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Rose density

peteSpeteS Posts: 932
Could you give me an idea how many roses I can plant in an area measuring 2 metres x 1.6 metres. It is quite rich soil, having had many years of added manure etc. I've got four in at the moment alongside a couple of phlox and a well established fennel.


  • MarlorenaMarlorena Posts: 7,893 depends on which roses you want to grow there... one large shrub rose with minimal pruning would need all that space to itself... 3 medium size could be accommodated, preferably all the same variety grown in a triangular formation, or perhaps 5 small roses...
    ...if you know the names more advice could be given on that..
    East Anglia, England
  • peteSpeteS Posts: 932
    The ones I have planted at the moment are Gertrude Jekyll, Tuscany Superb, Gentle Hermione and an unknown one which grows to about 2.5 feet. They are about 2 feet apart and have grown well over the last 4 years, not always flowered well mind, apart Gertrude Jekyll and the unknown one, which are covered in flowers every year. I am waiting the delivery of Thomas a Becket which will go at the back with a spacing of about 3 feet, and Windflower. It certainly now feels like an ambitious planting scheme going off your last post. 
  • edhelkaedhelka Posts: 2,326
    I am more ambitious too. I have roses spaced anything between 2 and 3 feet apart, usually 2.5 feet. If you don't mind them overhanging over the edge of the bed, you can plant closer to the edge and this would give you more space in the middle. Or you can do that trick with 3 smaller roses of the same variety planted close together to look like one big bush. Also, if you plan to use any type of support that would allow you to grow one or two roses up (fence, obelisk), you would have more ground space left.
    Obviously, the more you fit in, the more competition there is and the whole bed would need more TLC to support all of them well.
    On the other hand, the roses you already have are quite big and if you add two more, it could be too much. If you have those 4 roses spaced 2 feet apart and don't have problems with space, I can tell you with certainty that these are either underperforming or you are overpruning them, not allowing them to reach their potential.
    I would recommend growing the ones you have into bigger, stronger and more flowering plants and then reconsider the spacing and adding new plants to the bed. Maybe grow the Thomas a Becket and Windflower elsewhere or in a pot for this season and you can do whatever changes you want next autumn/winter when the roses are dormant.
  • OmoriOmori Posts: 1,673
    Could you provide a photo? I’m struggling to envisage that many roses. I would think Gentle Hermione alone should take up 2/3rds if it. 
  • peteSpeteS Posts: 932
    I've definitely been guilty of over pruning, Gertrude Jekyll and the unknown little rose seemed to tolerate it and have always flowered their heads off, but the other two not so much. Regarding space, is it a question of root competition which stifles growth when planted too close or is it a nutritional thing.
  • MarlorenaMarlorena Posts: 7,893
    ...not so much, it's more a case that it won't look right and the more vigorous will barge the others out of the way...  it's a mistake we all make because they are just a few sticks when we plant them, and it's not easy to see how they will be when mature..
    ...a way around it for you is to keep pruning them short, maintaining in the 4 foot range...  the Tuscany Superb rose you will have to keep a reasonable amount of main framework to get the blooms, but the others you will have to keep on top of pruning... they are all potentially large shrubs, they can all be grown also as short climbing roses if the gardener wanted... but with DA roses you can keep many of them much shorter... that's down to you..  you won't notice it too much until later this season, and into next when they start to merge..

    I plant roses very close sometimes but I grow them in a different way to a lot of people..
    East Anglia, England
  • edhelkaedhelka Posts: 2,326
    Omori is right that Hermione can be big if happy but it always has been a narrow struggler for me so I can imagine how your roses look like with that spacing. But give them more space and they will be much nicer.
    I show you my rose bed which is absolutely overplanted but I hope to get away with it. It is an oval bed, approx. 3.3x2.1m. I have 11 roses there, I marked them so you can see.
    The reds are where I have problems. These were planted by the previous owner of the house and are way too close for their size. These are medium roses (70-105cm mature size, smaller than yours) and they are spaced 60-70cm apart.
    The blue ones are small roses, two of them 50-60cm, one narrow hybrid tea.
    The yellow ones are young small to medium size roses. I will probably have problems in a year or two when they mature, hopefully solvable by moving the smaller blue ones slightly or getting rid of one of them.
    The orange one is a standard tree.
    If you do the same kind of overcrowding spacing in your bed, you could fit in 5. 3 small ones at the front (40cm from the edge, rose1, 60cm, rose2, 60cm, rose3, 40cm to the edge, or maybe you could go closer to the edge and get 65cm between the roses) and 2 medium ones at the back (approx. 50cm from the back and 80cm to other roses). For this to work, the small roses would need to be 60-75cm mature spread or less and the medium roses 75-100cm mature spread, this is still with some overlap of the branches, so closer than recommended. But your roses are bigger than this. The roses you have, I would say 3-4. 5 could work if the unknown one is small and if you decide to grow one or two of the others as short climbers (depends on the surroundings of your bed).
    I know this could be hard to believe because it can now look like there is a lot of space but it is only because the roses you currently have could be much bigger.
  • peteSpeteS Posts: 932
    Edhelka, you mentioned problems. What problems have you encountered from the roses being too close.
  • edhelkaedhelka Posts: 2,326
    They grow into each other, which is not the look I want and they can also rub against each other which can cause some damage. One of them is a disease magnet and makes it easier for its neighbours to get the disease too. Pruning or general maintenance is also harder. And it gives an unbalanced look to the area, unnatural shape to the roses (even more if I prune branches that are too close to each other), it's just visible that they are too close there. I plan to fix it one day :)
    But with me, and that is the reason why I can do more than is smart, nothing is permanent long term planting, I don't plan for years because I like to do changes, removing plants I don't like, trying new ones etc. and this is not my forever home, more probably it is for next 3-5 years max. but who knows. I enjoy what I have now and enjoy the way how I do it but it isn't for everyone.
  • peteSpeteS Posts: 932
    Thanks very much for your advice. I think first things first is let the plants grow to something like their full size, and see what they are like on the eye then. You see, I don't like formal, so maybe any informality would be favourable to me. I guess it will be a waiting game, having a better idea next summer. 
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