Roses are some of the most popular flowers of all time, whether they’re given as a gift or planted in a garden. And since June is National Rose Month, it’s the perfect time of year to start thinking about incorporating the blooms into your own garden. Luckily, roses are pretty easy to grow, even for beginning gardeners – it just takes a little bit of research. If this is your first time growing roses, take a look at this guide before you get started:

Understanding Rose Hardiness

There are more than 100 different species of roses with varying hardiness levels. The first step to growing roses is determining the types that are most hardy to your climate zone, which will ensure you plant varieties that will flourish. Most species of rose are pretty hardy overall, so if you have a particular affinity to one variety, you can absolutely still try planting it, even if it doesn’t fall in your particular zone. Keep in mind that most roses thrive in warm temperatures, which means you may have more trouble maintaining healthy rose plants if you live in a northern climate.

Rose garden

Choose Your Type

It’s not just hardiness that differs by┬ávariety. Roses come in all different shapes and sizes, from short to tall, and from shrubs to ramblers to climbers. If you’re looking to grow the traditional long, thick-stemmed variety, you’ll want to choose hybrid tea roses which are the best for cutting long-stemmed arrangements.

Sun, Soil and Water

Roses prefer locations where they’ll receive at least six hours of sun per day, which means it’s best to choose a spot outside of any shady areas in your garden or yards. They grow well in moist, extra-fertile soil that drains well and do best when they’re planted in spots where they aren’t competing with other plant roots. Rambling rose varieties are OK with being planted near other greenery, and they are often used as ground cover in gardens or near trees. Because most roses prefer being secluded, many gardeners opt to grow them in their own raised flower beds (this is an especially good idea if your soil is particularly wet or heavy).

Planting Roses in a Garden

After you’ve decided on the perfect variety and the best spot in your garden, it’s time to get planting. Before planting your roses, soak them overnight in water, and make sure the roots don’t dry out during the gardening process. To plant, dig a large hole where you want your roses to go – it should be at least a couple feet deep and wide enough to comfortably fit the roots. Place the roses in their hole, then cover the roots with a mixture of soil and organic compost or manure. Water the soil immediately after planting.

Planting Roses in a Container

Roses thrive well in containers, but you must make sure the container you use will allow the soil to drain – if it doesn’t, your roses will drown in too-moist soil. Do your research and opt for varieties that don’t require a lot of room for their roots to spread out. Choose as large a container as you can, and plant them as you would in a garden, with plenty of fertilizer.

Caring for Roses

Roses require regular watering and fertile soil. Water them often – about 1 inch per week – at the base of the plant, rather than from overhead to keep their foliage mostly dry. You can also set up a drip irrigation system which will keep the soil moist and the roses happy. Many people recommend using slow-release fertilizer on their roses during the spring, as this will provide just enough nutrients without overfeeding the blossoms.