Eight Different Types of Roses for Your Garden

There are different types of roses and these are classed in different ways according to the author you read.

I confess I get a little confused myself when I read the new directions from the rose associations when compared to the traditional and catalogue classes you'll see at garden centers.

In the interests of clarity, I've divided this website into the "official" rose organizations but for us and just between us here's the main ones you really want to consider growing.

Hybrid Tea Roses

Hybrid Tea Roses are the roses that you likely think of when you think, "I want to grow a rose." These are the ones that the rose gardening experts tell you are more difficult to grow (I don't believe that however).

They tend to be the roses that get all the press coverage in garden magazines. And you want to grow them because they are wonderful plants. These different types of roses usually have long pointed buds on long stems and come in a wide variety of colors (except black and blue) Fragrance is variable so be careful which you pick (some have it and many do not).

rose ophelia
Hybrid Tea 'Ophelia'

Floribunda Roses

These are different type of roses from hybrid tea roses in that they open their blossoms in a large, cluster (sometimes called a truss) with many of the blooms opening at the same time.

The flowers are not as individually perfect as the hybrid teas (and can be single, semi, or fully double) but there's a lot more of them. Floribundas tend not to be fragrant as well. The do however have more flowers than hybrid teas and tend to produce them all summer long. Mostly growing as shorter "shrub-like" plants.

rose Shockwave
Floribunda Rose 'Shockwave'' Courtesy Wikimedia

Grandiflora Roses

These are a cross between hybrid tea and floribunda roses. The flower clusters are carried on top of tall stems rather than the shorter stems of floribunda. Also, the flowers are larger than floribunda and the overall bush tends to be tall as well so they perform quite nicely in the back of the garden.

The individual blossoms are double but the fragrance is variable between different types of roses varieties (check before you purchase one)

rose New Year
Grandiflora Rose 'New Year' Courtesy Wikimedia

Miniature Roses

Miniature Roses are small types of roses. Yes, it's that simple. Their size ranges from 6-inches tall to 3-feet tall (for climbers). Most of these bloom continuously but few have any fragrance. (They are all descended from a single dwarf China rose called 'Rouletii'.

Interestingly enough, miniatures are grown on their own roots and not grafted so they are very winter-hardy (and you can take cuttings to get more).

miniature rose boomerang
Miniature Rose 'Boomerang' Courtesy Wikimedia

Climbing Roses

These are roses that can be trained or tied to supports to form an upright plant. These types of roses can be tricky for a cold weather gardener. The Explorer series of climbing roses are the hardiest – growing well into USDA zone 3.

Varieties come in singles, semi and full doubles in a wide variety of colors and species. Check each for winter hardiness and fragrance.

rose mardi gras
Climbing Roses Courtesy Wikimedia

Shrub Roses

Shrub Roses are gorgeous shrubs in the garden lending romantic perfumes and colours to otherwise drab mid-summer shrub gardens. They come in a wide variety of species, heights, flower shapes and fragrances.

I love almost every one of them but the one I'd start with would be a hybrid rugosa. These are tough plants, they come in a variety of colours and are mostly fragrant. You won't kill this plant. If I were looking for other types of roses in this class, I'd grow musk roses. I adore musk roses with the fragrance that is unique and sultry on a still night.

rose mardi gras
Shrub Rose 'Ballerina ' Courtesy Wikimedia

Ground Cover Roses

There are increasing numbers of these low-growing roses on the market in a variety of brands. They mostly grow low to the ground and the newer hybrids bloom most of the summer. I really like these although I haven't found them to be totally hardy in USDA 4 when the snow disappears in January (which is tends to do now in a thaw). Fragrance and flower form is variable on these different types of roses.

Maintenance-free Roses

I'm at a loss about how to describe these different types of roses in that they are a true mix of all kinds of roses. There are an increasing number of them coming onto the market that bloom all summer, don't require regular pruning, have excellent disease resistance (although never as good as the ads claim) and are pretty tough.

I have grown several of this kind of plant including the new 'Knockout' series and can recommend them as garden roses for beginners.

Rose Royal Bonica
'Bonica' Courtesy Wikimedia

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