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Rose Gardens

Rose: Radiant Perfume, Hybrid Tea RoseRoses have been coined as the queen of all flowering plants. Roses offer a range of color, shape, and scent that is unrivaled. Few plants are more varied in growth habit, height, foliage and form.

Roses are adaptable plants that grow well in almost all parts of the world. They're most vigorous in warm-temperate regions, although some have adapted to subtropical or cold regions. In hot climates, some may flower most all year.

Roses have an aura of mystery surrounding them with a reputation for being difficult to grow. Some are indeed difficult to grow, especially if the gardener is interest in show-quality perfection. This however, shouldn't be a hindrance since there are thousands of roses that the average gardener can grow and enjoy. To better understand the different kinds of roses, it's a good idea to have a grasp on rose classification.

Roses are classified and grouped in several different ways. One way is to divide them by their date of introduction. Species Roses have been growing in the wild for hundreds or even thousands of years. Next are Old Garden Roses. These roses were introduced before 1867. This was the year the hybrid tea rose was first introduced. Roses introduced after 1867 are called Modern Roses.

There are some 250 naturally occurring rose species and an ever-growing hybrid roses. Within these 3 classifications, roses are further subdivided by physical characteristics, such as growth habits, foliage traits and then by flower forms. The following are the basic rose classifications, but some new varieties sometimes blur the lines between these classifications.

Old Garden Roses:


Flowers are generally white or pale pink against gray-green leaves. Flowers once, usually in late spring. Alba roses are descendants of Rosa Gallica, and was known before 100 AD, and became very popular during the Renaissance.


The first repeat-flowering roses, originated on the Indian Ocean island called Isle of Bourbon, now known as Reunion Island. Very fragrant. They resulted from a cross of Autumn Damask and Pink China.


Also known as "cabbage roses, these full flowers often have more than 100 petals. Bloom once per season. These roses were produced by Dutch hybridizers before 1500 and were probably a cross between Alba and Damask.


Fragrant flowers, usually white, pink or red. Some bloom only once, others repeat. These are the roes of ancient Mediterranean and cultivated in Greece and the Roman Empire.

Hybrid China

Open plants that are tender and need winter protection north of Zone 7. Usually repeat flowering. In the late 1700s and early 1800s, roses from China were introduced to European gardeners.

Hybrid Gallica

Usually pink, red, or purple with intense fragrance with few thorns, but only bloom once per season. The Gallica are the oldest cultivated European roses. It was used for making medicines in the times before Christ.

Hybrid Perpetual

Repeat flowers are either pink or red. Very fragrant. These roses resulted from repeated intercrossing among Portlands, Bourbons, Teas and Chinas around the mid 1800s.


Centifolia roses that produce a slightly sticky green or brown mosslike growth on their flower stems and buds. Once blooming. Developed in the late 1600s.


Larger, sprawling plants with clustered, fragrant flowers and tender to cold. This was the first hybrid rose to originate in the United States in the early 1800s and resulted from a cross from the Musk Rose with China and Tea Roses.


Fragrant, pink blooms that are repeat blooming.


Flowers are in the light yellow, pink, or white range on canes with few thorns. Grows best in Zone 7 and south. Repeat flowering. Another rose introduced from China in the early 1800s. The aroma from these roses often smells much like freshly crushed tea leaves.

Rose Gardens

Modern Garden Rose Classifications:

Hybrid Tea & Grandiflora

Upright, repeat-flowering shrubs with large flowers carried one to a stem, or in small clusters on one stem. Hybrid Teas have undergone constant improvements.


Upright, repeat-flowering shrubs with better continuity of bloom than Hybrid Teas. The smaller flowers are borne on large sprays.


Similar to Floribundas, but with a small, neat habit.


Tiny counterparts of Hybrid Teas and Floribundas.


Low-growing, trailing or spreading roses. Some flower once a year, others are repeat-flowering shrubs.


Climbing roses with long, strong shoots and large flowers borne singly or in small clusters. Some flower once a year; most are repeat-flowering shrubs. Climbing roses include a small group of roses such as 'Albertine', which in habit are between a climber and a rambler. They were once classed as ramblers, but culturally they should be treated as climbers


Vigorous, climbing roses with long, flexible shoots that bear small blooms in large clusters, flowering once a year.


A widely varying group impossible to classify further, ranging from low, mound-forming cultivars to wide-spreading shrubs and giant cluster-flowered bushes. Some bloom only once, others are repeat-flowering shrubs.

Rose Garden


Basic Rose Flower Shapes

Rose flower shapes can be classified in a variety of ways. The most basic classification is the flower shape when it's in its most perfect state of bloom (which may be before it has fully opened). Flowers are classified as single (4 — 7 petals), semi double (8 — 14 petals), double (15 — 20 petals), or fully double (over 30 petals).


Open, usually single or semi double, with almost a flat petal shape


Open, single to fully double flowers, with petals curving outward from the center


Semi-double to fully double Hybrid Tea type, with high, tight centers


Classic, curved, and flat-topped, semi- to fully double Hybrid Tea type


Double or fully double, with overlapping, even-sized petals forming a bowl-shaped outline


Flattish, double or fully double, with many irregular, slightly overlapping petals of uneven size


Flattish, double or fully double, with irregular uneven petals in a quartered pattern


Small, rounded, double or fully double, with masses of small petals; blooms are usually borne in clusters

Rose Bed

Growing Roses

Roses need full sun and an open site that allows for easy air movement in and around the plants. Garden soil should be moderately rich, well drained and generously amended with organic matter. Morning sun is an essential criteria for successful rose growing.

Species and cultivars resistant to black spot and other fungal diseases to which some roses are prone are best choices for average gardeners.

Good air circulation, full sun, and attentive garden hygiene will go a long way toward preventing many problems associated with growing roses. Planting roses along with alliums also help deter some rose pests.

Avoid over-fertilization which promotes to much rich succulent growth and an easy target for many garden pests.



Rose: Cherry Parfait GrandifloraEverblooming roses should be pruned in the spring by removing 1/3 — 1/2 the length of the flower canes on mature plants.

Once-blooming roses should be pruned lightly after flowering, removing older stems. Deadhead spent flowers except on roses grown for their hips.


Buying roses

Rose plants are available either bareroot (wrapped and packaged, loose or in plantable boxes) or growing in containers. Either method will produce good rose plants. Container grown bushes may give the gardener fewer problems at planting time.

Rose: Sexy Rexy FloribundaRoses are graded by a rating system: 1, 1-1/2, and 2. This rating system is based on size and number of canes. If you're willing to pay the price for the best possible blooms, insist on Grade No. 1 plants with 3 — 4 heavy canes at least 3/8" in diameter. It will take several years for a Grade No. 1-1/2 plants to catch up with a Grade No. 1 plants.

Purchase plants from reputable local nurseries or well-known mail order houses. Buy from folks that sell roses year after year and stand behind the quality of their plants— avoid bargains. The initial cost of the plants is minor compared to the investment in time and effort for each rose plant, and it is foolish to make such an investment in an inferior plant that will only cause problems in years to come.

Most bareroot roses are grown in California where their environment produces top-grade plants that are just as hardy as roses begun in northern fields. These barerooted plants are harvested when they are dormant, and held under ideal conditions and shipped to retailers or directly to you at the right time for local climatic conditions.

See also:

Rose Planting Tips

Knock Out Roses

Climbing and Rambling Rose Bush Care

Rose Pests/Diseases

Winterization Tips for Your Roses