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Different Kinds of Roses - Our Rose Garden - University of Illinois Extension

Different Kinds of Roses

Species Roses

species rose

These are roses as nature gave them to us. They are the species of the genus Rosa found growing naturally throughout the Northern Hemisphere. These roses are an enormously varied group of plants. They are vigorous, thriving on minimal maintenance, and tend to be extremely hardy and disease-resistant. It should be noted however, that there is variability within species. Some may be more tolerant than others. They range in size from ground cover types to very large upright growers and climbers. Their flowers can be very large and single or small and in clusters. Colors range from white to pink to crimson.

Species roses often have relatively simple, 5-petaled flowers followed by very colorful hips that last well into the winter, providing food for birds and winter color. Almost all are once-blooming in early summer. Perhaps the most familiar species for sale today is Rosa rugosa because of its superior hardiness, disease resistance, and extremely easy maintenance. The species has been widely hybridized. Species roses may not be for everyone. Rose enthusiasts like to include them into their collection for historical purposes as well as ease of maintenance.

Old European Garden Roses

There are five classes of roses that make up what is known as the most venerable group of cultivated roses. They are Gallica, Damask, Alba, Centifolia, and Mosses, and represent the hybrid groups that prevailed in European gardens prior to the widespread trade of Rosa chinensis in the eighteenth century. They are typically very fragrant and extremely cold-hardy (USDA zones 3-5). European roses tend to do better in cooler zones and may suffer when planted in zones 7 and higher. Also, contrary to common belief, the old European garden roses are not as disease-resistant as some report.






Hardy Repeat-Blooming Old Roses

As can be seen, hardy old garden roses offer just about everything a gardener could ask for in a rose: extreme winter-hardiness, excellent tolerance to disease, exquisite blooms, and outstanding fragrance. The one thing that is lacking is recurrent bloom throughout the summer. Gardeners wanting to combine all of the qualities mentioned above with rebloom capabilities need only to look toward the Bourbons, Portlands, and Hybrid Perpetuals.



Hybrid Perpetual

Modern Roses

The modern age of rose growing began officially when a new class of rose was developed from a tea/hybrid perpetual cross. The year was 1867, the hybridzer was Jean-Baptiste Guillot, the rose was 'La France,' and the class that was born was the hybrid tea. The most popular roses sold and the ones that have the most name recognition in the modern rose class are the hybrid tea, floribunda, and grandiflora.

Hybrid Tea




Shrub Roses

This class of rose is a "catch all" for roses that do not fit well in other classes. This "duke's mixture" of a class includes everything from hybrid rugosas developed in the late 1800s, to hybrid musks developed in the 1900s, to floribundas and the latest and newest introductions in landscape roses.

"Shrub rose" may be a poor choice of words, and as a result the term is largely artificial because all roses are in fact shrubs –just as is a lilac or a forsythia. "Shrub," as applied to roses, is more a case of definition by usage rather than by description.

Shrub roses are noted for their well-rounded shape, their exceptional winter hardiness, and their better than average disease resistance.

Today's gardeners are finding the task of maintaining quality roses a bit easier with the introduction of many shrub roses into the market. Shrub roses are also very free-flowering, producing a good supply of fragrant flowers all summer. Shrub roses are bred and selected for planting "outside" the rose garden, blending well into a mixed border of flowers, as landscape hedges, and into the landscape at large.

One may find reference to both old and modern shrub roses. Both classes have merit. The old shrub roses are tall (6+ feet) and need a lot of space. They are also extremely hardy and pest-resistant. Modern shrub roses tend to be more compact while still maintaining the qualities you would find in older shrub roses. Modern shrub roses can be found carrying class names and terms such as "English Garden Roses," "David Austin Roses," "Sub-Zero Roses," "Dr. Buck Roses," "Kordesii Roses," "Canadian Explorer Roses," "Parkland Roses," "Meidiland Roses," "Hybrid Rugosa," and "Hybrid Musk."

Hybrid Rugosa

Hybrid Musk

Roses with Long Canes

David Austin Roses

Dr. Griffith
Buck Roses

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