Rose varieties are divided up into classes. Here is a primer on classes of roses that can help you at the garden centre.
1. Hybrid tea roses
More roses of this class are sold than of any other. Most of the hybrid teas produce double flowers with long-pointed buds borne one to a stem. They flower intermittently and have a wider colour range than the older 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
Flowers in clusters are borne continuously and in profusion. When they were introduced early in the 20th century, the 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.
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 the floribunda.
- ‘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. They are distinguished by clusters of small flowers on low plants that bloom intermittently.
Commonly grown 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
The miniature plants 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 suitable for growing in containers.
Some favourites are:
- ‘Sun Sprinkles’ (yellow)
- ‘Gourmet Popcorn’ (white)
- ‘Green Ice’ (very pale yellow-green)
6. Tree or standard roses
- 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 a formal elegance, 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 up to 1.5 to 1.8 metres (five to six feet).The budded top is a rambler 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 climbers 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.
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 available in many nurseries and from rose specialists. Included here are the true species, hybrids between the species, and man-made hybrids.
- The plants tend to be shrublike, and many grow 1.2 to 1.5 metres (four to five feet) high and wide.
- Many are very hardy, and are particularly suitable in cold areas.
- Your local nursery will offer selections for your region.