Will they do well facing EAST with limited sun?

njmomma(z6 NJ)June 1, 2010

I hear everyone say facing East is good for roses, morning sun, etc... but the only place I have available facing east get very little sun because there are mature maple and oak trees 30-40 feet away and very very tall that block most of the sun. (da*n patio takes up most facing east spots)

So, should I try it? Or it's not worth it b/c it won't be enough sun.



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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

Then you need to just try the roses where you do get at least 6+ hours of direct sunlight per day.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 5:06PM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

If your willing to grow some in containers temporary , you could move them around to see where they did best.
Or take the plunge, plant some and see what happens.
Most roses prefer 6+ hours of direct sun per day. Some may still be happy with alittle bit less. But, blooming is better with sun.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 5:30PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I have a similar situation--couple BIG oak trees on east side keeping everything rather shady (sure is cool on a hot day, however). I have one rose planted where maybe 4 hours of sun sneaks through. The rose is a Double Knock Out. It blooms--but more slowly and less abundantly than my other Double Knock Out planted in the sunny back yard.

My main concern was that many roses are more prone to disease if they don't get enough sun. That was why I picked the Double Knock Out for my experiment. It is so disease-resistant that it has had no disease problems in its relatively shady spot.

Unfortunately, I'm not enamored of Knock Out roses, but I don't know what else I would dare try growing in that spot. So something is better than nothing, I guess.


    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 5:48PM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

Our neighbor to the left of us has roses planted in a less than ideal place. The two double pink Knockouts do better than her other roses in the same area, so, dublinbay brought up a good point.

These articles may help you out: Please do research beyond what you read in articles.



    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 7:13PM
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predfern(z5 Chicago)

I have 4 roses planted on the east side of my house that only get morning sun with some tree problems. Dames de Chenonceau survived the winter without protection and is blooming nicely. Marie Daly is also blooming. Pretty Jessica is growing and has a few buds. Harlow Carr is new this year but seems to be adapting. Mrs. John Laing almost died and was transplanted.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dames de Chenonceau

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 12:08AM
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>I hear everyone say facing East is good for roses, morning sun, etc... but the only place I have available facing east get very little sun because there are mature maple and oak trees 30-40 feet away and very very tall that block most of the sun. (da*n patio takes up most facing east spots)
So, should I try it? Or it's not worth it b/c it won't be enough sun.

If you have some south-facing spots with fewer trees to the south of them, those would be better. Or any spots with more sun would be better for the majority of roses. But those of us with woodsy yards do take what we can get!

Try measuring the number of hours/minutes of sun you get on a sunny day in those spots. Bear in mind that even 18 inches farther to one side or another might be different, so you'll need to keep some records of what you see. Maybe creating some markers on the ground for every three feet, and keep a record over a bunch of days (since you can't easily check every 2 minutes), using some estimates where you have to. Sometimes ten minutes at a time is all you get for one liitle spot of sun as the sun moves in its arc.

I have seen a "Luster Leaf 1875 Rapitest Suncalc Sunlight Calculator" at Amazon. I've no idea how it works, or how well it works. If you tried that and came to vastly different conclusions from your own detailed observations, it's probably better to trust your own observations.

Another thing to factor in here is how bright it might be when in the "shade." If a rose is in the shadow of a house, for example, the shade is darker than one that's in the shade of trees not directly overhead; that rose can be in a little brighter spot because of all the little patches of light filtering through a few spots in the trees every here and there and affecting the general brightness of the area even when the rose isn't getting direct light.

And finally, the deciduous trees you have that lose their leaves also gives you a boost in the early spring, where your roses would probably get 80-90 percent of full sun for awhile, and this is a part of the time when the rose is starting its spring growth and forming buds for the first flush. Of course, the earlier blooming roses can take better advantage of this fact than those not blooming in their first flush until long, long after the leaves have grown to full size on the trees.

For the most part, though, your question isn't answerable to a highly useful degree in its present form. The main answer is "It depends on how much sunlight the roses would have."

If you have fewer than 2 hours of direct sun, then many of the postings you see about roses doing well in partial shade won't apply to your situation. Some people even think that 6 hours of sun isn't full sun (since obviously there are more potential hours of sunlight during the summer than that). So for some, a rose that will do well with only 5 hours of sunlight is shade tolerant. Your situation doesn't sound like 5 hours of sunlight to me, though you ought to measure to pin it down.

And it's easy to get advice based on knowing how much better almost all roses will do with more sun, not less... and not want to steer you towards a potential disappointment. On the other hand, if the idea is to help you find what stands a reasonably good chance of doing well in really reduced direct sunlight, it's too bad that the sources of information and most posters tend to refer, at least by inference, to a spot with more sunlight that what you might have.

The four sources of information that tend to be more helpful than others in my experience (though not perfect either) are:

1. A Woodland Rose Garden (online):


2. The above site mentions Peter Beales' website, but not Peter Beales' book, "Classic Roses." I'd highly recommend the book because it mentions not only roses that will take some shade but those that he thinks will take enough to plant them on the north side of the house. You can sometimes buy used copies/earlier editions at Amazon for not too much money, though if you can afford it, buy the latest edition. (It's a wonderful book in lots of ways. You have to keep clicking on the webpages that come up from the search to discover the older, cheaper versions.)

3. Buy the Vintage Gardens' catalog.


Gregg Lowery, the author, has an appendix in it that lists the shade tolerant roses that he says he has personally tried in 3 or fewer hours of direct sunlight and had success with. He notes that there are some roses that others think of as shade tolerant but he doesn't think you can have success with them in that little light. It's a pretty lengthy list, and you want to have it. I ended up eliminating an order for Madame Alfred Carriere from a spot fairly similar to yours, based on its noticeable absence from Gregg's list. (I ordered a climbing Iceberg instead.) I'd also been thinking of Lamarque also because of its well-known shade tolerance, but it was missing from Gregg's list too. (Lots of noisettes did make the list, just not those two.)

Vintage Gardens carries a ton of varieties, but not all. Clearly if Gregg doesn't have a rose or have any personal experience with it, he won't mention it on his list... so check to see whether Vintage Gardens carries the variety before eliminating something you want based on his list. Gregg doesn't mention Lyda Rose on his good shade tolerance list, but Vintage doesn't carry that rose either.

The Vintage Gardens catalog is wonderful in lots of ways. You won't regret spending the money to get it.

4. As long as you are investigating shade tolerance, another book that mentions it by breaking it down some to degree is Liz Druitt's book, "The Organic Rose Garden." And another organically oriented one that systematically mentions shade tolerance is "Creating Beautiful Roses" by Barbara Wilde.

5. The Rogue Valley Roses website is an especially good one for indicating shade tolerance by degree. You can search on "very shade tolerant" with the shade variable under their Advanced Search click on the page left... and wind up looking at a very short list of 12 roses, all of which might be suitable for trying with only one hour of sun or dappled sunlight. (Example: their "New Face" looks as if it might work.) With "shade tolerant" chosen, the list results in 197 rose varieties.


The Antique Rose Emporium site also mentions shade tolerance... and as far as I can tell, they don't mention any on that list that don't have pretty good shade tolerance. (Personal guess: if the rose needs a full 5 hours of sun, it doesn't appear on the Antique Rose Emporium's shade tolerant list.)


If you have less than one hour of direct sun, figure on using some Albas (maybe) and a very few other roses that you can find more than one person saying the rose is more than just a little bit shade tolerant. I've seen Lyda Rose described that way by more than one person--will survive and bloom even in just bright light. (And single-flowered bloomers tend to stand a better chance in this respect too.) Anyway, Gregg's list would be a good place to start... and then investigate others' online comments on Gregg's list roses for relevance to really, really limited direct sunlight. Add anything you find where people are claiming a rose that will stay reasonably healthy and bloom some even in less than one hour of sunlight in deciduous woods. Bubble Bath and Kiftsgate might meet that expectation too, as well as most albas (like Madame Plantier that some people have boasted about online in reference to how well it does in the shade of decidous trees). Ghislaine De Feligonde *might* work, though I'm not at all sure about that.

With two or three hours of sun, you could add in Grs An Aachen, though don't expect it to be covered with blooms the way it would be in full sun or nearly full sun. My three Grüss An Aachens were constantly in bloom under those conditions last year, though usually with only one or two blooms per plant. Healthy, but not without a little blackspot now and then. Once you get your new books and look through the Woodland Garden sites and the nursery sites, you ought to be able to add in a few more possibilities. Some of the other hybrid musks might work too, but not all. Cornelia and Belinda would be good bets. A good many polyanthas might work too, including Marie Daly and Marie Pavie.

With four or five hours of morning sun, any rose that's claimed in any source to have some shade tolerance will probably work and some that aren't mentioned too (a particular floribunda here, for instance).

Look for good disease tolerance at the same time you look for shade tolerance, since there will be more fungus pressure in shadier conditions. The same books good for researching shade tolerance are especially good resources for helping to choose disease resistant plants too.

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 5:30AM
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Hello again Natanya,

I thought I'd written enough, and I'll bet you thought so too. :D

But just another thought now after looking back over what I'd written earlier (other than I didn't update the count when adding in the nursery information)...

I might have been thinking of your direct sunlight conditions as more reduced than they might actually be in that spot. The only real way to know for sure is to observe and take notes on sunny days.

One idea to consider is the "facing" idea. It's especially helpful in situations up close to a house, since it foretells something about both the hours of sunlight and the times during the day when that sunlight will be operating. As you move out from the house, the "facing" idea quickly degrades in importance. At some point the shadow of the house has no effect at all. Clearly for a three-story house that point will come much farther out from the house than for a one-story.

You mentioned a patio that takes up a good bit of room, presumably up next to the house. If the patio is 15 feet wide and you have a one-story house, you might have only minor amounts of time of full afternoon sun lost to the house's sun blocking effects. Dappled morning sun + sun most of the afternoon is quite a bit more sun than I was figuring on. If that's what you actually do have, those conditions ought in no way to discourage you from trying roses there. Your spot might work quite well for any rose that has any degree of shade tolerance at all (depending on how tall your house is).

Anyway, my advice still comes down to looking to see what those spots have in the way of sunlight all during a sunny day and then making decisions based on what you see.

Best wishes,

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 4:53PM
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