Do Roses Need Full Sun

Roses typically need plenty of sun to thrive. But can they be grown in shady areas?

Roses are woody perennials with thorny stems that can add great visuals to any garden. If you are not sure whether roses need full sun or are tolerant of shade, read on for all the information you need.

General Care

Most rose plants require at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day to flourish. Usually, roses grown in shady locations usually grow tall and spindly, and bloom less frequently than roses grown in sunny areas. 

Roses growing in shade may be more susceptible to disease and pest, especially if the plants do not receive morning sunlight, which reduces the risk of fungal infections.

Treat your plants twice a year with a fertilizer specifically formulated for roses for the best results. The first application should occur at the beginning of the growing season. After the first bloom cycle, the second application will encourage repeat flowering.

Fresh and blooming white roses

Pick a Good Spot

Plant roses in a sheltered location where they will receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day to guarantee strong, healthy growth. Plant them near small plants or trees that will provide shade from strong, drying winds and excessive heat.

Depending on the kind, rose bushes should be spaced at least 3 feet apart so that air can circulate freely around them. Roses that are planted too close together bloom less frequently and are more susceptible to illness than roses that are not.

Can Roses Grow in Shade?

Although no rose can thrive in complete shade, some varieties tolerate and even prefer partial shade.

Among the varieties that do well in shady locations are traditional rose varieties, like floribundas, shrub roses, and climbing roses. Alba roses, David Austin roses, and old English roses will also do well without less than 6 hours of sunlight. 

Rose bushes that thrive in partial shade may require more care than those that thrive in full sunlight. Fertilize them regularly and keep the soil moist but not damp. 

Keep in mind that roses grown in the shade frequently grow taller than those grown in the light. If you select a variety with pink or white blossoms, it will brighten up your shady areas.

Soft pink rose flower

Can Roses Get Too Much Sun?

In theory, roses may be exposed to too much light. However, if you notice signs of sun scald, heat is often a bigger problem than sunlight.

Sun scald on rose leaves is mostly a cosmetic issue that causes the leaves to turn a range of colors, most commonly white, yellow, or brown.

If your roses get sun scald, remove the scorched leaves and increase your usual watering. Water early in the morning or late in the evening for best results. If possible, move any sun-scalded potted roses to a cool or partially shaded spot and keep an eye on them.

Alaine Connolly
Alaine has been working way too hard in horticulture since 1992, beautifying golf courses, resorts, and hotels. She is a part time landscape designer who works full time caring for a 28,000 square foot public garden. At home, she maintains her own 400 square feet plot. Alaine lives in northern Illinois - zone 5b.
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