Follow these four tips to guarantee you get what you want -- without spending too much.
1. If you purchase bare-root (dormant) roses from mail-order sources, chances are you'll find a tremendous selection. Buy from a nursery in your region, where plants have been grown in conditions comparable to those in your garden. Average price: $15-$18.
2. Bare-root stock suffers less shock from travel and transplanting than potted stock. These roses are widely available at garden centers in early spring as boxed or plastic-wrapped roots packed in peat moss. Selection is limited; quality varies. Average price $10-$12.
3. If you buy potted plants at a nursery or garden center, look for healthy specimens with abundant foliage rising from several strong canes. Plant in spring, summer, or fall. Average price: $16-$22, depending on size and type.
4. Roses grown on their own roots (not grafted), known as own-root roses, are becoming the plant of choice among many rose gardeners because they tend to live for generations. These plants require several years to become well-established in the garden. Choose from a wide variety available from mail-order sources; plant in spring. Average price: $15.