Culture Report Star Roses and Plants Romantica Ballgown Rose

Culture Report: Romantica Ball Gown Rose By HEIDI MORTENSEN

An incredibly fragrant, high performing hybrid tea rose with over 100 petals

Fragrance has been missing in roses for a long time. Star Roses and Plants is working to change that with the Scentables collection from Bloomables, which features deeply fragrant, modern rose genetics. ‘Romantica Ball Gown’ is the newest addition to the highly sought-after Scentables collection.

Star Roses and Plants first received cuttings of ‘Romantica Ball Gown’ in 2014 from The House of Meilland, the world-renowned breeder of the rose. After a two-year quarantine period, the rose underwent a rigorous trialing process spanning eight years across 14 trial sites. The evaluation resulted in hundreds of photos and a plethora of detailed notes. Kristen Smith, Rose Trial Manager for Star Roses and Plants, was impressed by the vigor, health and high petal count of the genetic and gave it the green light for introduction.

Culture Report Star Roses and Plants Romantica Ballgown Rose

“Strong fragrance and strong garden performance rarely come hand in hand,” Heidi Mortensen, rose portfolio manager at Star Roses and Plants, said. “You have to smell ‘Romantica Ball’ Gown for yourself.” If you do have a chance to put your nose in the rose, you’ll find a true classic rose fragrance with notes of powder.

More and more, home gardeners are looking for roses that require less maintenance but still offer a traditional rose-growing experience. ‘Romantica Ball Gown’ is positioned to meet this market demand with extreme tolerance to disease exhibited across 14 trial sites. It performs very well on its own roots, which increases its winter hardiness and successful growth.

“Growing hybrid teas and grandifloras from bare root isn’t a whole lot different than growing a Knock Out or a Drift rose from bare root,” Mortensen said.

The recommendations that follow are best practices for successfully growing ‘Romantica Ball Gown’ from bare root. Bare root and liners are available for the spring 2024 growing season.


For Star Roses and Plants, the harvest and grading of bare root roses like ‘Romantica Ball Gown’ begins in early November and is usually finished by mid February. Growers receive bare root rose shipments as early as December if located in a mild climate or as late as early April if located in regions like the upper Midwest or Northeast United States. The extended time between first harvest date and last shipping date necessitates a plan for proper storage of the dormant plants.

Culture Report Star Roses and Plants Romantica Ballgown Rose

Bare root roses should be stored in a refrigeration unit with good ventilation. The optimum storage temperature for roses is 34° F. If a dormant rose shipment reaches freezing, it can be carefully salvaged with minimal detrimental effects by slowly thawing. In this state, roses should not be watered or quickly thawed in a warm environment, as this could result in damage or loss. It is also important to note that dormant roses are sensitive to ethylene and should never be stored in a refrigeration unit with fruits or vegetables.


There is a wide range of growing environments for bare-root roses. The most common are inside a heated greenhouse, directly outside in a mild environment or in an unheated cold frame. Both indoor and outdoor locations should have ample light from dawn to dusk and good air circulation, and be an environment that ensures the plant material is never in standing water. Cold frames covered with clear poly will provide the best light conditions for growing on.


Container media should have 50-70% total porosity and should average 10-20% air-filled porosity. The desired pH for growing media is 5.5-6.5. Prior to planting, prune the canes of Romantica Ball Gown to 4.5” to 5”. This pruning will encourage a more uniform break and a better-finished product. Root pruning is not recommended unless the roots are too big for the container, in which case, trim only the minimum and leave as many fibrous roots as possible.

It is extremely important to keep bare-root plants from drying out through the entire planting operation. During planting and spacing, be sure the roses do not go an extended period without water and that they are not exposed to temperatures below 22° F. Firming the soil around the roots during potting helps to mitigate air pockets that cause drying. Herbicide application is not recommended during potting.


As roses break dormancy in the spring, greater protection is required to prevent or minimize cold damage. Temperatures below 30° F may require pulling poly blanket inside a covered hut. Temperature, duration of low temps, wind and stage of growth are all factors that should be considered.

Roses that are covered but not in a hut should remain covered until bud break; then the same procedures for roses in a covered hut can be followed. Keep these roses blocked until fully flushed, then space and trim. Keep protective covering available for low temperature and wind protection.

Begin to irrigate roses in a growth phase more regularly. As roses flush, begin regular fungicide applications. Once roses near finished size, vent aggressively to harden plants off. Leave clear poly on the hut to protect from low temperatures, wind and rain events. Clear poly can be removed from huts at the frost-free date. Ensure plants are hardened off before removing poly.


Roses prefer a thorough watering but do not want “wet feet.” To reduce disease, avoid leaving foliage wet into the night. Roses do best when they dry down so they are slightly moist before the next irrigation. It is important to make and execute irrigation decisions early in the day, which gives foliage time to dry and allows the humidity to be as low as possible at the end of the day.

To learn more about sweating bare root roses, overwintering roses, crop scheduling, trimming and pest control, please visit


Heidi Mortensen is the Rose Portfolio Manager at Star Roses and Plants. For more information about ‘Romantica Ball Gown’ and other rose varieties, visit

Latest Photos see all »

GPN recognizes 40 industry professionals under the age of 40 who are helping to determine the future of the horticulture industry. These individuals are today’s movers and shakers who are already setting the pace for tomorrow.