Gardening Blog

Gardening Blog: Rose Types

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There are a myriad of rose types, far too many to fit into an article of this length. However, there are only a handful that are commonly available to the backyard gardener, from Rose Breeders, garden centers or supermarket Spring displays. I’d like to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of five of these.

Miniature Roses

First up is the miniature rose. Usually sold in a four to six inch pot with the plant growing from 6” to 2” in height, miniatures can be used as an excellent highlight plant, either in the pot or in the ground. When winter brings sub-zero temperatures, miniature roses are best kept potted and used in displays of multiple plants that can be brought indoors in the Fall. Where temperatures are temperate ‘year round, miniatures can be planted in the garden and are very effective as a bed border. Miniatures are most often on their own roots, not grafted.

Hybrid Tea

Most people who check out roses in their neighborhood are looking at hybrid teas. They grow from 3’ to 6’ tall and have a footprint of up to 3’. The roses are large, mostly double and come one rose per cane. Some Hybrid Teas bear a first flush of roses on shorter canes with multiple heads. They come is a multitude of colours and blends and range from strongly fragrant to odorless. Florists roses are almost completely odorless. Hybrid Teas are grafted roses; heavy frost can kill the graft above the joint and the plant will put up suckers, that will not be true to type.


Floribunda roses are usually smaller plants with smaller blooms that tend to come in clusters. You can use the plants as landscape accents, or even ground cover on a south facing hill side. Planting multiple roses of the same color in this situation provides a breathtaking sight during blooming. Floribundas have one major bloom, followed by smaller, intermittent flowerings as the season progresses.


Larger in size and sporting a combination of single bloom canes and multiples, the name Grandiflora was coined by rose breeders for a new rose introduced in 1954, called Queen Elizabeth, although there’s still some argument about which rose was the first true Grandiflora.

Climbing Roses

Climbing roses are very vigorous plants that reach great heights in temperate climates. In areas where sub-zero temperatures persist in winter, the roses must be protected, even laid down and covered with earth to keep them from freezing. Climbing roses do not support themselves on the structure they occupy. They must be interwoven or tied in place. Tying is the best solution if they must be moved.

There are various type of climbers, from relatively short ramblers which are ideal trellis occupants at 8’ or less, to the largest, which are trained over pergolas and archways and can extend 15’ to 20’. Blooming habit and bloom size varies greatly, so read the description carefully. In transitional climates, the tallest can be wrapped in burlap over winter, but as said above, harsh weather will require dropping the rose each Fall and protecting it.


These are but a few of the basic rose types. Below, there are links to two good sources of comprehensive information, one in California and the other in Ontario Canada. Match the size of your plant and its blooming habits to your personal garden space. Containerized miniatures are ideal for a city backyard, deck garden; while a fence, garage or wall will allow large roses or multiple roses to be trained over the available space with delightful results. Make a bed of Hybrid Teas a centre-piece in the your garden, that gets at least 6 hours of sun a day. Fertilize in the Spring with topical granular rose feed. Miracle Grow produces an excellent product. If you live North of the 50th parallel in North America, be prepared to lose some roses each year to cold. It’s the price you pay to have this wonderful shrub grow in your great garden.
Tags: roses
Gardening and Plants