Growing Roses in Shade: Is It Possible?

Roses (Rosa spp.) are some of the most famous flowers in the world. These deciduous perennials come in several colors and typically require full sun. However, only some gardens provide such conditions. In this article, I’ll explain whether roses can grow in the shade.

Will Roses Grow in the Shade?

Will Roses Grow in the Shade?

Most roses require up to eight hours of full sun daily to produce their best flowers during the blooming season. However, some rose cultivars may actually perform better in partial shade. That said, even roses growing in partial shade will need at least four hours of full sun during the day.

Growing roses in partial shade can have several advantages. Roses growing in partial shade often produce richer colors and will last a little longer than those in full sun. However, the trade-off is that roses growing in partial shade will produce fewer, smaller flowers.

While most roses prefer full sun, those growing in hot climates can suffer if exposed to too much sun. Direct afternoon sunlight is especially damaging, so providing some partial shade during the afternoon can protect your rose.

Although some roses can grow in partial shade, very few roses can tolerate full shade. If roses don’t get enough sunlight, they will struggle to produce strong, healthy growth. Roses growing in full shade are also unlikely to flower.

What Type of Light is Best for Roses?

Colorful rose bushes in bloom

Most types of roses grow best in full sun in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 11. Roses typically need between six and eight hours of full sun every day. In most cases, east or south-facing areas are ideal for roses. These locations provide plenty of full sun during the morning and some partial shade during the afternoon.

Signs That Your Roses Need More Light

Lack of Flowers

Most roses bloom sometime between late spring and fall. However, roses that don’t get enough sunlight will often struggle to produce large, colorful flowers. Roses growing in full shade may not produce flowers at all.

Leggy Growth

Leggy or straggly growth is another sign that your rose isn’t getting enough sunlight. In my experience, this occurs when new leaves become very spread out on the stems. The stems will also be long and droopy.

Weak or Stunted Growth

Without enough fuel, your roses won’t be able to produce strong, healthy growth. If the new leaves on your rose are small and weak, your plant probably isn’t getting enough sunlight.

Considerations for Growing Roses in the Shade

Lush vibrant red rose flowers in bloom in a shaded location in a garden

If your garden doesn’t provide large amounts of sunlight, you can still grow roses in partial shade. However, there are some considerations to keep in mind to help you get the most out of your roses;

Choose the Right Variety

Some rose varieties do better in partial shade than others, so selecting the right variety is important. Many roses can still flower sufficiently in partial shade if they receive at least four hours of full sun.

Many repeat-blooming modern and Floribunda roses produce lots of flowers even in partial shade. Several once-blooming varieties like Alba, Damask, and old garden roses also perform well in partial shade. Many climbing or rambling roses are good choices because they naturally climb other plants to reach the sunlight.

Consider the Growing Location

While several roses can grow in partial shade, some shaded locations should be avoided. Don’t plant roses underneath trees or large shrubs as this will create too much shade. Trees will also use up most of the water and nutrients in the surrounding soil, starving your roses.

If you have a north-facing wall, climbing or rambling roses will work well. Many rambling roses are tolerant of partial shade and perform well when allowed to climb a trellis.

Water Use

Roses growing in partial shade will require slightly less water than those growing in full sun. As such, it can be easy to overwater roses growing in partial shade. Overwatering leads to fungal infections and problems like root rot, so only water your roses about once per week.

25 Best Types of Roses For Shaded Areas

Bright pink rose flowers blooming with minimal sun exposure

Even if your garden only offers partial shade, you can still grow some beautiful roses. All the roses in this list can tolerate partial shade. However, they will still need at least four hours of full sun daily.

1) Rosa ‘Crimson Shower’

Rosa ‘Crimson Shower’ is a richly-colored rambling rose ideal for north-facing walls in Zones 5 to 9. This cultivar produces clusters of crimson-red flowers and climbs up to 15 feet tall.

2) Rosa ‘Eden Climber’

Rosa ‘Eden Climber’ is a breathtaking climbing rose with light pink double flowers showers. This cultivar is ideal for garden arches or obelisks. Rosa ‘Eden Climber’ grows best in Zones 5 to 9.

3) Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’

Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ is among the most famous rose cultivars available. David Austin developed this repeat-blooming shrub rose with gorgeous pink double flowers with red centers on the petals. It thrives in Zones 4 to 8.

4) Rosa ‘Golden Showers’

Rosa ‘Golden Showers’ is a stunning repeat-blooming climbing rose suitable for partial shade in Zones 5 to 9. This cultivar produces showers of semi-double yellow flowers with a sweet, honey-like fragrance.

5) Rosa ‘Iceberg’

This brilliant repeat-blooming Floribunda rose was developed in 1958 and has been popular ever since. Rosa ‘Iceberg’ produces clusters of white double flowers and thrives in Zones 5 to 9. The flowers produce a sweet, light scent.

6) Rosa ‘Kew Gardens’

Rosa ‘Kew Gardens’ is a fantastic hybrid musk rose suitable for Zones 5 to 10. This repeat-blooming shrub produces dense clusters of small, white single flowers. It blooms from early summer until fall.

7) Rosa ‘Lady of Shallot’

Rosa ‘Lady of Shallot’ is a gorgeous English shrub rose with large, orange double flowers. David Austin developed this cultivar and produces a tea-like scent with hints of fruity spice. It thrives in Zones 5 to 9.

8) Rosa ‘Mary Rose’

This elegant English shrub rose has large, blousy, medium-pink double flowers with a fragrance combining almond and honey. Rosa ‘Mary Rose’ grows best in Zones 5 to 11.

9) Rosa ‘Red Knock Out’

Rosa ‘Red Knock Out’ has gorgeous single or semi-double red flowers and dark, purplish-green leaves. This shrub rose is suitable for Zones 5 to 11.

10) Rosa ‘The Generous Gardener’

This breathtaking English climbing rose produces clusters of pale pink double flowers. The blooms have a strong, musky fragrance and perform best in Zones 5 to 9.

11) Rosa ‘Ballerina’ 

A hybrid musk rose with small, pink flowers that bloom profusely. Ballerina can handle partial shade quite well.

12) Rosa ‘Penelope’ 

Known for its large clusters of creamy-pink flowers, Penelope is a hybrid musk rose that enjoys partial shade.

13) Rosa ‘Zéphirine Drouhin’

This climbing Bourbon rose is thornless, highly fragrant, and grows well in shade, displaying vivid pink blooms.

14) Rosa ‘Madame Alfred Carrière’ 

A noisette rose with fragrant, blush-white flowers. It flourishes in a shaded area.

15) Rosa ‘Golden Wings’

A shrub rose that produces fragrant, pale-yellow flowers. Golden Wings is more shade-tolerant than many other roses.

16) Rosa ‘The Generous Gardener’ 

With beautiful pale pink blooms and a strong fragrance, this English climbing rose grows well in partial shade.

17) Rosa ‘Mortimer Sackler’ 

A delicately colored, fragrant climbing rose that can thrive even in dappled shade.

18) Rosa ‘Graham Thomas’ 

A famous yellow English rose known for its resilience and ability to handle some shade.

19) Rosa ‘Alchymist’ 

A vigorous climber with orange-yellow blooms, Alchymist can grow well in areas with partial shade.

20) Rosa ‘Sombreuil’ 

This climbing tea rose with creamy-white, fragrant flowers that flourish in partial shade.

21) Rosa ‘New Dawn’ 

Renowned for its pale pink flowers, New Dawn is a climbing rose that enjoys some shade.

22) Rosa ‘Souvenir du Docteur Jamain’ 

An old-fashioned climber with deep burgundy blooms, ideal for a shady spot.

23) Rosa ‘L. D. Braithwaite’ 

A beautiful red English rose that can grow in dappled shade.

24) Rosa ‘Crown Princess Margareta’ 

With its beautiful apricot-colored flowers, this rose is suitable for partial shade.

25) Rosa ‘Sally Holmes’ 

A shrub rose known for its large clusters of white flowers. It thrives in partial shade.

Will Roses Grow in the Shade FAQs:

Is There a Rose That Will Grow in Shade?

Many roses will grow in partial shade as long as they get at least four hours of sun each day. Some of the best roses for partial shade include Rosa ‘Eden Climber’ and Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’.

Do Roses Grow Well in a North-Facing Garden?

Roses can still grow well even if you have a north-facing garden. Climbing and rambling roses are ideal for north-facing walls. However, your roses will still need approximately four hours of full sun.

Can You Plant Roses Under Trees?

Avoid planting roses under trees because the canopy creates too much shade. Trees also absorb a lot of water and nutrients from the surrounding soil, starving your rose.

Wrapping Up

Although most roses need full sun, many roses can also tolerate partial shade. However, even roses growing in partial shade will need approximately four hours of full sun every day. Roses growing in full sun produce bigger flowers, but those growing in full shade usually last slightly longer.

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