Types of Roses: Choosing the Best Roses to Grow

When you think of roses, you might picture the classic red Hybrid Tea rose with its long stem and perfect, shaped bloom. But there are many different types of roses, each with its own special features and growing habit.

Besides considering the flower colour and shape, there are quite a few other things to consider when choosing the best roses to grow in your garden.

In this article, we’ll take a look at nine different types of roses, so you can find the perfect one for your garden.

Hybrid tea roses

Hybrid tea roses are one of the most popular types of roses, and it’s easy to see why. These beautiful flowers have all the best features of other rose varieties, with long stems and large, eye-catching blooms. They come in a wide range of colours, from classic reds and pinks to more unusual shades like yellow and orange.

Hamilton Princess (hybrid tea)
Hamilton Princess (hybrid tea)

And unlike some other roses, hybrid tea roses are relatively easy to care for, making them a perfect choice for beginner gardeners. So if you’re looking for a stunning addition to your garden, be sure to consider hybrid tea roses.

Polyantha roses

Polyantha roses are a smaller, more compact type of rose that is perfect for growing in pots or small spaces. These pretty flowers typically have clusters of small blooms, in colors ranging from white and pink to red and purple. Polyantha roses are also known for being very disease-resistant, so they’re a great choice if you’re looking for a low-maintenance plant.

Rose Ballerina (polyantha shrub)
Rose Ballerina (polyantha shrub)

Floribunda roses

Floribunda roses are a cross between hybrid tea and polyantha roses, and they offer the best of both worlds. If you’re looking for a rose that’s both beautiful and versatile, you can’t go wrong with a floribunda. Also known as “cluster roses,” these plants are characterized by their large clusters of blooms.

Rosa 'Arthur Bell' (floribunda)
Rosa ‘Arthur Bell’ (floribunda)

Floribundas come in a wide range of colours, from vibrant oranges and yellows to delicate pinks and whites. And because they repeat bloom throughout the season, they make an excellent choice for cutting gardens. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance plant that will add a touch of elegance to your garden, a floribunda rose is hard to beat.

David Austin roses

David Austin roses are beloved by gardeners around the world for their beautiful blooms and Old World charm. These roses are named after their creator, David Austin, who began developing them in the 1960s. His goal was to create a rose that had the charm of an old-fashioned rose, but with more modern genetics. The result is a wide variety of roses with stunning flowers in a rainbow of colours.

Golden Celebration (David Austin)

The flowers are characterized by their large, densely petaled flowers and strong fragrance. While many garden roses can be difficult to care for, David Austin roses are relatively easy to grow and maintain. So if you’re looking for a rose that’s both beautiful and versatile, look no further than a David Austin rose.

Check out the official David Austin website here: www.davidaustinroses.co.uk

Miniature roses

Miniature roses are the perfect way to add a touch of elegance to any garden, without taking up too much space. These dainty flowers come in a variety of colours and can provide months of blooms with minimal care. Whether you’re looking for a pop of color on a windowsill or a fragrant addition to your garden, these lovely plants are sure to delight.

<i>Rosa</i> &#39;Palace Rebekah&#39;
Rosa ‘Palace Rebekah’ potted rose

And although they may be small in size, don’t be fooled – these roses are big on personality. With their delicate petals and sweet fragrance, miniature roses are impossible to resist. So whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a novice plant owner, make sure to give these lovely flowers a try. Due to their size, they also make a lovely gift for someone special.

Climbing and rambling roses

Climbing roses and rambling roses are two of the most popular types of roses, and it’s easy to see why. Both varieties are incredibly versatile, able to adapt to a wide range of growing conditions, and support a variety of garden styles.

Climbing roses are structured and moderately vigorous. This means that they’re perfect for covering walls and trellises. Rambling roses are more vigorous and their sprawling habit makes them great for covering structures, like large arches or pergolas.

Rosa Wymondham Abbey ('Beadevil') (climbing)
Rosa Wymondham Abbey (‘Beadevil’) (climbing)

Both types of roses are relatively easy to care for, making them a popular choice for beginners and experienced gardeners alike. With some varieties growing as much as 20 – 30 feet in a single growing season, they’re also very useful for adding privacy through the summer months.

So whether you’re looking for a colour and romance or just some elegant privacy in your backyard, be sure to consider these versatile varieties.

Ground cover roses

Ground cover roses are a type of low-growing rose that is often used to fill larger areas such as beds and borders. They’re usually less than two feet tall and have a spreading habit. They’re propagated by rooting stem cuttings or by buying nursery plants and come in a wide range of colours, including white, pink, red, and yellow.

Rosa Cutie Pie (patio or ground cover)
Rosa Cutie Pie (patio or ground cover)

Ground cover roses are typically hardy and easy to care for. They prefer full sun but will tolerate partial shade. They should be planted in well-drained soil and given regular watering during the growing season. Ground cover roses are an excellent choice for those looking for a low-maintenance plant that adds colour and beauty to the landscape.

Old garden roses

Many people will agree that there’s nothing quite like the fragrance of an old garden rose. These lovely blooms have been cherished by gardeners for centuries, and it is easy to see why. Old garden roses are incredibly versatile, tolerating a wide range of growing conditions and offering an abundance of bloom.

Rosa 'Tuscany Superb' (gallica)
Rosa ‘Tuscany Superb’ (gallica)

But how just how old are we talking about? Generally, any rose that existed before 1867 might be considered an old garden rose – before ‘modern rose’ types emerged. Damask roses have, for centuries, been a symbol of beauty and love. Gallica roses are said to be the very oldest. Cultivated by our Greek and Roman ancestors, these were apparently a common feature of medieval gardens.

These traditional roses come in a wide variety of colours and sizes, making it easy to find one that is perfect for any garden. However, the true beauty of old garden roses lies in their fragrance. From delicate florals to spicy aromas, these roses offer something for everyone. Whether you are looking for a classic fragrance or something unique, old garden roses are sure to please.

Species roses (Wild roses)

Species roses are a type of rose that is known for its hardiness and simple beauty. Often found growing in the wild, these roses are prized by gardeners for their ability to thrive in less than ideal conditions. While they may not have the showy blooms of hybrid roses, species roses more than makeup for it with their sweet scent and abundant foliage.

<i>Rosa rugosa</i> &#39;Alba&#39;
Rosa rugosa ‘Alba’

One of the most popular varieties is the Rosa Rugosa, which is beloved for its fragrant flowers and disease-resistant leaves. Another popular variety is the Rosa Rubiginosa, which is known for its orange hips and bright green leaves. Whether you’re looking for a low-maintenance plant for your garden or a tough shrub for a difficult spot, species roses are definitely worth considering.

Modern shrub roses

Shrub roses are the workhorses of the rose world. As a not-so-distant relation to the ‘species roses’ group, they’re tough, reliable, and don’t mind a little neglect. Modern shrub roses come in a wide range of colours, sizes, and shapes, and they can be used to create everything from low-maintenance ground covers to showy specimen plants. Whether you’re looking for a classic white rose or a vibrant new hybrid, there’s sure to be a shrub rose that’s right for you.

Rosa Leah Tutu ('Hornavel') (modern shrub)
Rosa Leah Tutu (‘Hornavel’) (modern shrub)

Thanks to years of breeding and selection, modern shrub roses are more disease-resistant and drought-tolerant than ever before. They also tend to produce an abundance of beautiful blooms.

How to choose the right rose for your garden

When choosing a rose for your garden, it’s important to consider the plant’s ultimate size and shape. Where will you plant the rose? What kind of space would you like it to fill? How tall could it get?

Also, consider whether you’d like a low-maintenance option that you can pretty much leave alone, or whether you’re happy to do some pruning and shaping. Of course, climbing or rambling roses can easily be trained to cover a structure, making use of the height in your garden.

You’ll also want to think about the colour of the blooms, the plant’s disease resistance, and whether or not it’s thorny.

And if you’re feeling confused…

To simplify things, we can put roses into three main categories. Here they are listed below, with some of the key points to note:

Modern Roses

  • Low maintenance
  • Continuous blooms through the season
  • Larger, more robust flowers
  • Widely available

Old Garden Roses

  • Classic & romantic, traditional varieties
  • Known for their exquisite fragrance
  • Only bloom once per season
  • Extra hardy and disease resistant

Species (Wild) Roses

  • Versatile and tough
  • Can still thrive in ‘tricky’ conditions
  • Sweetly scented and abundant foliage
  • Very low maintenance


Final thoughts

So, which type of rose is best for you? The answer depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for low-maintenance and continuous blooms, go for a modern rose. If you want something classic and romantic, go for an old garden rose. And if you’re looking for a tough plant that can tolerate a range of conditions, go for a species rose.

No matter which type of rose you choose, remember to give it plenty of room to grow and plenty of water. With just a little bit of care, your roses will thrive and provide you with years of enjoyment.


We’d love to hear about the roses in your garden. Which is your favourite type of rose? Any tips you can share? Let us know in the comments below.


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