What Is the Life Cycle of a Rose?

Roses are perennials that last for many years, growing and blooming during the spring and summer and then going dormant during the fall and winter. Roses start out as seeds, but mature plants repeat this annual life cycle as long as they are healthy and growing conditions are favorable.

Most gardeners skip the seeds and buy bare-root roses or potted roses for their gardens. Bare-root roses are sold in packages and include dormant roots and stems which must be soaked and then planted. Potted roses are already established in soil and just need to be transplanted into a garden by early spring. Rose plants must be pruned each spring to insure the best blossoms.

As with most flowers, the rose’s fragrant blooms are meant to attract bees and other pollinators. As the bees flit from flower to flower, they leave behind pollen particles. These attach to the stigma, the sticky opening to the ovary. Once pollinated, seeds are produced inside fruits called rose hips. These are eaten by animals, causing the seeds to be dispersed.

After the blooming season is over, the rose enters its dormant phase. Gardeners in cold climates usually protect their plants by covering them with mulch, straw or special structures called rose cones. The plants remain covered until spring, when the life cycle begins again.