Types of Roses

tuscany superb | types of roses | hedgerow roseThank you for visiting my Types of Roses page and I hope you find some information that is helpful to you. As many of you know already, the genesis for this page was a running list of notes that I had made up for myself to help me as I shopped for our garden. I’m not an expert, I’m simply enthusiastic about rose gardening. If I made any mistakes here, I apologize. I’ll add to this page as I stumble upon something new, so do check back and if you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch!

♥ Laurie


Reine des Violettes Hybrid Perpetual | Types of Roses | Hedgerow Rose3 Main Groups:

Roses are divided into 3 main groups: Species (wild) roses & their hybrids, Old Garden roses and Modern roses. Species roses are typically large climbing or shrub-like roses with single, flat flowers blooming in late spring or early summer followed by hips (seeds) in autumn. They are the parents of the modern roses we have today. Old Garden Roses include the following classes: Alba, Ayrshire, Bourbon, Boursault, Centifolia, China, Damask, Gallica, Hybrid Perpetual, Moss, Noisette, Portland, Ramblers and Tea. Modern Roses are a broad mix which include the following types: Climbing, Floribunda, Grandiflora, Hybrid Musk, Hybrid Rugosa, Hybrid Tea, Landscape (including Groundcover) or Shrub, Miniature, Mini-flora and Polyantha. The American Rose Society currently recognizes 37 classes of roses.


ALBA: An Old Garden Rose. Perhaps this rose may even have been in existence as far back as the 1st century!! Albas are most likely a cross of Rosa canina and Rosa damascena. Albas have light pink to white fragrant blossoms on an upright shrub with blue-grey-green foliage. Albas can tolerate shadier conditions are cold-hardy. They are once-blooming late spring/early summer.

Rosa alba semi plena | Types of Roses | Hedgerow Rose

R. alba semi-plena an Alba rose

AUSTIN: David Austin, the English rose breeder, introduced his first creation, ‘Constance Spry’ in 1960 and since then has developed an enormous collection of modern roses with the look and scent of old European varieties and the added benefit of repeat bloom. David Austin’s roses are often referred to as “English Roses,” however, I prefer calling them “Austin Roses” as there are many other hybridizers who also hail from England. The collection is so large that it has been separated into subgroups: English Alba Hybrids, English Musk Hybrids, Leander, and Old Rose Hybrids. I think David Austin roses are some of the most rewarding to grow.

Strawberry Hill | Types of Roses | Hedgerow Rose

‘Strawberry Hill’ A David Austin English Rose

AYRSHIRE: An Old Garden Rose. Probably originated from the wild species rose, the white Rosa arvensis however there are some arguments that the original Ayrshire was raised in Scotland from an unidentified seed. A cold-hardy, vigorous rose (no doubt due to it’s parentage), Ayrshires can reach heights of 20-30 feet and covered with thousands of blossoms. Once blooming late spring/early summer.

BANKSIAE:  Rosa banksiae, also referred to as Lady Banks’ a native of China, is a species rose noted for being practically thornless and bearing clusters of small, violet-scented flowers on a massive, spreading shrub. There are four forms of Rosa banksiae, with two single-petaled types and 2 double (pom-pom like) petaled types. The double flowered types are said to be sports of the single. All Banksian roses need A LOT of room to grow and prefer warmer conditions (such as against a south-facing masonry wall.) I wish I had the climate for this rose because I am completely in love with Rosa banksia lutea, with it’s ferny foliage and butter-yellow blossoms. Banksian roses bloom once on previous year’s growth.

BOURBON: An Old Garden Rose. Named for La Réunion island (formerly known as Île Bourbon) in the Indian ocean, these roses are probably a cross from a China and Damask which were growing on the island. Bourbon roses are fragrant, full and cupped in shades of light pinks to deep pinkish-reds. The canes are usually long and arching which was probably inherited from their Damask heritage (although some Bourbons are shrubby) and make good candidates for pegging or training as a climber. From their China heritage, Bourbons will often exhibit repeat-bloom. In my experience, Bourbon roses are susceptible to fungal disease such as blackspot and mildew.

Reine Victoria | Types of Roses | Hedgerow Rose

‘Reine Victoria’ A Bourbon Rose

BOURSAULT: An Old Garden rose. Climbing, with arching semi-smooth canes and flushes of bloom in early summer. Boursault roses are probably descended from Rosa pendulina and Rosa chinensis and are characterized as having fragrant purplish-red blossoms.

BUCK: As in Dr. Griffith Buck, the hybridizer who made it his mission to create roses that could survive a harsh northern winter without any fuss or muss. The modern shrub rose ‘Carefree Beauty’ is by far his most successful rose to date. It is also an “Earth Kind™” rose (see below.)

Carefree Beauty 1 | Hedgerow Rose‘Carefree Beauty’ a Buck and Earth Kind™ rose

CENTIFOLIAAn Old Garden Rose. Like the name describes, Centifolia roses are packed with petals, 100 or more, and are often known as the “cabbage rose” because of it’s full, rounded, lush blossom shape. Centifolia roses were bred by Dutch hybridizers in the 17th-19th century and were the subject of Dutch and Flemish flower painters of the 18th and 19th centuries including Redouté. Centifolia blossoms are fragrant and appear in shades of white to pink. Cold-hardy but disliking hot, humid growing conditions, this rose can get quite large and may need support. (The blossoms are understandably heavy and may droop on the stems.) The Centifolia origin is fuzzy but probably derived from crosses between  Rosa gallicaRosa moschataRosa canina and Rosa damascena, but no one is certain. Centifolia roses bloom once, in early summer, and are used in the fragrance industry. In particular they are grown in the Grasse region of France, the perfume capital of the world.

Fantin Latour | Types of Roses | Hedgerow Rose

“Fantin-Latour” a Centifolia rose

CHINAAn Old Garden Rose. China roses caused quite a sensation to the rose world when introduced to the west in the late 18th century. Until then, the autumn repeat-blooming Damasks were the only roses known to have a second flush of blooms. China roses offered many new exciting variances to the rose gene-pool including: reliable repeat-bloom (In fact, China roses were sometimes referred to as “Monthly Roses” for this trait), new scents and color changes (such as a deepening of color as the rose matures and shades of yellow and dark red which were not yet present in European roses.) The blossoms, which are high/centered and unfurl when opening are the predecessors of today’s modern roses. China roses are a complex group of cultivated and natural crosses. They are smaller in stature, graceful and slender. Of all the China roses, ‘Mutabilis’ an Earth Kind™ rose, is probably one of the most popular.

CLIMBING: Roses don’t officially “climb” as they do not grasp or wind any tendrils or leaves. However, they may throw out very long canes which can be trained along a support. Climbing roses can include: Modern Large-Flowered, Pillar, Ramblers, Noisettes, Old Garden Roses, Ayrshires, Hybrid Moyesii, Hybrid Sempervirens and Hybrid Tea roses. Climbing roses are good candidates for “pegging,” that is anchoring part of the long cane to the ground thereby increasing flowering along the length of the cane and possible rooting it to create an additional plant.

‘Blaze’ A Modern Climbing Rose

DAMASK: An Old Garden Rose. The original Damask probably originated in Syria or thereabouts and was introduced to Europe in the 16th century. Damasks have uncertain parentage but are like descendants of a Gallica rose and a species rose. Damask roses are white to shades of deep pink and are typically once-blooming. Winter hardy, they can have tall, arching, thorny canes, with strongly scented blossoms. The oil of ‘Rosa damascena’ is utilized in the perfume industry.

Madame Hardy | Types of Roses | Hedgerow Rose

‘Madame Hardy’ A Damask Rose

DELBARD: A recent collection of highly perfumed shrubs and climbers from Delbard of France.

DRIFT: Landscape roses marketed through Conard Pyle (various hybridizers) and are a cross between groundcover and miniature roses. Touted as being disease/pest resistant and winter hardy with consistent bloom.

EARTH KIND®: Earth Kind is a registered trademark associated with rose cultivars that were field tested by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. To receive the status of being an Earth Kind rose, they must demonstrate superior performance without chemical or physical interventions such as: drought and poor soil tolerance and pest and disease resistance.

Flower Carpet Pink Supreme | Types of Roses | Hedgerow Rose

‘Flower Carpet®’ an Earth Kind® rose

EGLANTERIA/EGLANTINE: ‘Sweet Briar’ rose, a species, famed in the famous poem by Shakespeare in “A Midsummer’s Night Dream.” The hybrids of Rosa eglanteria have mostly single-petaled blossoms with foliage scented strongly of fresh, green apples. This rose is once-blooming producing bright red hips in autumn.

ENGLISH: See “Austin”

Heritage | Types of Roses | Hedgerow Rose

‘Heritage’ A David Austin “English Rose”

ENGLISH LEGEND®: See “Harkness”

EXPLORER: Roses bred by Canada’s Agriculture-Agrafood Department for rugged durability in cold-winer climates. They mainly possess the Rosa kordesii bloodlines. A good example of an Explorer rose is ‘William Baffin’.

William Baffin rose via Hedgerow Rose‘William Baffin’ An Explorer Rose

EURODESERT: Actually not a type of rose, but a company that has since closed it’s doors. Eurodesert’s inventory consisted of roses, many of them Hybrid Perpetuals, that were imported from Europe that could withstand the southern California high desert where the nursery was located, hence the name. When Eurodesert Roses closed shop, hundreds of varieties were sent to Vintage Gardens. I’ve included Eurodesert roses here in this list simply because it can be confusing when you read a site saying they have “Eurodesert roses for sale.” “What’s that?!” you might ask. Well, now ya know!

FLORIBUNDA: This is a modern rose, a cross between a hybrid tea and a polyantha, with each stem producing clusters of large blossoms. The term “Floribunda” was coined by a hybridizer for Jackson & Perkins, Dr. J.N. Nicolas. Floribundas have the upright, loose habit and shape of a hybrid tea, not the lax, dense, sprawling habit of a polyantha. They come in a wide range of colors. The first Floribunda was ‘Grüss an Aachen’ which is still widely grown today.

Julia Child Floribunda rose via Hedgerow Rose
‘Julia Child’ A Floribunda Rose

FLOWER CARPET®: Sometimes referred to as “groundcover roses” Flower Carpets are incredibly robust: winter hardy, disease and pest resistant as well as free flowering. Bred by Reinhard Noack of Germany, not all Flower Carpet roses share the same relations and therefore may not look anything like the other. However, they all bear the same durable characteristics. The “Next Generation” series which includes: ‘Scarlet’, ‘Amber’ and ‘Pink Supreme’ have improved heat/humidity and disease tolerance.

Flower Carpet Pink Amber | Types of Roses | Hedgerow Rose

‘Flower Carpet ® Amber’ Rose

FOETIDA: A species rose and the source of the yellow trait in today’s modern roses. Incidentally, foetida roses also have a strong susceptibility to blackspot which was passed to other roses carrying the yellow trait. The term “foetida” translates in Latin to meaning unpleasant smelling. Foetida roses have a strong scent, perhaps not unpleasant but I suppose it depends on the one smelling it–I can’t say I ever have so don’t have an opinion either way. The first yellow hybrid tea, ‘Soleil d’Or’ was accidentally bred from a cross between ‘Rosa foetida’ and a red hybrid perpetual. Foetida roses are winter hardy, once-blooming and can reach heights of up to 10 feet.

FOUND: A rose that has been discovered and not yet identified. They will take a temporary name reflecting the location from where it was discovered and sometimes that can be quite silly. Example: “The Flores Street House Eater“.

Arcata Pink Globe | Types of Roses | Hedgerow Rose

“Arcata Pink Globe” A Found (also a Hybrid Setigera) Rose

GALLICA: An Old Garden rose. Sometimes referred to as “French roses” or “Provins roses” they are one of the oldest cultivated species of roses with examples stretching back as early as the 12th century. Gallica roses are fragrant and although once-blooming but put on quite a show when they do. They can form a dense, thick shrub (prone to suckering), and reach heights of about 4-5 feet. Gallica roses bloom in shades of light pink to deep pink, to dark wine hues, and even striped colorations. Empress Josephine was quite taken with Gallica roses and her garden at Malmaison was filled with them. They are tolerant of shade, poor soils and cold winters. Famous Gallicas include: Rosa gallica ‘Officinalis’ (Apothecary’s Rose) and Rosa gallica ‘Versicolor’ (or ‘Rosa Mundi‘). Gallicas are one of my favorite class of roses!

Apothecary's Rose | Types of Roses | Hedgerow Rose

R. gallica ‘Officinalis’ A Gallica Rose

GARDEN EASE®: The information on these are a little sketchy but from what I can gather, they are a collection of roses introduced by Jackson & Perkins. Supposedly rugged and maintenance free. An example is ‘Caramel Kisses™’ 

GENEROSA: Modern roses introduced by french company,  Roseraie Guillot. Just like David Austin’s English roses, Générosa roses exhibit old garden rose sensibilities with modern, repeat bloom.

GRANDIFLORA: The term “Grandiflora” was coined with the introduction of ‘Queen Elizabeth’ a modern floribunda rose introduced in 1954 which didn’t quite fit the standard of hybrid teas and other floribundas so a new class was created. My understanding is this is a class used by ARS but not abroad. I think over time this distinction will fade away?

HARKNESS: Marketed in France and Germany as English Legend® these are a group of hardy shrub roses much in the vein of David Austin and Romantica roses created by the English company, Harkness, which has been in business since 1879.

HYBRID PERPETUAL: Hybrid perpetuals are types of roses that were very popular in the mid to late 1800′s. They are highly scented, large-flowered, in shades of pink and red with scattered repeat bloom and graceful form reminiscent of their Old Garden rose ancestors. They are the forerunners of our modern Hybrid Tea and English roses with the originals as crosses between Hybrid Chinas with Portlands and Bourbons. They lost popularity when Hybrid Tea roses were introduced.

Reine des Violettes | Types of Roses | Hedgerow Rose

‘Reine des Violettes’ A Hybrid Perpetual Rose

HYBRID TEA: Not to be confused with Tea roses, older Hybrid Teas are a cross between Hybrid Perpetual and Tea roses and more recent Hybrid Teas (after the introduction of ‘Peace’ in 1946) are generally crosses of HT’s with other HT’s. The first Hybrid Tea was ‘La France’ which was introduced in 1867 marking the distinction between Old Garden and Modern roses. Hybrid Teas come in an incredibly diverse range of colors are are distinguished by their long, strong stems with large, high, pointed buds and repeat blooms. Hybrid Tea roses can be susceptible to disease and winter kill.

‘Sedona’ A Hybrid Tea Rose

KNOCK OUT®: Introduced in 2000 by Bill Radler, Knock Out won the prestigious All American Rose Award the very first year of distribution, and has since sold by the millions and continues to do so. They are incredibly reliable, hardy and disease resistant, however, they lack fragrance.

‘RADcon’ A Pink Knock Out® Rose

KORDES: A German company (over 120 years old) specializing in rose hybridization. ‘Iceberg’ is a famous example of a Kordes rose. The New Generation® roses of Kordes offer low maintenance and disease resistance.

KORDESII: The original Kordesii (Kordes of Germany) rose was a cross between Rosa rugosa and a Rosa wichuraiana hybrid in 1940. Kordesii roses are used in hybridization for their winter hardiness, such as in the Explorer series of roses. They are vigorous roses with shiny foliage and typically bright red, pink and sometimes white or yellow flowers. The explorer rose, ‘William Baffin’ has Kordesii bloodlines and is a classic.

LANDSCAPE: A catch-all phrase to define shrub roses for landscape use. They must be hardy, repeat-flowering, pest and disease-resistant with little to no care to qualify as a “landscape rose.”

MACRANTHA:  The original Rosa macrantha is considered an Old Garden Rose, a hybrid heavily influenced by Rosa gallica with possibly some Rosa alba in it’s gene pool. Macrantha roses flower once in late spring on an arching or mounding shrub and are typically light pink to white. An example of a Macrantha hybrid is ‘Raubritter’.

MARCHEN® ROSEN: From Kordes & Sons of Germany, Märchen Rosen translates to “Fairy Tale Roses” and is their version of the “English” rose–lush, full, scented blossoms with repeat bloom.

MEIDILAND: These roses come from the famous French breeder, Meilland, and are defined as low-maintenance, rugged, repeat-blooming, etc. In short, a perfect landscape rose. Often Meidiland roses are ground-hugging and make for good erosion control.

MINIATURE: A miniature rose is just that–a rose in perfect miniature. Usually miniature roses resemble diminutive Hybrid Tea or Floribundas but there are also some that appear similar to Old Rose blossoms with single-petaled, double and semi-double blossoms. The first miniature rose recorded is ‘Peon’ (also known as ‘Tom Thumb’) which was introduced in 1936 and is a cross between ‘Rouletti’ and ‘Gloria Mundi’.

MINI FLORA: A term copyrighted by rose breeder Benjamin Williams to describe slightly larger than normal miniature roses.

MODERN: Roses brought into existence following the introduction of the first Hybrid Tea, ‘La France’ in 1867 are referred to as Modern Roses.

‘Piñata’ A Modern Climbing Rose

MONTHLY: According to the Help Me Find Database, a Monthly rose may refer to the damask ‘Quatre Saisons’ or the famously popular China, ‘Old Blush’.

MOSS: An Old Garden rose. Moss roses are so named for the mossy-like growth on their penduncles and sepals which give off a pine-resin scent when touched. Moss roses are a genetic mutation of a Centifolia (and possible Damask) and are available in a variety of colors. They are shrub like, growing to heights of about 4 feet and usually once-blooming although some varieties, such as ‘Salet’ repeat. Many are not particularly robust and are primarily grown for their unusual beauty. Exceptions include ‘Henri Martin’ which is highly rated.

'Red-Moss'-and-'Old-Red-Moss'-via-Hedgerow-Rose-12‘Henri Martin’ aka ‘Red Moss’ a Moss rose

MOYESII: A species rose from China, this rose bears red flowers followed by large hips which are high in vitamin C. Vigorous winter hardy, hybrids of  Rosa moyesii  will form a large, broad shrub in shades of red, pink or white.

MULTIFLORA: Rosa multiflora is a species rose native to Asia and listed as invasive in northeastern United States. Originally introduced to help with soil erosion, hedging and food for wildlife, it’s vigor and hardiness has enabled it to spread quickly choking out native plants. Rosa multiflora blooms once in late spring/early summer with trusses of white, honey-scented blossoms (distinguished from the Native American species rose which does not produce so many flowers per branch) followed by a multitude of bright red hips in autumn. Rosa multiflora is often used as a rootstock for grafted roses (primarily European.)

‘Ghislaine de Féligonde’ a Hybrid Multiflora rose

MUSK: Rosa moschata is a species of this rose which has been cultivated for centuries with origins most likely in the Middle East. It’s habit can be that of both a shrub and a climber with white, 5-petaled single flowers bearing a strong musk-like scent. Musk roses and their hybrids emit their fragrance through their styles (not the petals as most roses) therefore they belong to the Synstylae group of roses as identified by Graham Thomas. Thomas described the scent as that of the rare musk deer of Asia; a true musk scent which is light and sweet. The group of hybrid musk roses is relatively young and many were developed (by way of the Noisettes) by Reverend Joseph Pemberton of England between 1912 and 1939 who appreciated fragrance in a rose. Hybrid musk roses do not create many basal breaks and it’s best to prune with a light hand if at all. Colder winter regions may experience a lot of winter dieback with their Musk hybrids. ‘Buff Beauty’ and ‘Ballerina’ are two examples of popular musk hybrids.

Cornelia | Types of Roses | Hedgerow Rose

‘Cornelia’ Hybrid Musk Rose


NEXT GENERATION: See “Flower Carpet”

NOISETTE: An Old Garden rose. The first true American hybrid rose when in 1802, John Champney of South Carolina crossed ‘Old Blush’ (a gift from his french neighbor Philippe Noisette) with Rosa moschata resulting in ‘Champney’s Pink Cluster’. Noisettes are typically smaller in stature, shrubby, with scented blossoms in shades of pink.

OLD GARDEN: Technically, roses that appeared before 1867 (when the first Hybrid Tea, ‘La France’ was introduced) are Old Garden Roses. They include: Species (wild), Albas, Bourbons, Centifolias, Damasks, Chinas, Gallicas, Hybrid Perpetuals, Moss, Noisettes, Portlands and Teas (not to be confused with Hybrid Teas.) There is discussion by some rosarians that new roses bred from old classes should be considered an OGR.

Tuscany Superb | Types of Roses | Hedgerow Rose

‘Tuscany Superb’ a Gallica from the early 19th century and an Old Garden Rose

OSO EASY®: The origins of Oso Easy roses are confusing as they are developed by different breeders, but they all share the distinction that they are own-root, easy care landscape roses which are promoted (many through Proven Winners) as being tough as nails and free-blooming hence the name, they are “Oh, so easy!”

Oso Easy Cherry Pie | via Hedgerow Rose‘Oso Easy Cherry Pie’

PATIO: A more recent (circa 1996) term to describe a rose that is small, compact, free-flowering and suitable for a container on a patio or terrace, hence the name.

PAUL BARDEN: Paul Barden has been breeding a beautiful collection of roses from older classes (such as Gallica, Damask and Moss) Rogue Valley Roses carries a nice selection.

PERNETIANA: A sub-class of Hybrid Teas, Pernetianas named for Joseph Pernet-Ducher who, in 1900, crossed Rosa Foetida and his own ‘Soleil d’Or’ creating a rose type with a wide range of colors

PIMPINELLIFOLIA: See R. spinosissima

POLYANTHA These types of roses are characterized by prolific sprays of small blossoms held above the foliage like a cloud and in flower from summer through fall. The first Polyantha, Pâquerette’ was introduced in 1875. Earlier Polyanthas were developed by crossing a China rose with a dwarf version of Rosa multiflora but later Polyanthas had an infusion of Tea roses in the parentage. Some classic examples of Polyanthas are ‘The Fairy’ and ‘Cécile Brunner’. While Polyanthas still have a place in a rose garden, Floribundas seem to have replaced them in popularity.

The Fairy Polyantha Rose 1 | Hedgerow Rose‘The Fairy’ A Polyantha Rose

PORTLAND: An Old Garden rose. The name derives from the rose that was first in it’s class, ‘Duchess of Portland’ which has been around for over 200 years (although the origin is unknown) and was a cross between a Damask, ‘Quatre Saisons’ and Rosa gallica ‘Officinalis’. It was the Duchess of Portland who, around 1800, sent her little Rosa paestana rose which she acquired from Italy to Malmaison and which it was subsequently named for her.* Portlands were then grown and bred extensively at Malmaison thanks to the influence of Empress Josèphine and her gardener André Dupont. Portland roses are smaller in stature and bear flowers that are heavily scented of Damask. The blossoms are on shorter stems and therefore appear as though they “sit” in the foliage. Portlands may have a repeat bloom in the fall. They, along with Bourbons, Chinas and Damasks, are the parents of the Hybrid Perpetuals. *In Peter Beales’ ROSES, he states that the Portland rose was possibly named instead for the 2nd Duchess of Portland, who never left England and therefore “must cast doubt on Italy as it’s country of origin.”

‘Comte de Chambord’ A Portland Rose

RENAISSANCE® ROSES: Poulsen of Denmark’s version of the “English Rose.” An Old Garden rose appearance with strongly scented blossoms and repeat blooms.

RAMBLERS: In general, once-blooming hybrids of Rosa wichuraiana or R. multiflora which are characterized by long, sprawling, pliable canes which can be trained as a climber or left to cover wide areas. Vigorous growers, ramblers bear clusters of smallish blossoms in a dramatic display followed by orange-red hips. Their leaves can have a susceptibility to mildew. Ramblers can easily overtake a structure and even climb trees. A fine example of a rambler is the hybrid Wichuraina, ‘American Pillar’.

American Pillar rose via Hedgerow Rose

‘American Pillar’ a Rambler rose

ROMANTICA: France’s answer to the English roses, Romanticas are characterized as having Old Garden rose charm with repeat bloom. The term was coined by the french company which introduced them, Meilland.

Pierre de Ronsard | Types of Roses | Hedgerow Rose

‘Pierre de Ronsard’ or ‘Eden’ A Romantica Rose

RUBIGINOSA: See “Eglantine.”

RUGOSA: Rugosa roses are incredibly hardy and easy to naturalize. They are characterized by their strongly scented blossoms and wrinkled, leather-like leaves. Rosa rugosa, the species, is native to Japan and forms a dense thicket-like shrub with single-petaled blossoms followed by cherry tomato sized hips. Rosa rugosa has naturalized on the shores of the easter US coast and helps with dune erosion as well as offering habitat and food for wildlife. Rugosa hybrids have retained the rugged traits of the species but now include more colors and blossom forms (such as doubles). Rugosa roses are relied upon in breeding programs for roses that are being developed to withstand less than ideal growing conditions and colder temperatures (such as the Kordesii roses). Rugosa roses dislike being sprayed with any chemicals and may drop all of their leaves in protest.

Rosa rugosa alba | Types of Roses | Hedgerow Rose

Rosa rugosa ‘Alba’ a Rugosa rose

SEMPERVIRENS: Also known as the “Evergreen Rose” Rosa sempervirens is a species native to southern Europe and bears white, fragrant, single-petaled flowers in summer followed by orange-red hips in autumn. Sempervirens hybrids were the work of the gardener to the Duc d’Orleans (later King Louis Philippe). A fine example of a Sempervirens hybrid (crossed with a Noisette) is the rambler, ‘Félicité Perpétue‘ sometimes referred to as ‘Seven Sisters’.

SETIGERA: Rosa setigera, sometimes called the “Prairie Rose” is a Native American species bearing sweetly fragrant single-petaled roses in white to pink in midsummer followed by rounded red-orange hips if there are both male and female plants present. From HMF: “Rosa setigera is the only rose that is cryptically dioecious – – meaning there are male-only and female-only plants that generally look alike but whose sex is determinable microscopically, by counting the number of flowers per inflorescence (male plants have more flowers) or by looking for hips (hips are found only on female plants).” SOURCE The rose breeder Rudolf Geschwind (1829-1910) developed many Setigera hybrids, such as ‘Himmelsauge’ which are hard to find but are supposedly great roses. A popular example of a hybrid Setigera rose is ‘Baltimore Belle’ introduced in 1843.

Erinnerung an Brod | Types of Roses | Hedgerow Rose

‘Erinnerung an Brod’ a Hybrid Setigera Rose

SHRUB: Shrub roses is sort of another catch-all phrase that is supposed to define roses that are rugged and fuss-free such as the Knock Outs, Flower Carpets, Meidiland, Oso Easy Care, Hybrid Rugosas, Simplicity, Générosa and so forth. However, shrub roses also comprise the David Austin group of “English roses” which are certainly not all fuss-free.

Golden Wings | Types of Roses | Hedgerow Rose

‘Golden Wings’ A Shrub Rose

SIMPLICITY: From the powerhouse that is Jackson & Perkins came Simplicity roses which are marketed as great plant-it-and-forget-it hedge rose. Simplicity roses have been in cultivation for about 18 years but there are not many individual representatives in the group. In my experience, Simplicity roses needed winter protection and were susceptible to blackspot.

SOULIEANA: R. soulieana, a species rose, discovered pre-1895 by Father Soulié. It has thorny, arching canes and single yellow/white blossoms with prominent stamens. An example of a rose bred from R. soulienana is ‘Kew Rambler’

SPECIES: Sometimes referred to as “wild roses,” species roses have existed without cultivation for hundreds of years and are the parents of the Old Garden and Modern roses of today. Species roses have a simple, elegant beauty and in most cases have single-petaled flowers followed by colorful hips. They can range in size from only a few feet to 30+ feet (example: a species rose found “climbing” a tree). Species roses, by their very nature, are rugged and hardy. They are most often listed by their scientific name in rose catalogues but some do have common names for example: R. roxburghii is more commonly referred to as ‘Chestnut Rose’.

Rosa glauca (R. rubrifolia) via Hedgerow Rose-2Rosa glauca A Species Rose

SPINOSISSIMA: Rosa spinosissima also known as the ‘Scotch Rose’  is a white, single-petaled species characterized by small, ferny foliage, thorny canes and hips that are a dark maroon or black. Habit is short and shrub like and extremely rugged being tolerant of shade, poor soils and winter hardy to zone 3. A popular hybrid Spinosissima is the Damask/Spinosissima cross ‘Stanwell Perpetual’.

Stanwell Perpetual | Types of Roses | Hedgerow Rose

‘Stanwell Perpetual’ a Hybrid Spinosissima rose

SWAMP: Rosa palustris, also known as the “Swamp Rose” is a species native to the Eastern portion of the United States and bears single-petaled pink flowers on arching, thorny canes. Swamp roses bear the unique characteristic in that they are found in marshlands, stream banks and swamp thriving in dappled sunlight and moist, acidic soil.

TEA: An Old Garden rose. A cross between Rosa gigantea and the China Rose, Rosa chinensis. Tea roses are not at all cold-hardy but bring a delicate beauty to their hybrids exemplified in high, urn shaped blossoms on graceful stems as well as adding soft yellows and apricot hues to the gene pool. Crossed with Hybrid Perpetuals, Tea roses are one of the parents of our modern Hybrid Teas.

ULTIMATE ROSE™: A registered trademark belonging to Jackson & Perkins.

WICHURAIANA/WICHURANA Rosa wichuraiana, sometimes referred to as the “Memorial Rose”  is a white, single-petaled species blooming once in late spring/early summer. The flowers are borne in clusters and have a strong, clover-like scent. Wichuraiana hybrids are characterized are being vigorous and hardy, with glossy, dark green foliage and flowers ranging in the palest pinks to deepest pinks. Long, arching canes enable these roses to be suitably trained as a climber. The great rose hybridizer, Dr. Walter Van Fleet is credited with creating 12 Wichuraiana hybrids, among them ‘Dr. Van Fleet’ which gave sport to the hugely successful climber ‘New Dawn’. Rosa wichuraiana has been used in the Explorer series rose breeding program.

Dr Huey | Types of Roses | Hedgerow Rose

‘Dr Huey’ A Hybrid Wichurana Rose

WILD ROSES: See “Species”

WONDER ROSE: See “Flower Carpet”

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42 thoughts on “Types of Roses

  1. I was talking with a friend of mine the other evening and I’m sure she said her most favourite of ‘ROSES’ was ‘BLOOD’ am I mistaken as I couldn’t see it listed

    Many thanks if you answer this question

    John Lynch

    1. Hi John. I’ve never heard of “blood” as a class of rose. However, there is a rare Gallica rose by the name of ‘Blood d’Angleterre’ which your friend may have been referring to. Hope this helps!

  2. Very nice overview!

    Wonder if you could field a general question about roses. Would you consider them to be primarily a “summer” flower?

    1. Thanks! For us, we have roses that bloom from spring to the last frost in fall, so basically blooms from May through October and even sometimes into November. So definitely a 3-season flower, but I also like to select varieties that have hips which provide color in winter, too.

  3. Is their such a rose that its pedals are Crimson Red on the inside of pedal and White on the outside of pedal?? Also are thier roses that go by the name of Rainbow roses & Alabama Crimson Rose?

    1. I did a search for those three roses you named and as far as “Rainbow Roses” goes, I didn’t find anything but I did find these. Maybe one of them matches what you’re thinking of? My grandmother grew a rose called ‘Seven Sisters’ so named for the various shades of pink the blossoms portrayed. I’m not sure if that’s ringing any bells, but I’m feeling like at some point I heard that rose described as a rainbow rose. Maybe I’m going crazy. For “Alabama Crimson” I found 2 roses, one, a Hybrid Tea, that goes by the name of ‘Alabama’ and another a miniature. You can find descriptions for both here. ‘Fire and Ice’, a Grandiflora, does exist. You can find it’s description here. Last, there are lots of red and white roses, the popular ‘Double Delight’ comes to mind but that’s probably not the one you’re looking for. ‘F.L. Segers’ an old Tea rose has your descriptors (but no picture unfortunately). Anyone reading this want to weigh in?

  4. Please let me know why I can’t find the San Francisco rose? I have looked everywhere for them.
    Thank you, Jan Wilborn

    1. Hi Jan. Are you referring to ‘San Francisco’ the red Hybrid Tea? I am currently unable to locate a vendor selling this rose, but before I go further in helping you search I wanted to verify this is the one you’re looking for.

  5. I have a hedgerow rose in my garden that I have grown from a cutting taken years ago from one I came across whilst out walking in our area.It is pink but turns white after a while its multi headed and has the most wonderful scent.It has taken over the fence I”ve put it next to.The flowers are on their own stem and have anywhere up to twenty flowers on them about the size of a fifty pence piece.Does anyone have a clue what it could be cannot find it anywhere.

    1. Hi Katrina. It sounds like you might have Rosa canina (‘Dog Rose’) or a type of musk rose (because you also mentioned a strong scent) on your hands but if you can provide a picture that would be an even greater help. You can use the contact form above to send it to me.

  6. I am looking for a rose we once had in our garden a few years ago. I believe the name was “king aurther’s coat,” or something to that regard. The flower itself consisted of yellow, pink, orange, and somewhat of a redish colors. Reminded me of sorbet. I would really like to locate this rose so that we can add it as an edition to our current garden. Any help with the proper name and possibly a vendor would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for any help!

    1. Hi Bryana. I found a few that go by the name of ‘King Arthur’. Perhaps one of these is what you’re thinking of: Here, here, here and here. Additionally, you may be thinking of ‘Joseph’s Coat’ which has the coloring you described. You can find it here.

  7. I am looking drastically for a rose called “Bella Rose”. I have heard it is a species, and would like to know for sure, do you know anything about it, and if you do, where i may find it?If you know anything, please inform me. Thank you, and this is a very nice site, by the way!

    1. Thanks Rebecca! I found one that may be what you’re looking for. The pink species rose, Rosa bella (sometimes referred to as Rosa bella pallens) HERE. There are some European companies that say they carry it. You can find the list HERE. Hope this helps!

    1. Congratulations on the new baby! I don’t know of any rose called simply, “Sienna”, but I did find a floribunda that goes by the name ‘Siena Vigorosa’ (syn: ‘Caribbean Dawn’) which you can find a description of HERE.

  8. I did’nt know that all the names of every kind of rose is found in the bible………….<3

  9. Hello what a fantastic website, i have a very good friend for whom i would like to buy a special rose, she and her partner have named their cottage “sweet as” any ideas for any associated roses would be so much appreciated, please help!
    Becky Young

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Rebecca! My first thought is the Sweet Briar rose (for which this blog was named, actually!) which is a very pretty species rose and super easy to grow. It can get quite large, though, something to keep in mind. The Antique Rose Emporium carries this rose for which you can find HERE. Other roses with the name “Sweet” in the title can be found HERE. Anyone else have some suggestions for Rebecca?

  10. Hi…..I’m new to gardening and found your website very interesting. \i’d like to plant some roses but not sure where to start. I have prepared a raised border at the back of my cottage in the exposed hills west coast of scotland. The border is partially protected . I’ve spent a small fortune on plants and the only thing that seems to have survived is my honeysuckle and my lavender!
    Can you advise on the best roses to buy for a beginner?

    1. Hi Gilly! Thanks so much for stopping. 🙂 I’m guessing that Scotland gets pretty cold in winter, yes? To that end, I recommend buying roses that are grown on their own root (not grafted) and that are rated as being rugged and winter hardy. (Dr Griffith Buck has bred a number of winter-hardy roses, a list can be found here and here, to get you started. Also, you can’t go wrong with species roses, such as the R. rugosa.) One of my favorite roses to recommend to the beginner is the climber, ‘William Baffin’ found here. It’s very easy to grow, cold-hardy, and blooms beautifully. Remember to give your roses organic-rich, well-drained soil with plenty of sunshine and ample watering (until they get established and eventually they will be drought-resistant). Best of luck to you!

      1. Hi Alice! There is are two roses called ‘Baby Romantica’ from what I could find; both are from the French company, Meilland (who puts out the Romantica series of roses). One is classified as a miniature which you can find HERE and the other is classified as a large-flowered climber which you can find HERE Thank you for stopping by!

  11. Hi Alice, I am mad of english roses. Please suggest me how can I grow english rose plants in India or atleast get one english rose flower

    1. Hi Alice, Welcome!

      Without knowing your specific climatic region of India, I would suggest you contact David Austin directly and speak to one of their representatives. Click HERE to take you to their webpage. They’re very helpful–and I’m sure they can point you in the right direction as to which of their roses would be best for your growing scenario.

      That being said, I have found that ‘The Endeavour’ is a rose that prefers warmer, drier growing conditions if that happens to be the kind of climate you are living in. Good luck!

  12. I’ve been dabbling in roses for 20 years and was never able to get a clear picture of the distinction between the types of roses. This was a truly wonderful way to learn the differences between roses. Thank you so much for doing this for us.


  13. Hi, I live in the Caribbean and I love to garden but it is difficult for me to grow roses from cuttings. why is that so? Also why is it hard to grow hybrid roses over here?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Ken. When you say you are growing roses from cuttings, do you mean trying to propagate a rose yourself? If so, HERE is a link for an article that may be of help to you. If you’re asking about growing roses from bands (rooted cuttings) I wrote a post about that HERE. As for growing hybrid roses, do you mean Hybrid Teas? In my limited experience, many HT’s can be tricky to grow being susceptible to fungal diseases and winter dieback (the winter dieback I’m assuming isn’t a problem where you live of course, but you may have to watch for fungal diseases like blackspot if you are experiencing high humidity.) My suggestion to you would be to look up/contact your local rose and or garden society and talk to their knowledgable members. I’m sure they can point you in the right direction since they would also be experiencing the same kinds of climate conditions as you are. Best of luck to you!

  14. Hi folks, I’m going to close comments on this now, but I just wanted to take a moment to say that I am truly grateful for all your visits, pins (wow!) and notes. I really hope that you were able to find some use from this information, and do please check back as I will be updating this page since I often stumble upon something I missed when I first sat down to type this out–one wintry evening with several cups of tea and dreams of spring. 🙂

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