How Much Sun Do Roses Need?

Have you searched online to find how much sun do roses need? If so, you have probably found several sources telling you that roses need six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day. While this is an excellent rule-of-thumb to follow, there are a few additional factors that you should take into consideration.


Following old and accepted rules is generally a smart thing for a gardener to do. But the wise gardener knows that the answer to her problem lies in careful observation of the conditions at hand – not in memorizing old rules.

As with most gardening topics, there are exceptions to every rule; and the unique circumstances of your environment and your local climate should definitely factor into your decision about where to plant roses and how much sun they will need.

Planting Roses in Southern Climates

Planting Roses

If you live in a Southern climate with intense afternoon sunlight and high ambient temperatures in the summertime, you would be wise to consider providing some protection from direct sunlight in the late afternoon.

Intense direct sunlight can scorch leaves and dry plants out – even the famously resilient roses. In harsh and dry climates, consider locating your roses where they will get full sun until midday, and then receive partial protection from the shade of a tree or a building in the afternoon.

If you garden in the South and you have a tree or building available to provide partial shade, locate your roses on the east or north side of the structure to allow full sun in the morning with the protection of shade in the afternoon.

Planting Roses in Northern Climates

Planting Roses

If you live in a Northern climate where the days are short in the winter, your roses will probably benefit from being located in full sun. In the North, direct sun in the afternoon is less of a concern because the ambient temperatures are not as stressful for your garden plants.

If you garden in the North, locate your roses on the South or West side of any trees or buildings to ensure that they receive the maximum amount of direct sunlight every day.

Research the Requirements of Your Particular Variety

Rose Varieties

There is a fair amount of variance among roses regarding their preferences for sunlight, shade, and care. Take the time to get to learn about the specific requirements of the variety you intend to grow.

Many of the wild roses, found roses, and antique heirloom roses are much more tolerant of intense direct sunlight than their hybrid cousins. These roses are well-suited to the natural conditions of the environment. If you look around, you will likely find antique roses flourishing in full sun on abandoned lots and in cemeteries – where no gardener ever cares for them.

The newer hybrids, which have been selected for their flower production and show qualities, are less likely to thrive with intense afternoon sunlight. These more delicate varieties would appreciate a little protection from partial shade in the afternoon.

Specialties like miniature roses, tea roses, and polyanthas are more likely to thrive with afternoon protection.

Growing Roses in Partial Shade

Growing Roses in Shade

We hear quite often from gardeners who have only full sun locations available and are concerned that the exposure to direct sunlight may be too much for their young canes to handle. But there are two sides to every coin, and we also hear from gardeners who want to grow roses but are afraid that the location they have chosen is too shady.

If you want to attempt growing roses in partial shade, there is a good chance that you can succeed. But you must do a little extra research ahead of time to ensure that you select a variety of rose that is likely to thrive in the conditions you have to offer.

Several varieties are well-adapted to partial shade, and you will find that you have a great selection to choose from. This list of shade-tolerant roses includes shrubs and climbers, floribundas, musks, and antiques. Choose wisely, and you will find that you can grow roses in locations which receive well below the recommended standard six to eight hours of direct sun.

Match Moisture and Sunlight for Happy Roses

Watering Roses

Generally speaking, roses don’t require much supplemental water. Found roses and antique varieties are notoriously drought-tolerant. In fact, it is much more common for gardeners to have problems as a result of over-watering.

However, you would be wise to adjust your watering schedule to accommodate your roses, according to how much direct sunlight they are receiving.

A rose in full sun in a warm climate would benefit from more supplemental water. Of course, make sure that the soil has a chance to return to normal dryness before you water again. Constant moisture will likely lead to fungus problems on your precious roses.

In a partially shady location, roses will require much less water. Keeping a rose wet in partial shade is a recipe for disaster.

You will find that fungal issues are kept to a minimum when shady roses are allowed to stay quite dry. If you are growing other plants in the vicinity, the water you provide to those other plants will more than likely be sufficient to keep your rose happy.

How Much Sun Do Roses Need?

As we’ve just established – it depends. When choosing a spot for a new rose, you should take several factors into consideration including your climate, your existing landscape, and the specific variety you intend to grow.

Have you had any particular successes or failures with your roses that you can share? If you have an unusually beautiful or problematic rose, tell us about it in the comments section below, and let us know how much sun it typically gets.

About the Author Laura Bennett

Hello, I’m Laura Bennett. I love nature especially when it comes to flowers and different kinds of plants. I started a very small garden behind my house and I named it Humid Garden. So, I created this blog to provide aspiring and inspiring thoughts about gardening for gardeners and anyone who has the intention of keeping a garden.

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