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Roses are the most beloved flowers in the world. Unfortunately, many people shy away from raising them for fear that these beauties are as temperamental as they are lovely. Never fear! Given a little care and lots of love, your rose garden will soon become a sea of fragrance and petals. If all of this advice seems like more than you want to take on, just give us a call, there are many varieties that need virtually no care at all once established.

When to Plant

The ideal planting time for roses in Colorado is early spring, when the soil is workable and the roses are still dormant, yet potted roses can be planted any time, the earlier..the better. We carry a nice selection through out the season, particularly with landscape shrubs and bush roses. Your best selection of hybrid teas and floribundas is available when ordered bareroot before March 15th.

Location, Location, Location!

For roses, the most important thing is a sunny location. Roses need at least  6 hours per day, in moist climates morning sun is essential for burning off morning dew.

We all know there are lots of rugosa type shrub roses that are extremely hardy and easy to care for, yet everyone wants that "cut" gorgeous spiral.  Although there are some gorgeous Shrub roses that rival  teas...I've heard it said that tea roses won't grow at 6,000 ft, I'm at 6500 and I say "PHUEY!" The trick is location, and buy "own root roses".

PROBLEM: People think because they are loosing them during winter, they should plant them in the hottest spot...This is wonderful against that hot wall or on that south western side in summer time ..but false springs in climates with true winters (especially in that hot spot) wake the plant up from dormancy to early only to have a freeze making the plant have to try again. It eventually runs out of energy, and dies back to the graft point. You cut the dead off hoping it will come back...and it will, but the rose will not come true to form but be a version of what ever root stock was used and may not even bloom.

SOLUTION: Pick a cold hardy tea rose-be sure to ask for hardy roses on their OWN ROOT. If it does die back, the roots will send out new canes just like that one that did below the graft...But it will be the same rose you purchaced and because the roots were protected they will now be larger than the plant and that plant will surprise you on it's rebound! Also, find a place that gets 6 or more hours of sun in late spring or early summer!  My rose garden (all own root teas) is planted on a North West facing wall    (NWW to be exact) a south (SSE) East location would do too. In the middle of the yard with a tree shading it from the southern sun in winter is fine too as long as when the sun gets higher in the sky come spring it's getting more and more sun. If you're still a little unsure of location, PLENTY OF MULCH!!!!

PRUNING:   NEVER cut back a tea rose in Colorado or other cold winter climates in the fall. Wait until you see new growth, we are almost always expected to have some die back in our false dont want to cut back the canes that were going to live. Wait until  you know what you are pruning, when the first signs of life start to poke out and then trim back any blackenned canes to there new growth. You can always cut more off, but you can't put it back on.

Most roses like to be alone. Give them a little space. Planted too close to trees or shrubs, your roses have to compete for important nutrients and moisture. If mass planting be sure to buy roses that have been bred for this purpose - look at the spread and use disease control regularly and teas are not a good choice for "touching" eachother but given a little room (air) can make a beautiful rose garden .

It’s also not a good idea to plant lots of perennials and bulbs around your roses either. This is because roses can crowd plants and flowers out. Perennials also host unwanted pests and disease. In addition, some plants may use your roses as a trellis, eventually choking your rose bush to death. There are a few companion plants, however, for best results, group roses together, or plant one alone in a sunny spot as a focal point. Use wood mulch!


Before you plant, prepare the soil for your roses’ “homecoming.” The soil should be rich and loamy, yet well-drained. Soil that is neutral or slightly acidic, with pH measuring between 6 and 6.8 is ideal. Loosen and fertilize the soil to a depth of at least 18 inches, so feeder roots can become well established. Mix in plenty of organic materials, like compost, manure and sphagnum.

Watch their Diet

Roses are big feeders that need a steady supply of water and nutrients to keep them healthy and vigorous.

Look for fertilizer blended specifically for roses and use a hand cultivator to work into the soil, and apply according to package directions. I like the systemic 3 in 1 from just sprinkle it on and lightly trowl around the plants once in spring while your trimming up your plants for new years growth. An added bonus is fertilizers that contain insecticides and fungicides not only nourish your roses, but help protect them from disease and pests as well.

Roses also hate sprinklers! Overhead watering is a NO NO. On average, they need about an inch of water a week. Too much or too little water can harm the plants. And they like their water at the roots. Soaker hoses or water wands work the best, giving roses a long, cool drink. Dont water again until the soil is dry again.

Bullies and Disease-Potential for Disaster

Of all the pests and diseases that can harm tender roses, the most common to look for are aphids and black spot.

Aphids are tiny green, black or red bugs that cluster on bud stems and feed on new growth, doing irreparable damage to the flowers. Combat these suckers by spraying roses with a soapy water solution or neem oil but never under direct sunshine..evening or overcast skies so they dont get sunburned. You can also repel these pests by planting garlic in your rose beds.

Black spot is a disease that discolors leaves, causes them to drop, and can quickly defoliate a plant. To fight it, pluck off diseased leaves and spray the rest of the plant with a fungicidal spray. You can prevent black spot by planting roses several feet apart in full sun, not crowding the plants, and watering deeply only at the base of the plant (again they hate sprinklers.)

Get fanatical!

You may want to contact local rose or gardening clubs to inquire about membership. You can learn more about growing roses in your region of the country from a local expert. Have a camera ready while your out puttering in your garden! The pictures you will get are unbelievable!

You can also find a wealth of information on raising, cultivating and showing roses at your local library.

Roses by Type:

Definition of Rose Types

Hybrid Tea
Large flowers generally borne one per stem, medium to tall in habit, long cutting stems.

Medium sized flowers often more compact in habit, medium length stems.

Large flowers borne in clusters usually taller in habit, individual stems within each cluster are suitable or cutting.

Free blooming plants with differing flower sizes and forms, broadly varying in mature size but of full bushy attractive habit,usually good disease resistance and hardiness.

Shrublets™ are roses of varying habits which are never too big to tuck into restricted garden spaces. Miniature shrub rose, shorter but usually medium to large flowered.

Small flowers borne in very large clusters, usually compact in habit, medium-short stems. Usually houseplants in Colorado.

Roses whose long canes can be trained along fences or walls, variable in flower size, form and mature habit.

Rugosas & Foetidas (shrub roses)
Species or near-species roses valued for their hardiness old fashioned flowers and fountainous habits.

Miniature tea rose
Small flowered roses with proportionately smaller foliage,often very compact in habit, stems are also shorter but still suitable for cutting. Usually small tea rose flowers.


 Keep Them Blooming!
 Deadheading is the removal of the dead flower heads from your rose bushes in order to get them to bloom more. When you remove the bloom before the plant is able to form seed pods (rose hips), the plant will want to put out more blooms in its drive to reproduce. Believe it or not, this actually works, and works well. Most roses produce blooms on the terminal growth of new branches. The new growth will occur at the first bud below where you cut off the bloom.  
Deadheading Techniques
Cut the cane down from the spent bloom to 1/4 inch above the first leaf cluster with 5 leaflets using hand pruners. Using this technique you can also prune further down the cane to the bud that is pointing in the direction you want the branch to grow. The plant will grow in the direction that the bud is facing. Another techique that works well for shrub and ground cover roses or roses with LOTS of blooms, is to just to pull off the spent blooms before they "hip". This can be easily done with your hand and eliminates the need for using hand pruning. This technique results in more branching. Virtually every flower will result in a new branch, and those new branches will all terminate with new flowers. The tradeoff is that you will have more blooms, but slightly smaller blooms. 
When To Deadhead And When To Stop
Deadheading is something that you should start doing with your first crop of blooms and continue through the entire season. The way to look at this is to just do a few every day as you wander your rose garden looking at the new blooms. This is a ritual that I can safely say MOST rose lovers come to truly enjoy: Wandering the garden, sniffing and admiring the new blooms and deadheading the old ones. This is what got me addicted to roses myself. I look forward to wandering my garden in the early morning , just enjoying nature and puttering. You can easily get to know the growth characteristics of each individual variety this way. In general you should stop deadheading about 6 weeks before the killing frosts occur in your area. If you are in an area without a true winter you might want to stop about 6 weeks before you introduce some sort of artificial dormancy, whether that is by defoliating or hard pruning of the plants. They sore winters energy in the hips to feed the roots.
Summer Pruning For Once Blooming Varieties
Once blooming roses need to be pruned differently than recurrent blooming roses. These roses do not need to be deadheaded, but they DO need their yearly pruning. Most once blooming varieties will bloom for a period of 3 to 6 weeks. The time can be lengthened by deadheading but only pull of the spent flowers. After the blooming period is over is the time to prune these plants. What you will want to do in most cases is to do the major pruning of the plant at this time. Prune the branches back to about 2 or three feet of where you want the bush to be next spring. DO NOT prune them in the spring when you are pruning your other varieties. Most of these varieties will bloom on the branches that were grown the previous summer after they have bloomed. Pruning in the summer after blooming will stimulate new growth and they will still have several months to grow so that there will be plenty of 'old wood' ready to bloom its head off next spring or summer. After you have done your summer pruning, do not deadhead! Leave the blooms on and let them form rose hips. Rose hips are a second show that most of these varieties will put on in the fall and winter.
Summer Pruning For Growth Control
During the summer you will notice that some of your roses are growing too big and getting out of control. Feel free to cut them back to the size you want them to be, it will not hurt them. You can do this any time of the Summer or Fall. There are many modern varieties that have been bred to have long stems. Keep a special eye on these varieties and either cut the blooms for long stemmed cut flowers for your home or deadhead them with long stems. Some varieties of roses can quickly get out of control and grow 10 feet tall. It is not uncommon to cut 3 foot stems off of some of these varieties when you deadhead
Preventitive Fall Pruning
For those areas with true winter seasons, you should get your roses ready for their winter sleep after the first killing frost or BEFORE the first big winter snowstorm. . DO NOT,  do your major pruning at this time. Your roses need to use the stored energy from the canes in order to survive winter in a healthy fashion. Major Pruning of modern recurrent varieties should only be done in the spring in areas with a true winter.