Speaking of Roses

Author: Meera, January 12, 2015



This candy-stripe rose was a gift from a friend--a cutting from her rose that became a large bush in my care

This candy-stripe rose was a gift from a friend–a cutting from her rose that became a large bush in my garden


If you love roses like I do, you probably already have a few growing in your garden. Perhaps you also look forward during long winter evenings to perusing the offerings in the catalogs of rose growers and dreaming of new varieties to plant in the spring.



Whether you are new to growing roses or have been gardening with them for a while, a review of types and species might be in order, especially before you plan a visit to your local gardening center. Bare root roses will start arriving in about three weeks here in Northern California.



Roses fall roughly into four general categories: Bush Roses (this is the largest group and includes hybrid tea, polyantha, floribunda, heritage or old rose, miniature, and tree roses), Climbing Roses (large-flowering climbers have canes to 10 feet, ramblers have canes to 20+ feet and small flowers in early summer), Shrub Roses (upright growth habit reaches 4 to 12 feet and may only bloom once during summer), Groundcover Roses (also called carpet roses, these grown in low mounds and can bloom only once or repeatedly).





Alba–These beauties are white or palest pink with gray-green foliage.



Bourbon–Repeat bloomers that have a wide height range and glossy green foliage.


Centifolia–These stunning beauties were favored by the Dutch master painters. Centifolia roses contain many petals on cold-hardy plants that grow 4 to 8 feet tall.


Climbers–These roses come in a wide variety of bloom type and color and have long, arching canes.



Climbing Sally Holmes, a Jackson Perkins rose

Climbing Sally Holmes produces large sprays of white to palest pink roses along the back fence of our property, from early spring to frost



Damask–May bloom only once although some varieties will repeat; the flowers are white or soft pink and fragrant. For centuries, this was the rose species used to produce Attar of Roses.


Florabunda–Produces sprays of roses and is a repeat bloomer.


Grandiflora–Similar to hybrid tea roses, the grandiflora blooms on long canes and is associated with the high-centered blooms so often seen in floral shops.


Hybrid Gallica–An old rose that blooms in the spring; flowers are pink or red or even striped and emerge on plants that stand about 4 feet tall.


Hybrid Perpetual–These roses were especially loved in the 1800′s for their red and pink color, repeat flowering, and height of six feet.


"Honor" is a hybrid tea  rose blooms from spring to fall

“Honor” is a hybrid tea rose that blooms in my garden from spring to fall



Hybrid Tea–Blooms on long canes as a single bloom or sprays of flowers.


The range of colors for roses is vast; pictured here is a red-gold variety of floribunda

The range of colors for roses is vast; pictured here is a red-gold variety of a polyantha



Polyantha–Smaller blooms than the florabundas but can produce large sprays in repeated flowering.


Noisette–Plants tend to be large and often sprawl but can produce fragrant clusters of blooms and are repeat-flowering. They are sensitive to cold and frost.


Miniature–Small roses ranging in height from 1 to 3 feet with miniature flowers and foliage.


Shrub–Hybrid rugosas are an example of the shrub varieties (of which there are many). Often these roses have lots of prickles.


Tea Roses–These plants have quite large blooms, but the drawbacks include weak canes and a susceptibility to frost and cold. Their height and bloom color can vary widely.





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