Information about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld


Grow roses in Qld

Being one of the world's most favourite plants, you're sure to find plenty of information about roses on the internet. However, it's harder to find advice about growing roses in climates such as ours. Therefore, this page will mostly concentrate on information for the warm-climate rose grower, particularly the tropical and subtropical parts of Queensland.

Heat and humidity present two major challenges, but with water restrictions hitting Queensland and many other parts of the world, drought tolerance also becomes an issue. Also, sun tolerance (especially burning of the flowers) is also something that the rose growers from more temperate and cloudy parts of the world have few worries about, but Queensland rose gardeners do.

Wherever you live, a great way to get information about growing roses appropriate to your geographical region is to join a local Rose Society (see links section further down this page). Rose societies may also organise shows, displays, meetings, outings or plant sales.

If you live in Queesland, keep an eye on the Events Diary of this website for society shows around the state. (p.s. if you're involved in a rose society in Qld, be sure to send in your events information for free promotion).

Where to buy rose plants


Most garden centres will carry some rose plants. Look for bagged, bare-root roses during autumn/winter. Potted roses may be available at other times, depending on the outlet.

For a wider selection, rare species or heritage varieties, look out for a specialist rose nursery, either located near you, or offering plants for sale by online or mail order. Given the popularity of roses and their amenability to bare-rooting, there are a number of online suppliers in Australia. Note that you may have to place an order in advance of the digging season to be sure of getting your choice of varieties.

The following advertisers may include online suppliers. For the most up-to-date information on plants in stock, opening hours, prices etc, be sure to visit the seller's website or contact the business directly.


38 Alpine Tce
Mount Tamborine, Qld
Ph: (07) 5545 1042

At Birchgrove Nursery, enjoy the ambience of an English country garden while purchasing plants and accessories to create your own.

One of Qld's largest ranges of roses with potted bush, climbing, weeping and standard roses available most of the year. Heritage and modern varieties.

The selection of flowering cherries, maples and other deciduous trees, birch, weeping mulberry, magnolias, camellias, hydrangea, daphne, lavender and other cottage garden favourites changes seasonally.

Concrete & metal garden art, water features, arbours, arches, bridges, wishing wells and other accessories will add an extra dimension to your dream garden.

View the picture gallery at the Birchgrove Nursery WEBSITE for more information and inspiration.

Interested in advertising here? While general garden centres may carry a limited range, this section is intended for nurseries (supplying the public in Qld) which might be considered roses specialists, for customers seeking a greater selection or heritage and other hard-to-find varieties. If YOU operate a rose nursery selling rose plants to Qld (retail) go to Information for advertisers, to learn more about promoting your business on this website, including current prices.

Getting started with roses in the subtropics

Roses are essentially just shrubs, and sometimes climbers. However, they tend to be treated as a special category, partly because of the special maintenance that became associated with rose-growing in the twentieth century.

Unfortunately, the varieties most popular in that time (typically hybrid tea and floribunda types) were mostly bred for cooler climates and suffered in hot and humid conditions, necessitating lots of spraying and pruning. The latter also helped in growing them in the suburbs (which also flourished in the twentieth century).

However, the ancestors of these roses contain many varieties which are actually better for our climate, and are surprisingly tough and drought-resistant once established.

A resurgence of interest in these "heritage" or "heirloom" roses worldwide means they are stocked by many nurseries. The flowers exhibit a variety of forms from single to fat, multi-petalled types which might not be the typical florist rose that we're used to, but are nevertheless perfect for a traditional country garden.

What's more, breeders (the best know being David Austin) are creating new varieties attempting to retain the beauty (including fragrance) of these old types in new and improved varieties.

The various plant habits among the old roses also make them easy to incorporate into a mixed garden setting as feature shrubs, hedges, climbers or groundcovers. There is plenty of room here to allow the shrub types to grow. Semi-climbers could be trained onto fences.

Garden centres always carry a range of bare-root roses in winter and may also have potted roses at other times. If buying through a specialist rose nursery, it will be possible to obtain a wider selection. There aren't a lot of rose specialists in Queensland but fortunately a wide selection can be readily purchased from the southern states online as bareroot plants.

At right is a suggested shortlist of shrub-type roses. A few of the most locally-successful modern roses have also been included. Most should be relatively easy to obtain.

There may be other varieties seen in rose catalogues that could be tried. Out of the heritage roses, the tea, noisette and China types are the best prospects. There is also a tend in modern breeding toward low maintenance and disease resistance, so some of the new releases might also be suitable. Be guided by the descriptions or further research.


Heritage Roses

plus some more modern varieties in the heirloom style:
Duchesse de Brabant (The Montville Rose)
Pierre de Ronsard
Cecile Brunner
Zephrine Drouhin
Kathleen Harrop
Monsieur Tillier
Buff Beauty
The Fairy
Lady Hillingdon
Souvenir de la Malmaison
Perle d'Or

Modern Hybrid Teas & Floribundas

Following are some most favoured for SE Qld:
Mister Lincoln
Queen Elizabeth
Gold Bunny
Double Delight
Apricot Nectar
Just Joey
Fragrant Cloud

More Online Information

Apart from some general information, the following list concentrates on links about roses in warm climates and associated issues. However, some species or cultivars discussed in international links may be unavailable in Australia. Remember also that fertiliser and pesticide recommendations in websites may not be directly applicable where you live.


Roses in a Warm Climate An inventory of old-fashioned roses grown at "The Shambles", Montville, with comments

Roses in other warm climates

Kelly's Cottage Roses and Perennials Information about Teas and other roses suitable for warm climates. NSW
Rose growing in Hawaii University of Hawaii (A 1972 circular, PDF)
Rose Culture in the Tropics American Rose Society, Northern California/Nevada/Hawaii District
Growing Roses in Florida Bradenton - Sarasota Rose Society
Growing Roses in Florida University of Florida
Roses in Your South Florida Landscape University of Florida, USA (PDF)
Rose Gardening in Florida University of Florida
Growing roses, by Alabama Cooperative Extension System (USA)
Roses for southern gardens Part of the Higher Ground website, Texas USA
Roses! Roses! Roses! Discussion of growing roses at Harry P. Leu Gardens, central Florida (PDF)
Lower maintenance roses for Florida Reproduction of a 1999 article from the Florida State Horticultural Society (PDF)
The right roses, right now Charlotte County Cooperative Extension Service, Florida (PDF)
Easy Care Roses Central Florida Rose Society
My Discovery of Heirloom Roses This U.S. gardener's story illustrates the difficulty of growing roses in a humid climate versus a dry one, and the advantages of using old varieties. Washington State University Clark County Extension

Selected links to general information about roses including cultivation and propagation at the bottom of this page.

Types of Roses

Enthusiasts divide roses into a number of categories (noisette, bourbon, hydrid tea and so on) depending on their parentage, history, plant form and flower. Almost any rose book or website will include an explanation of these categories so it isn't necessary to do into too much detail here. The information below is roughly divided into heritage and more modern roses, but because the emphasis here is on succesful rose growing in Qld, the focus is on classes and varieties which do relatively well here. [NB: this is a work in progress so not complete or comprehensive].

Heritage Roses

This group contains mostly hybrids developed up to the late 19th century as well as original species. This includes a range of flower types from singles through to multi-petalled cabbage-like flowers. These may seem unusual if your idea of a rose is the modern long-stemmed florist type. Apart from an appreciation of the history and beauty of these older forms, a good reason to consider heritage roses in Queensland is that many are actually more suitable for a warm climate.The various plant habits also make them easy to incorporate into a mixed garden setting as feature shrubs, hedges, climbers, groundcovers.

Old Roses - General

Texas Rose Rustlers This is the website of the world-famous Texas-based group who search cemeteries, old homesteads etc for old rose varieties (USA)
Antique Roses University of Arkansas
Copycat Gardening with China Roses at the Human Flower Project blog
Antique Roses for the South Texas A&M University
Old roses as specimen shrubs in Miami-Dade Reproduction of a 2004 article, Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society (PDF)
Which plants were mainstays in gardens circa 1900? Discusses Galveston Island, Texas. Includes notes on roses. Texas A&M University
rosarosam "Rose History and Photography". This NZ based site is a must-visit for anyone interested in old roses.
Old garden roses bloom in Florida University of Florida (PDF)
Old Garden Roses and Beyond Paul Barden Roses
History of Roses: Bourbon Roses American Rose Society

Tea Roses
The Montville Rose 'Duchesse de Brabant'
Tea Roses and the Landscape Pacific Southwest District of the American Rose Society
Tea Roses at Herself's Houston Garden (Blog)
History of Roses: Tea Roses American Rose Society
'Monsieur Tillier' Wins Top Spot Heritage Roses in Australia
Rose,Tea Rose General Gallieni,1899 The Florez Nursery blog

Banksia Rose

'Lady Banks' Rose The Florez Nursery blog, NSW
Lady Banks Deserves A Place In Your Garden (Rosa banksiae) Office of Agricultural Communications, Mississippi State University, USA
Tombstone Rose Rosa Banksiae. Moody Demonstration Garden, Arizonia
Rosa banksiae Mediterranean climate gardening throughout the world
Rosa banksiae Arid Plant List, University of Arizona
Rosa banksiae 'Lutea' (Bark) and Rosa banksiae 'Lutea (Flowers) National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens, UK
Roses for the Desert: Robert Neil Rippetoe Discusses attempts to hybridise with the Banks rose. Pacific Southwest District of the American Rose Society
Rosa Banksiae Arizona Arboretums and Botanical Gardens
Rosa banksiae var. banksiae Missouri Botanical Garden
Rosa banksiae 'Lutea' Missouri Botanical Garden

Rosa chinensis 'Mutabilis'

Mutabilis "Earthkind Roses" Texas A&M University
Rosa chindensis mutabilis N.C. State University, North Carolina
Rosa 'Mutabilis' Missouri Botanical Garden
Rosa mutabilis "Creating my own garden of the Hesperides" blog, Italy
Rosa chinensis Mutabilis World Federation of Rose Societies

'Zephrine Drouhin' and 'Kathleen Harrop'

Rosa 'Zéphirine Drouhin' Missouri Botanical Garden
A Winter flowering Rose ('Zephrine Drouhin') The Florez Nursery blog, NSW
Rose of the Month: 'Zephirine Drouhin' Organic Garden Dreams, Southern California


Perle d' Or "Earthkind Roses" Texas A&M University
Perle d'Or Rose Texas A&M University
Rosa 'Penelope' N.C. State University, North Carolina
Penelope Marin Rose Society
Cecile Brunner World Federation of Rose Societies
Rosa 'Cecile Brunner' Rosa 'Cecile Brunner' (climbing form)
Climbing Cecile Brunner Marin Rose Society
Cecile Brunner Passionfruit Garden, Western Australia (blog)
China Doll Passionfruit Garden, Western Australia (blog)
Souvenir de la Malmaison World Federation of Rose Societies

More recent varieties with an old-fashioned look

David Austen is famous for reviving the heritage look in modern varieties, but there are many others varieties from other breeders. Like the true heritage roses, many of these have a shrubby, spreading or climbing habit that make them useful for incorporating into general landscaping.

Pierre de Ronsard

Pierre de Ronsard, voted the world's favorite rose A mini-website about the variety by the French breeders, Meilland International
Pierre de Ronsard Rose Society of South Australia
Pierre de Ronsard Marin Rose Society
Pierre de Ronsard World Federation of Rose Societies
Eden Rose - Pierre De Ronsard Roses in Gardens, Denmark

'The Fairy'

The Fairy "Earthkind Roses" Texas A&M University
Rosa 'The Fairy' Missouri Botanical Garden
Rosa 'The Fairy' N.C. State University, North Carolina
Rosa 'The Fairy' Missouri Botanical Garden
The Fairy Roses in Gardens (blog)


Sea Foam "Earthkind Roses" Texas A&M University
Bonica Humboldt Rose Society (northern California)
Rosa 'Meidomonac' BONICA Missouri Botanical Garden
Rosa 'Meipitac' CAREFREE WONDER Missouri Botanical Garden

Selected Hybrid teas and Floribundas

These are the stiff bushes (often grown in dedicated rose beds), long-stemmed flowers and pointed buds that many have come to think of as "classic" roses. They are, however, a relatively recent development in the history of rose cultivation. Primarily bred for the cooler-climate gardener, many are poor performers in the subtropics. Following is a selection of cultivars with a track record in Queensland or reputed to perform reasonably well in hot humid climates. If you live in such a zone, check also with local rose societies for more information about good roses for your region. Maybe even join one!
Apricot Nectar Humboldt Rose Society (northern California)

Double Delight World Federation of Rose Societies
Double Delight Marin Rose Society

Elina Marin Rose Society

Fragrant Cloud N.C. State University, North Carolina
Fragrant Cloud World Federation of Rose Societies
Rosa 'Tanellis' FRAGRANT CLOUD Missouri Botanical Garden

Gold Medal Marin Rose Society
Gold Medal Humboldt Rose Society (northern California)

Rosa 'Korbin' ICEBERG Missouri Botanical Garden
Iceberg World Federation of Rose Societies
Iceberg Marin Rose Society
The Icebergs of California Piece of Eden (blog)
Iceberg Passionfruit Garden, Western Australia (blog)
Burgundy 'Iceberg' Rose The Florez Nursery blog, NSW
Rosa 'Prose' BURGUNDY ICEBERG Missouri Botanical Garden

Just Joey World Federation of Rose Societies
Rosa Just Joey ® National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens, U.K.
Just Joey Marin Rose Society

Kardinal Humboldt Rose Society (northern California)

Rosa 'Mister Lincoln' N.C. State University, North Carolina
Rosa MISTER LINCOLN Missouri Botanical Garden

Peace Marin Rose Society
Peace World Federation of Rose Societies

Queen Elizabeth World Federation of Rose Societies
The Queen Elizabeth Rose & Cucumber Relish The Florez Nursery blog, NSW
Queen Elizabeth Marin Rose Society
The Queen Elizabeth Rose The Quarter Acre Blog, Sydney
Queen Elizabeth Passionfruit Garden, Western Australia (blog)

This is a work in progress. To be continued...

More general information about roses

Different Kinds of Roses (Useful guide to the various categories) University of Illinois Extension
The Biology of Hybrid Tea Rose (Rosa x hybrida) Australian Government Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (PDF)
Rose Talk Australian Forum
Subrosa The Newsletter of the Rose and Perennial Gardens, Huntington Botanical Gardens, California

Cultivation - selected links

Rose Culture Texas A&M University
Rose Culture University of Florida (PDF)
Roses: How To Plant Texas A&M University
Rose pruning: general tips Royal Horticultural Society, UK
Rose pruning: shrub roses (pruning groups 20-23) Royal Horticultural Society, UK
Earth Kind Roses A program by Texas A&M University to identify landscape roses that perform well in that state on a range of soils and without a lot of pesticides.
Disease Resistant Roses Nashville Rose Society
Manage rose black spot disease with disease-tolerant cultivars By John Hartman Kentucky Pest News, Number 1011 - Feb 23, 2004. University of Kentucky USA.
Found! (A Few) roses that resist blackspot The Texas blackspot-resistant rose breeding program, Texas A&M University USA
Pests and diseases of roses Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney
Pests of roses State of Victoria, Department of Primary Industries
Common problems of roses Department of Agriculture Western Australia
Rose Aphids (Macrosiphum rosae) Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney
Rose Aphid Macrosiphum rosae Center for Integrated Pest Management, North Carolina State University
Black Spot Washington State University Clark County Extension
Rose Black Spot University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service (PDF)
Powdery Mildew of Roses NebGuide from University of Nebraska, USA
The Myth of Milk and Roses Washington State University (PDF)
Roses Need to Be Disease-Resistant & Hardy for Missouri Life Missouri Environment and Garden, University of Missouri
Baking soda - will fungi fail and roses rejoice? Washington State University (PDF)
Desert Rose Care Arid-Southwestern Gardening Information, University of Arizona
The Rose in the Desert Southwest University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (PDF)
Miniature Roses Colorado State University
Miniature Roses - Versatile Landscape Gems Washington State University Clark County Extension
Rose pruning: patio and miniature roses Royal Horticultural Society, UK
Climbing Roses - pruning and training
Training a weeping rose Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture
Rose pruning: climbing roses (pruning group 17) Royal Horticultural Society, UK
Rose pruning: rambling roses (pruning group 18) Royal Horticultural Society, UK
Grow roses in containers
Roses in containers Royal Horticultural Society, UK
Growing Roses In Containers Washington State University Clark County Extension
Growing Roses in Containers Colorado State University
Shrub Rose Responses to Production in Smart Pots and Conventional Containers using Two Contrasting Substrates Article in Subtropical Plant Science (Journal of the Rio Grande Valley Horticultural Society) (PDF)
Rose growing in skyrise apartments Green Culture Singapore
Copper Deficiency in Rose (Rosa sp.) A photograhic illustration. University of Florida NutDef Plant Nutrient Deficiency Database
Iron Deficiency in Rose (Rosa sp.) A photograhic illustration. University of Florida NutDef Plant Nutrient Deficiency Database
The Myth of Phosphate, Part II Washington State University (PDF)
Is your plant nutrient deficient? (Picture of magnesium deficiency in rose) Charlotte County UF/IFAS Extension Service, Florida (PDF)
Simultaneous grafting and rooting of roses State of Victoria, Department of Primary Industries
Propagating Roses From Cuttings Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Rose Propagation From Cuttings Texas A&M University
Growing Roses from Cuttings University of Florida (PDF)
How I Propagate Roses Harold Baker explains for he grafts roses at the ARS Deep South District website
Simultaneous grafting and rooting of roses Victoria Department of Primary Industries
Rose (Rosa spp.) Landscape Plant Propagation Information, University of Florida
Germination of Rose Seed Texas A&M University Rose Breeding and Genetics Program (PDF)
Enhancing seed germination in hybrid tea roses (abstract) in Propagation of Ornamental Plants 11(3): 111-118, 2011
Rootstock Issues
What is that strange red rose growing in my yard? - or - The saga of rootstock An article about the rootstock variety 'Dr Huey'. Denver Rose Society
Dr. Huey a Rose Sucker Illustrations of what can happen when rootstock suckers take over. Rose Notes blog
Rosa multiflora Landscape Plant Propagation Information, University of Florida
WDNR - Invasive Plant Species - Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora) One of the species commonly used as a rootstock. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
An Overview of Rosa Fortuniana Root Stock Pacific Southwest District of the American Rose Society
Rosa fortuneana compared with other rose rootstocks grown in Florida Reproduction of a 1962 article, Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society (PDF)
Texas A&M University Rose Breeding Program includes a section "The How-To's of Rose Breeding"
Challenging Plant Patents: the Rose Post at the Human Flower Project blog discussing whether patenting really has resulted in much innovation in breeding
Roses in China: Germplasm, Production, and Cultivation In Chronica Horticulturae, March 2011, International Society for Horticultural Science (PDF)

Assorted botanical and technical information

Greenhouse roses for cutflower production Dept Agriculture, Western Australia (PDF)
The Roses of Taif Article about the commercial production of damask rose (Rosa x Damascena) for perfumery in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Aramco World magazine
The "Peggy Martin" Rose More on the rose that survived Hurricane Katrina. Texas A&M University

Rose News

Vale David Austin

Many readers will know of David Austin, or have encountered his world famous roses. Mr Austin passed away on 19 December 2018, aged 92. His breeding work brought the beauty and fragrance of historic roses to new varieties better suited to the demands of modern gardeners, including repeat-flowering, disease resistance and colour range.

More roses for New Farm Park

The first of 2,500 rose bushes has been planted as part of Brisbane's New Farm Park revitalisation plan. From 1913, the park has been famous for its rose gardens which grew as many as 20,000 bushes. Huge losses were suffered, however, from the 1974 floods. Besides adding to the rose display, the current upgrade will improve facilities in the park. (May 2016)

Path to rose fragrance takes unexpected turn

Researchers studying the biochemistry of rose fragrance has found that fragrance in all plants is not produced by enzymes called terpene synthases. Comparison of the cultivars Papa Meilland (highly scented) and Rouge Meilland (low scent) allowed them to identify RhNUDX1 in a different class of enzyme. Located in in the cytoplasm of rose petal cells it produces the primary part of rose oil, geraniol. This knowledge may be used in the future to help breed fragrance back into new rose varieties. Source: Unexpected enzyme may resurrect roses' fading scents (July 2015)

Some roses tested for salt tolerance

18 popular rose cultivars promoted by Texas A&M University under the Earth-Kind® brand for their pest tolerance and landscape performance have also been tested for salt tolerance. The cultivars varied, with 'Sea Foam' being one of the best and 'Cecile Brunner' one of the worst. Source: Earth-Kind roses analyzed for salt tolerance. (June 2014)

Antioxidant roses
Rosa canina

A Slovenian study in which several rose species and modern cultivars were compared, showed differences in levels of phenolic compounds, Among those tested, Rosa canina leaves exhibited high and varied content of the antioxidants. This could be an underlying reason for the popularity of this species in traditional medicine. On the other hand, the modern cultivar 'Schwanensee' had the lowest levels of those tested, which might explain its susceptibility to disease. Differences in phenolic makeup of indigenous rose species and modern cultivars (May 2014)
Photo of Rosa canina (left) by Valentina Schmitzer

Roses to rebound in Biggenden

Biggenden have called on rose experts and professional growers Pam and Randall Barton to consult on the town's public rose gardens. Community garden volunteers will work with North Burnett Regional Council staff to rejuventate most of the currently surviving plants on the basis of the Bartons' advice. New plants of hardy varieties suitable for the conditions will also be added. Restoration of the beloved roses are part of Biggenden Community Flood Recovery Program and other gardening events are planned. Read more at the Council's website: Biggenden Main Street is coming up roses! (June 2013)

A new type of plant tag
Microchip technology similar to that used to identify animals is being tested in plants. Scientists in Italy have developed a way to embed Radiofrequency Identification (RFID) tags in rose bushes that causes minimal damage. Potential applications of such technology include tracking of plants for research or quarantine purposes, identification of valuable specimens vulnerable to theft, and visitor guides in botanic gardens. Media releases including link to original HortTechnology article: Embedding microchips in ornamental shrubs (July 2011)

Genetically modified "blue" rose goes on sale in Japan
The product of a collaboration between Japanese and Australian developers, what is being called the world's first blue rose will be commercially available in Japan from 3rd November. The claim is based on the "nearly 100% blue pigment" resulting from introduction of genes from pansy and iris after first suppressing production of red pigment. However, the actual flowers are described as having "a bluish tinge" in the Suntory media release: Introducing "SUNTORY blue rose APPLAUSE" (October 2009). A information sheet from the CSIRO with more information about the biotechnology involved is available here: World's first blue rose (PDF). Further research may produce bluer blue roses.

Nashville celebrates music with flowers
A new public garden in Nashville, USA, will pay tribute to icons of the music industry as well as beautifying the city with appropriately named plants like Hank Williams, Elvis, Grand Ole Opry and Purple Haze. Rose and daylily collections will feature. Learn more at the website: Nashville Music Garden (September 2009).

Rosa 'Graham Thomas' 'Graham Thomas' declared World's Favourite Rose
After nomination and voting involving 41 member countries, the World Federation of Rose Societies has awarded this David Austin cultivar it's highest honour. A World's Favorite Rose is selected only every three years, and is then inducted to the Rose Hall of Fame. The first winner, in 1976, was 'Peace'.
Pictured left: Rosa 'Graham Thomas' (Image courtesy David Austin Roses)

About      Advertising      Privacy & Terms     Contact
© Calyx Horticultural Services