Roses are a large and diverse group of flowering plants. They vary in climate adaptation, size, blooming character and landscape use. Here are the major rose types. For more information go to the American Rose Society website.

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Modern Rose varieties were introduced after 1867. They include:

Hybrid Tea Roses. Historically, the most popular type of roses, loved for their long-stemmed, perfectly formed, full-petaled blooms that are so beautiful as cut flowers. Many are intensely fragrant. Plants usually range from 3-6 feet high, and depending on variety, are hardy to USDA Zones 6 or 7 without winter protection.

Grandiflora Roses. A group created with the introduction of the variety, ‘Queen Elizabeth’, a hybrid between a floribunda and a hybrid tea. More vigorous, shrubbier and taller than most hybrid teas, often reaching 6-8 feet tall. Large, hybrid tea-like blooms are born singly or in clusters on strong stems. Good cut flowers. Generally hardy to USDA Zone 6 or 7 without winter protection.  

Floribunda and Polyantha Roses. Floribundas are free-blooming, shrubby roses that flower in large clusters and resist many common foliage diseases. Colorful landscape plants, reaching 2-6 feet high. Often used as hedges, edgings and in mass plantings. Usually upright growing but can be spreading. Polyanthas are similar to floribundas, but are usually lower growing and not as widely available. Hardiness varies, but both types can usually be grown into USDA Zone 5 without winter protection

Miniature and Miniflora Roses. Smaller versions of hybrid teas or floribundas in both form and foliage. Flowers born singly or in clusters; usually in abundance. Reach about 15-30 inches tall but height varies. Useful as edgings, mass plantings and in pots. Sometimes grown indoors, but should be moved outdoors after a week or two or plants will suffer. Miniflora roses are slightly taller with larger flowers that resemble floribundas more than hybrid teas. Hardiness varies but they can usually be grown into at least USDA Zone 6 without winter protection.

Shrub Roses. A diverse group of tough, usually disease resistant, free-blooming plants, recently made very popular with the introduction of Knockouts, David Austin and Drift varieties. Vary a good deal in height and spread, some growing up to 15 feet tall and wide, but many of the most popular varieties are smaller and more compact. Abundant flowers, usually born in clusters. Exceptional landscape plants, useful as hedges, screens, backgrounds, mass plantings and ground covers, depending on variety growth habit. Hardiness varies but many are extremely hardy and good choices for the coldest winter climates. Usually propagated on their own roots.

Climbing Roses. Vigorous, sprawling roses used to climb over arbors, trellis, fences and pergolas. Should be trained and tied to supports – plants will not climb on their own. Most popular varieties (large-flowered climbers) are good repeat bloomers, others flower only once in spring. Hardiness varies depending on variety.

Old Garden Roses were introduced prior to 1867. They are a large, diverse group of roses, many of which are very vigorous and only bloom once a year in spring. Flowers come in many unique forms and are often intensely fragrant. Hardiness varies by variety. Also called heirloom or antique roses.

Species roses are also known as wild roses. They are another group of greatly varied plants, which often have single flowers. Can be useful in native gardens, but due to their sparse bloom and rangy habit, are often not the best choice for beginners. Hardiness varies by species.


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