Rose Growth Stages: How Fast Do Roses Grow?

Are you wondering how long it will take your rose seedling or bare-root plant to grow into a large, blooming bush? Roses grow quite quickly, but there is a lot of variability depending on variety and age at transplanting. In this article, gardening expert and rose enthusiast Danielle Sherwood walks you through the stages of a rose’s growth cycle.

rose growth stages


Roses are a flower fan’s dream. They are woody perennials that come back year after year. The majority bloom in repeat flushes from spring through fall, providing a long season of colorful blooms unmatched by other perennials.

With large bouquet-worthy flowers and intoxicating fragrance, roses can’t be beat as garden workhorses. However, it can take them some time to reach their mature size and optimum performance levels.

You may be curious to know how long it will take for your small band rose, potted nursery rose, or bare root to reach maturity, and what you can do to help it grow and flourish. Below, I’ll discuss the growth cycle of roses, how long they take to reach maturity, their expected lifespan, and how you can help them along! Let’s dig in!  

The Short Answer

Roses are fairly rapidly growing perennials. Depending on the variety, you will usually see blooms in their first year of growth. However, the quantity and size of blooms will be less impressive than those displayed at maturity, which takes 3-4 years on average.

Growing roses from seed requires patience and seedlings will take at least a year to flower. If you buy a nursery-grown potted plant or bare root rose that you transplant in spring, you will see flowers that summer. Water, fertilization, and garden conditions all affect rose growth rate and performance.

The Long Answer

Close-up of blooming roses in a sunny garden. The bush is lush, has erect stems, covered with complex pinnate dark green oval leaflets with serrated edges. The flowers are large, lush, double, consist of many layers of rounded wide petals of a delicate creamy-ruddy color with a warm apricot hue.
The growth rate of a rose depends on the size of the plant when planted, variety, growing conditions and proper maintenance.

Though you may see a few small blooms in your rose’s first year of growth, it can take 3-4 years to reach full size and maturity. The growth rate you can expect from your rose varies widely and is impacted by the following:

Plant Size at Transplant

For the fastest blooms, you should buy a potted rose. Often, they are already blooming at time of purchase. However, bare-root roses are often more mature, and though they are first focused on root development, they too generally bloom their first summer.


Choose a variety adapted to your growing zone to ensure your plant will not be damaged by freezing winter temperatures. Certain roses grow faster than others, like robust climbers or species roses.

Growing Conditions

To grow to their potential, most roses prefer 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. They like well-draining soil with a pH of 6-6.5.

Care and Maintenance

To promote growth, fertilize your roses at least 3 times per year. In early spring when they first leaf out, after the first flush of blooms, and in late summer before the fall flush. Water whenever the top few inches of soil are dry, checking often when temperatures go above 85℉.

Growth rate depends greatly on how your rose was propagated. Are you growing your own roses from seeds? Did you receive a large bare root from an online vendor? Did you purchase a small, own-root rose in a pot? This growth chart can help you figure out your desired option:

Rose Growth Chart
Propagation Type Time Until Transplant Time Until Bloom Time Until Maturity
Seed 4-6 months 6 months to 1 year 3-4 years
4-6 inch Potted Band Rose Immediately 1 week to 1 year 3-4 years
Bare-root Immediately Same year 1-3 years
1 Gallon Potted Rose Immediately Same year 2-3 years
Chart that shows the growth of roses by propagation type, time until transplant, time until bloom, and time until maturity.

If you want fast results, you will get the most blooms quickly from a nursery-grown 1-gallon or larger potted rose. This will allow you to see the color and form of blooms right away, even though the best quality and quantity will only be apparent at maturity in 2-3 years after transplanting.

With good quality bare-root roses from a reputable online vendor, you will also see blooms in the first season. However, the most important factor is the specific rose you choose. For rapid growth, you want the most vigorous varieties.

Fast Growing Varieties

Some roses, especially those related to species (wild) roses are very fast growers. Other cultivars are bred to have vigorous growth rates. If you’re impatient for the look of a mature garden rose with lots of blooms as soon as possible, consider one of these varieties:

‘New Dawn’

Close-up of a 'New Dawn' rose in a sunny garden, against a blurred background. The flower is large, rounded, double, consists of several layers of rounded wavy petals of pale pink color.
Rosa ‘New Dawn’ is a delightful pale pink rose that matures quickly and blooms throughout the season.
botanical-name botanical name Rosa ‘New Dawn’
plant-type plant type Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun-Part Shade
height height 10’ – 15’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 6-11

‘New Dawn’ is a gorgeous silvery pale pink, with long canes that will quickly grow to their mature height of 10-15 feet. This rose “World’s Most Popular Rose” at The World Convention of Rose Societies.

‘New Dawn’ boasts excellent disease resistance and blooms all season.

‘The Fairy’

Close-up of 'The Fairy' rose flowers. The flowers are small, double, consist of compactly packed in several layers, slightly ruffled pink petals.
‘The Fairy’ is a compact rose variety that produces incredibly beautiful small double pink flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Rosa ‘The Fairy’
plant-type plant type Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun-Part Shade
height height 2’-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-10

If you’d prefer all the bloom power on a compact shrub, dwarf polyantha ‘The Fairy’ will surpass your expectations. This rose grows quickly and is soon smothered with a dense cover of double pink blooms. 

‘The Fairy’ is a polyantha rose, known for being reliable and vigorous. It grows well despite pest pressure and drought. It’s well known for its pink rose blossoms and hardy nature.

‘Ramblin Red’

Close-up of a blooming Ramblin Red rose plant in the garden against the wall of the house. The bush is large, climbing, has complex pinnate leaves of dark green oval leaves with serrated edges. The buds are small, lush, double, deep red.
‘Ramblin Red’ is a wonderful trailing rose with profusely blooming double red flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Rosa ‘RADrambler’
plant-type plant type Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun-Part Shade
height height 8’-10’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-7

If you’re dreaming of trailing canes of double red roses, and need it to come to fruition NOW, ‘Ramblin Red’ is a good bet. This rose can climb up to 6 feet in a single season. It blooms prolifically in flushes from spring through frost.

If you’d like to keep ‘Ramblin Red’ in the 8-10 foot range, prune in early spring. This rose has been known to reach up to 20 feet in perfect conditions.

Tips For Encouraging Faster Growth

While it takes most roses 3-4 years to reach their mature size and maximum bloom production, their growth is most vigorous when selected carefully and given optimal growing conditions. Follow these tips for fast-growing and robust roses.

Purchase a Healthy Potted Rose

Close-up of a young woman in colorful gardening gloves holding a wooden box with blooming rose seedlings, in a sunny garden. Rose seedlings have erect stems covered with complex pinnate dark green leaves with serrated edges, and blooming small double flowers of pink and crimson.
Make sure you purchase healthy rose seedlings.

When purchasing your potted rose (you want to look for one whose pot is 1 gallon or larger), look for signs of disease and pest presence. Canes should be uniformly green and free of abrasions.

Check the underside of the leaves for spider mite webbing and insect eggs. Skip any roses with wilting, yellow, or otherwise diseased foliage. If possible, slide the rose gently from the pot (turn it upside down) and look for lots of plump white roots.

If they are dried or brown, move on. The best growth results from a healthy rose that is less likely to weaken when transplanted into your garden.

Plant in the Optimum Location

Close-up of young female hands planting a beautiful young pink rose bush in a garden, in well-drained soil. The rose seedling has lush, pinnately complex dark green foliage and small, beautiful pink flowers with double petals arranged in several layers.
Plant roses in a spot with direct sunlight, well-drained soil, and plenty of room to grow.

Pick a site that receives 6-8 hours of direct sun. Some roses will tolerate partial shade, but all grow most robust with lots of sunshine.

Choose a spot with well-drained soil. Roses hate sitting in soggy soil, so amend with some horticultural sand, perlite, or bark to increase drainage if planting in heavy clay or wet areas.

Choose a spot without root competition from other large shrubs or trees. Roses need room to reach their full size and do not appreciate competing for resources. They can, however, be enriched by companion planting with low-growing ground covers that retain moisture and attract beneficial predators.

Water and Fertilize

Close-up of young female hands watering a freshly planted rose bush from a yellow watering can, in a garden. The rose bush blooms with small double pink flowers. A pink garden shovel is embedded in the soil. A seedling of white roses in a pot stands next to a flower bed.
Water the rose every few days in its first year, but avoid overwatering, which can lead to disease.

In its first year, your rose may need to be watered every few days. To avoid overwatering, test the soil by plunging your finger in knuckle-deep. If the soil is completely dry at that depth, water. Soak the rose thoroughly at the base, avoiding wet foliage that can lead to the growth of diseases.

Roses appreciate somewhat regular fertilization. Do not use a synthetic fertilizer on a baby band rose or a bare-root plant.

The excess nitrogen can burn fragile roots. Instead, amend the soil with compost when planting, and use a gentle organic fertilizer (like a seaweed or alfalfa formula) when it first leaves out, after first bloom, and in late summer. After your rose’s first year, feel free to use a slow-release granular fertilizer at the start of the season.

Plant at the Right Time

Close-up of a woman's hands in blue gloves transplanting rose bushes into a garden bed. The woman is wearing a white striped T-shirt and a gray apron. Rose plants have erect stems covered with sharp thorns and complex pinnate leaves of oval leaflets with serrated edges. The flowers are small, double, bright red.
Transplant your roses during the cooler months of spring or fall.

Your new rose plant is less likely to experience transplant shock when planted in the cooler months of spring or fall. In spring, roses can spend some time focusing on root development and adjusting to their new conditions before the summer heat hits. In fall, roses will establish root growth before entering winter dormancy.

If you purchase a small band rose (4-6 inch pot), choose spring over fall so it can put on some growth before your first frost. These small plants are more tender and need time to grow before exposure to freezing temperatures.

Prune as Needed

Close-up of a girl with secateurs about to prune the bushes of a blooming Lady of Shalott rose in a sunny garden. The bush is large, lush, has dark green complex pinnate leaves of oval leaves with serrated edges. The flowers are large, double, peony-shaped, bright orange.
Pruning roses promotes healthy growth and abundant blooms.

Don’t prune roses in their first year of growth unless you see diseased or broken canes. Let them put on a bit of growth, then prune as needed to maintain your desired size and the health of the plant.

Once established, pruning roses actually encourages healthy new growth and more blooms. Deadheading is simply the removal of spent blooms and tells the plant to produce more flowers. You can do this after each flush.

In early spring, just as the leaf nodes begin to swell, prune back any canes that are damaged, diseased, or dead back to healthy green growth. Cut out any canes that cross each other or grow toward the center of the bush. This will create an attractive growth habit and necessary airflow, which will prevent stunted growth due to disease.

Growth Stages From Seed

Chart depicting the growth stages of a rose plant from seed, from germination, to sprout, to seedling, then a plant with buds, and finally a plant with flowers. The final stage shows a single red flower blooming from a stem with roots.
Rose seeds germinate from a few weeks to 6 months, after which they must be transplanted into small pots.

Roses take a long time from seed to bloom, and usually do not come true to the parent plant. If you don’t mind the surprise of a new variety, it can be a rewarding process.

It can take roses up to a year to bloom when grown from seed. In fact, it may take several weeks to 6 months for a rose seed to germinate at all, depending on the variety. 

If you’d like to grow roses from seed, you can purchase them or harvest them from the rosehips on your own plants. To encourage rosehip growth, do not deadhead your rosebushes after the last fall flush.

Normally, rosehips would be eaten by wildlife in the fall or early winter, allowing their seeds to be dispersed via their fecal matter. The seeds would then experience a chilly winter period before germinating in spring.

Once you have your seeds, you will need to provide this cold stratification yourself. The cold helps the break down the seedcoat and encourages them to come out of dormancy. Put your seeds in a wet paper towel and insert into a plastic bag. Leave them in your fridge for 6-10 weeks.

Once the seeds germinate, plant them into small pots and give them time to reach a large enough size to transplant. This may take 6 months to a year. Once they have reached at least 12 inches tall, you can plant them out (if conditions are mild) or up-pot them into larger containers.

Growth Stages From Cuttings

Chart depicting the growth stages of a rose plant from cuttings, from taking the cutting, to rooting, to seedling, then a plant with buds, and finally a plant with flowers. The final stage shows a potted plant with seven red flowers blooming and several red closed flower buds.
The easiest way to propagate roses is from cuttings.

Roses can also be grown from cuttings, which is an easier and faster method. Cuttings also stay true to their parent plant, so you know what to expect. Most rose cuttings will begin to root in 3-6 weeks, and can potentially flower in their first year. Softwood cuttings are the easiest and quickest to grow.

To grow your own roses from cuttings, use sharp, sanitized bypass pruners to cut a 6-8 inch section of cane right below a leaf node (where leaves attach to the cane).

Fill a small (3-4 inch) pot with potting soil. Saturate the soil thoroughly with water.

Create some wounds in the cutting which will create a new spot for roots to sprout. Gently pull off the lower leaves (leave a few at the top for photosynthesis). Use your fingers to snap off the bottom few inches of thorns, which should come off cleanly. 

Dip the lower portion of the cutting into rooting hormone powder and place the coated cutting into the prepared pot. Bury about half of the cane length into the soil, and leave the top few leaves exposed.

Provide a moist, warm environment for your cutting by encasing it in a DIY mini-greenhouse. Cut off the bottom of a plastic soda bottle, leaving the cap off for ventilation. Place the bottle cut side down over your cutting’s container.

Keep the cutting between 55-75℉, and out of direct sunlight. Begin checking for roots after 6-8 weeks. Move your seedling to a larger pot after a few months if you see many healthy roots and new growth.


Close-up of blooming Floribunda Rose Pumpkin Patch hybrid roses in a sunny garden. The flowers are large, double, consist of wavy rounded petals of orange-caramel color and lilac-yellowish color.
Hybrid roses on average live about 10-15 years.

Some rose varieties can live hundreds of years in the right conditions! The oldest rose in the world, The Rose of Hildesheim, is now a heritage site in Germany. It is a wild dog rose estimated to be 1,000 yrs old.

Species roses and ramblers easily live 30-50 years, while well-cared-for shrub roses can live for several decades.

More fragile varieties, like the hybrid teas, often only last 10-15 years. In general, own-root roses live much longer than grafted ones.

Final Thoughts

Your rose will most likely reach its full size and optimum bloom production in 3-4 years. Depending on the variety and growth stage at purchase, it will flower in the first or second season. If you’re feeling impatient, a vigorous variety in a large nursery pot planted in early spring is the best option.

To ensure your rose grows to its full potential, provide it with the best possible environment. Water whenever the soil is dry, fertilize, and plant in a site with lots of sunshine. You will soon have a free-flowering shrub that will give you years of beauty in the garden. Enjoy your roses!

Seeds and cuttings take longer to grow, but they are cheaper and provide more variety. Regardless of your starting point, ensure that lavender gets off to a quick start by preventing transplant shock and giving it a proper growing environment.

A close-up of vibrant red roses in full bloom. The petals are arranged in a spiral pattern, and they are opening up to reveal the center of the rose. Green leaves surrounding the roses are slightly serrated and have a pointed tip.


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