spot in your garden, you might like to consider growing a rose hedge.

Your rose hedge can be quite formal as long as you’re prepared to clip it regularly. Or, you might prefer a rambling hedge that provides an excellent screen.

Rose hedges are ideal if you have an area in your garden or a structure that you want to hide and they also provide a measure of security. I mean, there aren’t too many people who would be willing to scramble through a thick hedge with prickly thorns!

You can also unleash your inner artist by creating a lovely hedge with roses that have different coloured flowers. You could even plant a rainbow hedge.

Or, you might like to keep it simple and plant roses that have the same or similar coloured blooms for a more cohesive look.

Rose Hedge 1 | Plant care

Either way, your rose hedge will create a lovely screen and you’ll have plenty of gorgeous blooms that you can cut to bring inside and put into a vase.

Here’s how to grow a rose hedge in Australia.

Prepare your soil

Roses prefer a nice rich soil that’s been fortified with lots of organic matter.

For your rose hedge, you could just dig a trench along the line you want your hedge to go. Then, add some compost and animal manure and use a garden fork to work this into the soil at the bottom of the trench.

This will not only feed the plants but will also help to retain some moisture in the soil.

A little trick that I always use when planting roses is to put a piece of banana skin in the bottom of the hole. As the skin breaks down, it will provide the rose with lots of nutritious potassium to promote plenty of blooms.

Plant your roses

Ideally, you want to space your roses around 60 cm apart for a nice dense hedge. You could either use bare-rooted roses which are available during the cooler months or purchase established plants in pots.

bare root roses | Plant care

Once your roses are in the ground and you’ve backfilled the trench, make sure that you lay a thick layer of mulch over the soil.

This will help to keep the soil moist and also suppress any weeds that might want to come up.

Remember to water well after planting as well.

How to care for your rose hedge

You would care for your rose hedge in the same way as you would care for individual rose bushes. Except, with a hedge, you might not want to prune your roses quite as heavily as you would with individual plants.

roses pruning 1 | Plant care

There are even certain rose species that can be left to grow wild or pruned with hedging shears. More about that later.

During the warmer months, when the roses are in active growth, you want to ensure that you keep them well-watered. If you’ve mulched well, you might only have to give them a deep soaking once a week during periods of dry weather.

In winter, when the plants are dormant, they will usually survive on rain alone.

Feeding your plants is also important if you want lots of blooms and an abundance of growth. I would recommend using an organic slow-release fertiliser such as Dynamic Lifter for this. That’s primarily what I use on my roses.

Feed your plants once in early spring and then again in autumn. This should provide plenty of nutrition for your roses.

roses fertilizer | Plant care

Plus, the mulch will break down and add further nutrients to the soil.

You also want to ensure that you keep the soil under the plants weed-free as the weeds will compete with the roses for water and nutrients.

Plus, it’s a good idea to top up the mulch at least once a year if possible.

Rose varieties suitable for hedging

There are numerous varieties of roses that are suitable for hedging.

Sophie Thomson from Gardening Australia suggests Rugosa cultivars as being some of the hardiest and toughest roses that are great for hedging.

Rugosa roses | Plant care

This species and its many cultivars will create a hedge that’s around 2 metres high and can be left to grow wild or even trimmed with hedging shears for a more formal look.

Rugosa roses are native to North Asia and they’re mostly disease resistant. They are also salt-tolerant and can withstand heavy winds. This makes them ideal for hedging.

This species of roses will also flower abundantly from spring right through autumn. If you love old-fashioned roses, keep an eye out for these cultivars:

  • ‘Agnes’ with gorgeous large apricot blooms
  • ‘Belle Poitevine’ with stunning dark pink blooms
  • ‘Blanc Double de Coubert’ with icy white blooms
  • ‘Jens Munk’ with ruffled blooms in a deep pink
  • ‘Rugosa Alba’ with delicate open blooms in the palest pink

Many floribunda roses are also suitable for hedging, especially the more modern cultivars such as:

  • ‘Black Forest Rose’ with stunning and abundant bright red blooms
  • ‘Adorable’ with large purple blooms that are sweetly fragranced
  • ‘Bengali’ with pretty deep apricot double blooms
  • ‘Fairytale Magic’ with delightfully frilly soft pink blooms
  • ‘Fire Opal’ with delicate open blooms in white and edged with pink

FAQ

How tall does a hedging rose get?

This will depend on the species that you’re growing. For example, cultivars in the Rosa rugosa species will reach a height of around 2 metres.

What is the difference between floribunda and shrub roses?

Essentially, many of the shrub roses that are popular for hedging will be floribunda roses. This means that they’ll flower prolifically throughout the growing season but they don’t grow as tall as other rose species such as tea roses. The flowers are also produced on much shorter stems.

What is the tallest rose hedge?

There’s a modern bush rose in the Floribunda group called ‘Lioness’. This stunning rose can reach a height of 3 metres. It has beautiful yellow blooms that are large and fragranced.

Photo of author

Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.

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