Can My Roses Grow in Partial Shade?

Roses can tolerate a little shade, but they require at minimum six hours of direct sunlight to flourish, or even more. Certain species are more tolerant of shade than others, such as Zephirine drouhin, however the less sun the rose gets, the less the bloom will occur and the less sluggish the rose will grow.

Which Rose Grows Best in Partial Shade?

The Zephirine Drouhin variety creates beautiful pink flowers that have an intense scent. Luckily, Zephirine Drouhin is a thornless climber, which means you are less likely to be smacked when planting, transporting and trimming the plant.

I’ve observed Zepirine Drouhin bloom spectacularly with about 4-6 hours of sun in the morning and shaded in the afternoon.

This is the only one I’ve seen that is able to thrive in shade but produce an abundance of flowers. If you cut them off when the time is right (as when the flower starts to turn brown and appears to be overgrown) will continue to bloom throughout the year.

To get more light, you can take down any tree branch that shade your garden, and trim the vegetation surrounding the rose garden so that your roses get more sunlight and air.

When you plant roses, be aware that roses require plenty of space in order to thrive. A lot of rose bushes require the same amount of width as they need height. If your rose bush gets to 3 feet (0.9 meters) in height, then it will require 3 feet in width.

They also appreciate separation of other flowers. A rose that is well-placed and lets air circulate is less susceptible to common ailments like black spot and powdery mildew. Place your rose minimum 2 feet away from other plants of a significant size that could hinder airflow or create shade over the rose.

It is also important to allow enough room around your rose to ensure that you can cut it back during winter months without getting stung by the thorns.

How Much Sunlight do Roses Need?

The majority of kinds of roses prefer to be situated in a sunny spot in your garden, with at least six hours of sunshine every day.

Roses that don’t get sufficient sunlight will show less flowers and grow leggy and sagging. This is why the rose canes could fall over or get taller with a spindly look as the plant seeks more sunlight.

My personal experience has shown that even roses that are described as shade tolerant thrive in six hours of sunshine, but the rose varieties Zephirine Drouhin can bloom and thrive even in shade.

peach color rose in vase

In general Roses like the sun, and being denied sunlight will result in an unhealthy rose that is more prone to illness and damage from pests.

To determine precisely the amount of direct sunlight an area in your garden gets, I suggest this Amazon product which not only measures the amount of sunlight, but also the soil’s pH and soil’s moisture content.

Rose Growing Checklist

To cultivate roses in shade, it is essential to optimize the other conditions that support rose growth in order to give them the greatest chance of success. The requirements are:

  • The ideal soil pH for roses is between slightly acidic and neutral with 7 to 6-7 pH .
  • Well-drained soil that is full of natural matter.
  • A great rose-based fertilizer to use in season of spring as well as summer.
  • Four gallons water, (for an existing rose) every week.

The roses like slightly acidic or neutral soil for healthy growth. A pH of 6.5 is ideal for all varieties of roses. If you’re not sure of what the soil’s pH is, you can purchase a cheap soil test kit on Amazon to ensure that you are within the right pH range.

I strongly suggest purchasing this product for a low cost before you plant any expensive roses that may die in the event that the soil is too acidic or alkaline.

If the soil is acidic (a pH less than five) then you could alter the soil by adding wood ash, which is alkaline. You can test the soil each month to determine if you have seen a steady change in pH or if you require adding additional wood ash in line with.

If your soil is acidic, then you should apply a thick layers of mulch on your rose garden in order to get the pH back to a normal range. A well-rotted compost made of leaves, grass clippings and kitchen scraps , will be within the proper pH range and will help to neutralize soil pH.

The roses are benefited by organic mulches like compost for a variety of reasons.

  1. A thick layer of compost on top of your roses will help keep the roots cool under the summer heat and protected from frosts in winter.
  2. Organic matter provides food for the worms living in your soil, who produce fertile worm castings which stimulate the growth of plants. In addition, the activity of the worms will lessen soil compaction through aerating the soil. This in turn lets water flow from the soil faster which is beneficial to your rose because the roots do not like to be in water that is stagnant.
  3. Organic mulch piled on your rose beds slows the growth of both annual and perennial weeds. the soil is softer and easy to hoe and dig out the weeds when they do appear.
  4. Continuously adding organic mulch throughout the year will alter the soil’s structure and make more attainable for rose’s roots to penetrate the soil and get the nutrients and water they require.
  5. Organic mulch is able to hold and absorb water much better than the surrounding soil, meaning that the roots are able to access water whenever they require. It is also light in structure that excess water is able to drain out to ensure that the roots don’t get getting clogged with water.

The roses thirst during the season of growth, therefore ensure that they get a thorough soak at least once per week in mild climates. In warmer climates, or in an extremely dry summer, you’ll need to give them a good soak twice or three times every week.

This assumes that your rose garden has adequate drainage and a good amount of mulch. Make sure to water your roses near the base of the plant. Water at the beginning of each day to avoid common ailments like powdery mildew and black spot.

Fertilising roses is an excellent way to guarantee an energised plant that is more drought and disease resistant. I personally apply fish emulsion every week, usually beginning in spring when I’m sure we’ve experienced the final frost of the season until the end of summer.

I cease feeding the roses around the middle of August because if you feed the roses a feed that is too late in the season, this could encourage new soft growth, which will then be destroyed when the first frosts of winter.

(Read my article on tips to make more roses).


All roses like to be in a sunny location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. If they get less sunlight or are in shade, the rose could be sagging, fall over, and eventually die.

Think about cutting off the tree’s limbs that hang or lower hedges in order to make your garden more attractive to encourage roses to grow.

Zephirine Drouhin is the only kind of rose that I’ve seen that has significant blooms even in shade. So when your garden is shade or is on the shade side choose this one.



Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)