The rose is one of the most recognizable plants, grown all over the world for its gorgeous looks, vivid color, and captivating perfume.
The genus itself, Rosa, is made up of more than 300 different species, and nearly countless cultivars, and makes up a big chunk of the Rosaceae plant family.
Roses At A Glance
While not one of the largest plant genera out there, the rosa genus is among the most popular, and there are many types to choose from.
There is a type for every garden, whether you are lucky enough to have a lot of room, or if you have a single container, there is a rose to fill it.
You can get climbing roses, miniature roses, rambling roses, shrub roses, and standard roses, all within a kaleidoscope of color.
There is also a rose shape for every taste, with single roses which feature five petals each, to old roses which can have hundreds of petals per flower.
Some will even develop rose hips after the flowers have finished, which are not only beneficial for birds and other insects, but they are also a great source of vitamin C for humans, too.
The rose is one of the oldest flowers in cultivation, having been grown and bred by us for centuries.
Rosa Name Meaning
The genus name is Latin for rose, which potentially came from the Greek word rhodon, describing both the color red and the flower itself.
A lot of different roses have an underlying symbolism concerning the different forms of love and affection, each color representing a different type.
That’s not to say that they don’t have other meanings, but these are the most well-known, and it’s the conclusion that most people will jump to if you buy them roses.
Red roses speak of the deepest romantic love, which can border on obsession.
Yellow roses represent the deep bonds of friendship and non-romantic affection, and purple roses symbolize how you feel enchanted or bewitched by your love of someone.
Combine roses with other flowers for a deeply nuanced message, and also to avoid any confusion!
Roses In Mythology
Roses are entrenched in mythology. In Greek myth, red roses were associated with Aphrodite, who was the goddess of love.
She loved a mortal man named Adonis, who, unfortunately, became gravely wounded after he went hunting wild boar, ignoring all of her warnings.
Aphrodite got there in time to speak to him, but not to heal him. The ground drank his blood and her tears, and from the mixture the perfumed red rose sprang from the ground.
There is another version where red roses were created from her blood, when, hearing the news she rushed to get to him, and white rose bushes turned red when the thorns absorbed her blood.
In Rome, Flora, who was the goddess of flowers and spring, found her favorite nymph dead.
Distraught, she begged the other gods to help immortalize her memory, to transform the nymph’s body into the most beautiful flower of all, which would be royalty among flowers.
The gods agreed, and each bestowed a different trait: Apollo gave the flower life, Bacchus nectar, Vertumnus a great perfume, Pomona gave the bloom the chance to fruit, and Flora crowned the flower with a huge number of petals, and so the nymph was transformed into the rose.
Rose Flower Uses
Roses have had many different uses across the ages, and some roses can still be used for purposes they had been utilized for thousands of years ago, which is interesting no matter how you look at it.
Roses have quite a few medicinal applications. They have been used for hundreds of years to treat topical complaints such as skin irritations, inflammation, redness, acne flare-ups, diaper rashes, and to prevent dry or scaly skin.
The plant can also help headaches, heart disease, liver disease, and to improve and aid normal digestion, as well as relieving the problems of indigestion, diarrhea, and constipation.
Rose hips are often used as a natural remedy for colds and flu thanks to their levels of vitamin C, and can help ease the symptoms of asthma and bronchitis.
There is some evidence to suggest that roses also have anticancer and antitumor properties, too.
This may not come as a surprise, as there are many roses which are bred primarily for their gorgeous perfume.
While rose essential oil can be quite pricey, it does have its uses. It’s one of the most widely-used essential oils, which is believed to help alleviate depression, tension, and anxiety.
It’s also said to promote emotional stability, and aid mental clarification.
You may be surprised to know that it’s not just rose hips which are safe to eat, but the flowers themselves are, too.
While the flavor varies wildly depending on what cultivar you choose, roses can be added to biscuits, cakes, jam, desserts, and wine, as well as making petal sugar.
Rose hips are used in tea-making, food supplements, soups, salads, and sauces.
Conditions You Need For Growing Roses
Roses are easy to look after, once you know what type likes what.
For example, most roses prefer full sunlight, with at least six hours of sunlight a day, otherwise the plants will suffer.
Some will tolerate partial shade, including many rambling varieties, needing at least four or five hours of direct sunlight in order to thrive.
No matter the species you go for, all roses require well-draining soil that’s preferably rich in organic matter, with a pH between 5.5 and 7.0.
Roses will not cope well in very dry or sandy soil, so you may want to plant them in a container if this sounds like your garden.
You could also go for a plant which looks like a rose but likes more severe conditions, such as a moss rose.
Depending on the cultivar, roses are largely hardy in USDA zones from 2 through to 10, and do best in a sheltered spot with plenty of airflow.
This will prevent disease, but it also ensures that your roses will be in flower for as long as possible.
Always plan ahead with roses, and find a cultivar to fit your garden, as some species can only reach a couple of feet high, while others easily climb up to 40 feet high!
Roses don’t need a huge amount of water, but they do need a medium amount of attention.
Depending on the type of rose you get, most require an annual trim, not including the regular deadheading that you’ll have to do throughout the flowering season.