Roses in Northwestern Montana

kayakita(z9 TX)October 25, 2010

Is there anyone on this forum who lives in or near the northwestern border of Montana? My sister just moved to that part of the country and is trying to start her garden. She loves roses. We were wondering if anyone could suggest roses that will do well in that part of the country. Her home is located on the side of a canyon overlooking a river. Evergreens grow all around so the soil must be in the acidic range. Fruit trees grow well there (cherries in particular) so the winters can't be too severe although I'm sure they get plenty of cold and a good amount of snow. Which roses would you suggest might do well in that region and climate?

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Where exactly does your sister live? I live in extreme Northeastern Montana, which is typically very different from the other side of the state. We are in the Plains, where it usually gets much colder and has less snow than where I think you are probably talking about. Do you know what zone she is in? I am guessing she is probably in a warmer zone than 3 and she might be better off getting info on the regular rose forums.

I would be happy to tell her what grows best for me, however, I am doubtful it would be very helpful assuming that our climates and soil are so different.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 5:45PM
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kayakita(z9 TX)

Thanks for your reply, Montana Rose (what a pretty username!) My sister lives in Paradise (close to Plains).
She has been told the winter climate is pretty mild there compared to Boyd in southern Montana where she used to live. I'm not sure of her zone but would guess it's not much colder than Zone 3. That sounds just about right. Where is your source for roses? I live in Texas and we usually can find what we want at the Antique Rose Emporium or Chambley's but I believe roses should be propagated close to the area where they will be planted. Have you ever heard of or used High Country in Utah?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 5:55PM
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Hi kayakita ... it appears that Paradise, Montana is in zone 5 or 5 b, which of course has winters a fair deal milder than zone 3. If planted with the graft below ground and the plants given a bit of winter protection, there should be no problem whatsoever with her being able to grow hybrid teas and floribundas etc ... and these might not even require any winter protection there at all, she should just ask other gardeners and nurseries there in Paradise Montana. Your friend will really have a very wide variety of roses capable of thriving in her climate!

"I believe roses should be propagated close to the area where they will be planted" ... what matters most is if the variety is hardy for the zone in which it is to be planted.


    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 9:03PM
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kayakita(z9 TX)

Hi Terry,

Thanks for locating the correct zone for Paradise. I know my sister said she was told winters would not be too severe; however, I am surprised she will be as warm as Zone 5
Planting the graft below ground and some dry leaf mulch sounds like a good idea. I'd like to send her a rose for Christmas. I wonder if the nursery will ship them that late in the season.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 2:24AM
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DrHorticulture_(Z3 Central Saskatchewan)

If her place gets Chinook winds, which I imagine would be an issue over there, a thick mulch is essential to prevent the ground from thawing in mid-winter.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 7:42PM
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kayakita, I had checked on a USDA climate zone map and think I got the zone correct. I have previously travelled down to Kalispell (nice place!) and they could grow all sorts of things that certainly do not survive in zone 3 ... also, with Paradise being further south and west of Kalispell, the winters there should be even somewhat a bit more mild.

I think it might be best to have the rose sent in the spring, as even in zone 5, winter is not that far off.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 9:47PM
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kayakita(z9 TX)

Thank you, twrosz and drhorticulture, for the excellent information. I'm surprised that Paradise is south of Kalispell. I oould have checked the map; but imagined it would be closer to the Canadian border. Lucky for her! Zone 5 should give her lots of choices for roses. Yes, the Chinook could cause some damage if it temporarily warms things up. I grew up in Texas along the Gulf Coast. As a young adult, went to Montana to teach in a one-room schoolhouse on a ranch. My first winter with snow and sub-zero temperatures was amazing! Then around February, came the Chinook and I thought: "Oh boy! Spring is here at last!" Little did I realize that it was only a false spring and that we had a lot more winter to blizzards and snow up to our eyebrows in March. LOL

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 5:16PM
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The National Gardening Association has a zone map that will let you look by zip code. (See link) It says Paradise is zone 5a. Pretty good news for rose lovers! When I lived in Kalispell, we had a yellow shrub rose, rugosa type and just furry with thorns. It bloomed bountifully and required no care. We never mulched, sprayed, or pruned. And yes, we did get chinooks. Your sister has a lot of choice, depending on what she wants in a rose. Rugosas are extremely hardy and low maintanance. In her zone, she should be able to grow some of the lovely old shrub roses. (Lots of info and pictures at For a little more work, she can enjoy hybrid teas, floribundas, and grandifloras. You might be able to get a potted rose from some place like Jackson and Perkins. Or you might consider a gift certificate, and she can while away the winter choosing her favorite. If you order a gift certificate, the nursery will send its catalog to her.

Here is a link that might be useful: National Gardening Association

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 8:11PM
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