Standard roses – A must for all rose enthusiasts

Standard roses are grown like small trees. They add an attractive dimension to the garden, bear their blossoms at eye level, and their height makes them easy to care for. A standard rose is an ideal specimen plant.




Remove winter protection if any. Apply a general-purpose rose fertilizer. Carry out pruning on all but weeping standards. Apply mulch.



Re-apply fertilizer.

Watch for pests and diseases and take appropriate action. Deadhead (remove dead flower-heads) regularly.


Prune weeping standards after flowering.



Planting time.

Plant fairly shal- lowly to discourage the rootstock from suckering (growing shoots from the roots). Attach the rose stem to the stake with a tie that has a buffer between the 2 to prevent chafing.



Add protective straw or bracken to the head of standards in especially cold areas. Tie it in place with garden twine.


As a standard is a bush rose budded (grafted) to the top of a stem, lightly prune it as if it were a bush rose in spring. Cut out all unwanted wood, then cut off the tips of the stems. Keep a balanced head as a standard can usually be seen from all sides. Prune weeping standards as for ramblers, but more lightly: cut out 1-2 branches that have flowered. Shorten the side shoots on the rest of the branches that have flowered.


Full or half Weeping, Miniature standard, standard, Standard ‘Amber Queen’, ‘Alberic Barbier’, ‘Angela Rippon’ ‘Ballerina’, ‘Albertine’, ‘Baby Masquerade’ ‘Bonica’, ‘Canary Bird’, ‘Gypsy Jewel’ ‘Fragrant Cloud’, ‘Crimson Shower’, ‘Happy Thought’ ‘Freedom’, ‘Dorothy Perkins’, ‘Little Buckaroo’ ‘Iceberg’, ‘Excelsa’, ‘Magic Carrousel’ ‘Ingrid Bergman’, ‘Emily Gray’, ‘Mood Music’ ‘Just Joey’, ‘Nozomi’, ‘Mother’s Day’ ‘Margaret Merril’, ‘Sander’s White’, ‘Red Ace’ ‘Paul Shirville’, ‘Swany’, ‘RuguT ‘Peace’, ‘Zephirine Drouhin, ‘Scarletta’ ‘Silver Jubilee’, ‘Starina’

Standard roses are formed from varieties bud-grafted on to a tall stem growing from a wild rose rootstock. You can buy both upright and weeping standard roses.

The most common root-stock rose used is Rosa rugosa, though some nurseries growing their plants on heavy soil use R. canina. There are four different standard sizes:

Those formed from miniature rose varieties budded on to stocks of 30cm.

Half standards at 75cm.

Full standards at 105cm. (Hybrid Teas, small shrub and cluster-flowered roses can be budded on to half and full standards.)

Weeping standards at 150-160cm. Roses with long, lax shoots such as ramblers are budded on these stems so that they hang (’weep’), laden with blossom, to the ground.

Where to plant

You can use standards to line drives or paths, or plant one in a tub on a sunny patio. Full or weeping standards can make spectacular focal points.

A single upright standard can form the centrepiece of a bed of bush roses, but do not try to mix a weeping standard with smaller roses. In time its shoots will hang down to ground level and, on a windy day, would catch in the shoots of the bedding roses. If you have a long border of bedding roses, try spacing out standards in contrasting colours in a line down the middle.


You can support these with a single stake, but the display is even better if you buy a special, umbrella-like frame and attach it to the top of the stake. Tie shoots in to this.


Standard roses do not usually need winter protection in Britain, except in very cold spells. If severe weather is forecast, wrap straw or bracken around the head of the standard. Remove as soon as it warms up.

Standard roses


Plant in a sunny spot and, if possible, one which is sheltered from high winds. Grow in a pot, in a rose-bed or herbaceous border, or as a focal point, perhaps in a circular bed in the lawn.


Good garden soil, rich in humus and well-drained. For standards grown in tubs, a high-quality potting compost is suitable.


Add fertilizer in spring and again in midsummer. Apply organic mulch (ground covering) in spring. Prune in spring. Deadhead (remove wilted flowers).


Standards suffer from the same problems as other roses and usually need regular spraying with a fungicide and/or a pesticide. Plant where air circulation is good to help keep diseases at bay.


Standards always need a support. You can buy a special stake at garden centres. It should reach about 5cm into the crown (branched top).

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