Sold in a wide array of colours, shapes and sizes, roses are a classic in the garden. And although choice is good, the many different rose types can make it tough to pick which one you should plant. Here’s some info about the eight most common rose types to help you decide.
Rose varieties are divided up into classes. Among all the choice, here are the eight most common types of roses to choose from, including some of their most appealing varieties.
1. Hybrid tea roses
More roses of this class are sold than of any other, and many consider hybrid tea roses to be the gold standard by which other varieties should be measured.
- Most of the hybrid tea roses produce double flowers with long-pointed buds borne one to a stem.
- They flower intermittently and have a wider, brighter colour range than the older types of tea roses.
Popular varieties include:
- ‘Chrysler Imperial’ (red)
- ‘Tropicana’ (reddish orange)
- ‘Love and Peace’ (yellow-edged red)
- Whispers™ (white)
- Memorial Day™ (pink)
- ‘Crimson Bouquet’ (red)
- ‘Peace’ (pink and yellow)
2. Floribunda roses
Floribunda roses are distinguished by flowers that are produced in clusters and which are borne continuously and in profusion.
- When they were originally introduced early in the 20th century, their flowers were borne in large clusters and most were single or semi-double.
- Many of the newer varieties have blossoms much like the hybrid teas, although they are smaller and may be single, semi-double, or double.
- Floribunda roses tend to be smaller and bushier than most other hybrid tea roses, but aren’t as sprawling as polyantha types.
Popular varieties include:
- ‘Europeana’ (red)
- ‘Nearly Wild’ (single pink)
- ‘Iceberg’ (white)
- Eureka™ (apricot-yellow)
- ‘Marmalade Skies’ (tangerine)
- ‘Scentimental’ (burgundy and cream)
3. Grandiflora roses
The grandiflora is a tall, stately bush with great vigour, whose overall appearance is somewhere between that of the hybrid tea and the floribunda.
- Individual flowers resemble those of the hybrid tea, but they appear several to a stem – like floribunda roses.
- Grandiflora roses are very hardy, extremely disease resistant and known to reach heights slightly taller than two metres (seven feet).
Favourites to consider are:
- ‘Queen Elizabeth’ (pink)
- ‘Gemini’ (pink)
- ‘Mr. Hood’ (ivory)
- ‘Cherry Parfait’ (white-edged red)
- About Face™ (yellow)
4. Polyantha roses
A few stalwart representatives of the once-popular polyantha class are still represented in catalogues.
- Polyantha roses are identified by clusters of small flowers on low plants that bloom intermittently.
- They are perfect for growing in small containers, alongside walkways or in the front of garden beds.
Commonly grown varieties are:
- ‘The Fairy’ (semi-double pink)
- ‘Cecile Brunner’ (light pink with hybrid tea flower form)
- ‘Margo Koster’ (coral- orange with almost round buds and cup-shaped flowers)
5. Miniature roses
As you’d expect, miniature roses are small in stature, generally 25 to 35 centimetres (10 to 13 inches) tall, with proportionately sized flowers that are mostly semi-double or double.
- Some bear flowers that are almost identical in form to the hybrid teas.
- Miniatures are particularly well-suited for growing in containers.
Some favourites to look for:
- ‘Sun Sprinkles’ (yellow)
- ‘Gourmet Popcorn’ (white)
- ‘Green Ice’ (very pale yellow-green)
6. Tree or standard roses
Few other classes of roses (The American Rose Society recognizes 37!) can make a more elegant statement than a tree or standard rose. They provide height and colour to the garden and are well suited for pots.
- The tree form has a slim, erect, bare stem on top of which the desired variety – usually a hybrid tea or floribunda – is grafted (budded). Tree roses have an undeniable formal poise about them and they provide an attractive vertical accent.
- Tree roses (also called standard roses) are trained on stems about one metre (three feet) high.
- Half standards, or dwarf trees, are trained on stems about 60 centimetres (25 inches) high; miniatures, on 45-centimetre (18-inch) stems.
- Weeping trees are taller, with stems measuring up to about 1.8 metres (six feet). The budded top usually consists of a rambler-type rose, with canes that hang down to the ground.
7. Climbing roses
The large-blossomed climbers that are repeat blooming, or everblooming, have mostly replaced the older climbing rose varieties that have only one period of bloom.
- Most climbers have flowers quite similar to the hybrid tea, although some look more like the clustered floribundas.
- Climbing roses look gorgeous on arbours, walls, pillars and fences with their masses of colour and intricate, intertwining tendrils.
Popular varieties are:
- ‘Coral Dawn’ (coral-pink)
- ‘Golden Showers’ (yellow)
- ‘Blaze’ (crimson)
- ‘New Dawn’ (pink)
- ‘White Dawn’ (white)
8. Shrub roses
For informal landscape use and as hedges, shrub roses are of particular value.
- They are readily available in many nurseries and from rose specialists.
- Most varieties of shrub roses require little, if any, maintenance.
Included among shrub roses are true ‘species’ roses, as well as hybrids between ‘species’ and many man-made hybrids.
- Unsurprisingly, the plants tend to be shrub-like and compact. Generally, they grow 1.2 to 1.5 metres (four to five feet) high and wide, although some are known to grow tall and produce far-reaching canes.
- Shrub roses are very hardy and are particularly well suited in colder areas.
- Your local nursery, garden centre or home improvement store will offer selections for your specific region.