Standard roses are cultivated by grafting several rose varieties together to produce a tall plant that has long stems and colorful, complex flowers. Standard roses, also called rose standards or tree roses, come in dwarf and full size varieties. When cultivating this plant variety, horticulturists combine the best elements of a strong rootstock, a tall stem, and the desired flower. There are many different varieties and cultivars, with more appearing every year. Standard roses are used in the landscape to create height and color elements and often are used for cut flower arraignments.
Grafting is an ancient method of plant reproduction used by horticulturists to combine the most desirable elements of several varieties of a plant species. There are many methods and variations of grafting. Commonly, a cutting from a plant that produces good flowers or fruit is grafted onto a variety that produces strong roots and demonstrates rapid growth. Roses have woody stems that are well suited for grafting. Centuries of breeding and grafting have lead to a vast array of rose varieties and cultivars.
A standard rose combines the best elements of three different rose plants. One of the plants is chosen for its strong roots, resistance to soil disease, and good growth rate. This plant is called the rootstock. The top of the rootstock plant is cut off, and a long-stem rose variety is grafted onto it. Once the graft takes, the top of the long stem plant is removed, and a cutting from a rose with good flower color and production is grafted onto it.
In the landscape, standard roses create height in rose gardens and shrub beds and add color to border areas. Often used to line pathways, tree roses are hard to top for elegance and beauty. Standard roses are well suited as specimen shrubs in the landscape as well. In addition to a seemingly endless array of colors, single trees with several different flower colors are also available. Planted in a large container, a standard rose makes a striking addition to a patio, porch, or other outdoor living area.
Full-size standard roses grow 4 to 6 feet (about 1.2 to 1.8 m) tall. Dwarf varieties generally grow 12 inches (about 30 cm) tall. Dwarf standard roses share the tree-like shape, the long stems, and the rich flower color, just in a smaller size.
Standard roses require more protection in the landscape then other bushes or climbing roses. An area that is protected from wind is required. When the plants are being established, a stake can help keep them upright.