What Are The Best Types of Rose Plants for Your Garden?

We all love roses – who doesn’t? In America, as in most of the world. it is the flower favored above all others. and indeed it is the most beautiful and most rewarding.

Loving roses, you naturally want to grow some of your own, or perhaps have already made a start with them.

blooming Hybrid Tea rosePin

Yet before you plunge into rose growing or adding to the few plants you may already possess, give some thought to the types of roses and their varieties:

  • Best suited to your particular needs and situation
  • The amount of care you can give them

For the greatest degree of success and satisfaction, decide first on the type or types of roses that will prove most suitable. Leave the question of varieties to be decided later. 

Half a dozen varieties from each type will provide you with all the variations in plant forms and growth habits that you can possibly use. 

Let’s look at a few rose types and their characteristics and uses. They are the:

  • Hybrid tea rose
  • Floribunda roses
  • Hybrid perpetual
  • Climbing roses
  • Shrub
  • Dwarf roses

The Popular Hybrid Tea Roses

The hybrid tea roses are still the most popular with rose lovers, floribundas have a special place as being disease-resistant and robust growers. 

The hybrid teas are the result of a rose marriage between the hybrid perpetual. which are very hardy but remontant (blooming more than once in a season) rather than everblooming. Tea roses, flower more or less continuously but are not sufficiently hardy to survive Northern winters. 

They have large flowers, usually borne singly or two or three to a stem. While not so hardy as the hybrid perpetuals, they will withstand moderate freezing temperatures and, with winter protection, are grown in the far Northern states and in Canada.

The hybrid teas, except in the South and in very cold sections, have practically eliminated both the teas and the hybrid perpetual. 

As a group, they have the largest most perfectly formed flowers, the greatest range of colors, and are more likely to have fragrance than the varieties found in any other type. They are unequaled for cutting, for cut flower arrangements, and for showing.

Floribunda Roses

The floribunda roses are the result of another rose marriage that of the hybrid teas and the cluster-flowered polyanthas group. The first of the floribunda types – such as GRUSS AN AACHEN – have moderate-sized flowers, in clusters of five to eight to a stem. 

Since then larger and larger individual blooms, usually with fewer to a cluster, have been developed, that even the experts have difficulty deciding whether some of the newer varieties should be classified as hybrid teas or as floribundas. 

Some of the largest-flowered, tallest-growing floribundas are classified as grandiflora roses – a type not as generally accepted in the 1950s, and in the opinion of some of the experts, only making confusion more confused!

To the amateur rose grower, the classification of floribunda or hybrid tea makes little difference except for show purposes. What does matter when you are deciding which roses to grow is that, as a group the floribundas are more constant flowering, more bush-like in habit of growth, and not as tall (18″ to 24″ inches) as the hybrid teas. 

Also, as a group, floribundas are hardier and somewhat low-maintenance or less demanding in care. They are much more effective in a group (think Knock Out roses), planting where a mass color effect is desired, or for a summer-long flowering hedge.

Hybrid Perpetuals

The hybrid perpetuals, now little grown because of their less constant bloom, are hardier than the hybrid teas and of more vigorous growth, often reaching a height of 8′ to 10′ feet tall. The popularity of hybrid perpetual was between 1858 – 1899. They have easy culture, splendid individual blooms and in most varieties, marked fragrance.

Climbing Roses

Climbing roses are of three distinct types and it is important to know them apart. They are:

  • Ramblers
  • Large-flowered climbers
  • Climbing hybrid teas

Rambler Roses

The rambler roses, the hardiest of the group, are familiar to old garden rose growers who recall Crimson Rambler and pink Dorothy Perkins. These two varieties use to cover entire houses and even tall trees on Cape Cod and “the islands.” 

They survived attacks of mildew which caused many to abandon them in most other parts of the country. Ramblers are not a popular as they once were.

Large Flowered Climbers

Large-flowered climbers, of which the term “large,” however, is quite generous. Some of this group have flowers only 2″ to 3″ inches across while others are as large as hybrid teas. 

As a type they flower in clusters, often producing single blooms on 12″ to 18″ inch long stems. While not as hardy as the ramblers, most of the large-flowered climbers can be grown without protection except in the Northern states where temperatures are likely to go well below zero for long periods.

Climbing Hybrid Teas

The third group, climbing hybrid teas, are climbing forms of bush varieties, “sports” with flowers identical to the bush forms. These are the least hardy, and generally not for Northern climates. 

There is, however, considerable variation according to the hardiness of the variety of which they are climbing forms.

Some climbers are listed as pillar roses. These do not form a distinct group but are merely semi-climbers, which do not ordinarily reach a height of more than 8′ to 12′ feet tall. 

Another group, sometimes listed as creepers, are merely climbers with brier-like canes that do equally well if left to scramble as ground cover roses. The salmon-pink Dorothy Perkins was extensively used for this purpose.

Shrub Roses

The term shrub rose is applied to a group of varieties differing widely botanically but having in common a shrub or bush-like habit of growth and extreme hardiness and vigor. They succeed with a minimum of attention often thriving and blooming for years with no care at all.

Dwarf Roses

Dwarf roses (not to be confused with the thimble-sized “baby” or miniature roses) are very low-growing varieties of floribunda type. They are particularly valuable for low hedges or edgings, or in a bed for mass color.

Recommendations For Your Modern Rose Garden

If you love the beauty of individual blooms, both in the garden and indoors, you will wish to have a real rose garden – even though it is a small one – and concentrate on hybrid teas and the large-flowered floribundas and grandifloras. 

You will find that you can take care of a bed of a dozen or so varieties, with a time expenditure of an hour or so a week – but the attention must be regular.

In the groups of roses just described, there is almost unlimited color, except for true blues. Your fancy may lead you to concentrate on one color. We know a woman who finds her greatest recreation in growing every yellow rose she can find.

Or, even with very limited space and limited time, you may literally have a rose garden in the air by planting a few of the large-flowered. everblooming (or, more accurately, reblooming) climbers.

And so, to anyone who is “starting with roses” our advice is to venture in many directions. If you haven’t time to care for a formal bed of hybrid teas, you can still have roses and plenty of them. 

If you have problem spots around the garden a shrub rose or a climber may be just the solution you are looking for. 

If you have need for a protective hedge that you wish to be beautiful too, and yet require a minimum of care, vigorous floribundas may be what you are looking for.

FGR-0757 – F Rockwell