One of the most popular and versatile of all the flowering shrubs. There are literally hundreds of different rose varieties and cultivars available, which can be selected to suit virtually any sunny garden situation. The various types are suitable for growing as either specimen plants, container shrubs, border shrubs, hedges or as climbers for training up walls, pergolas and arches.
Botanical Name: Rosa
Common Names: Rose
Foliage: Deciduous or semi-evergreen, simple broad or compound pinnate, green leaves.
Flowers: Small, large or medium sized, showy flowers, often followed by bright orange, red or purple hips. Flowers can be single, semi-double or double. A wide range of colours are available, according to variety.
Flowering Period: June to late autumn.
Soil: Moist but well-drained, fertile soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Any pH.
Conditions: Best in full sun. Can be grown in a south, east or west-facing aspect, in either a sheltered or exposed location.
Habit: Bushy, rambling or climbing.
Origin: Northern hemisphere.
Hardiness: Hardy in most regions of the UK.
Most varieties enjoy a rich medium loam, in an open sunny situation. Very few will tollerate shade.
Plant out bare root plants in late autumn. Container grown plants can be planted at any reasonable time. To prevent the build-up of harmful soil organisms and diseases, choose ground that has not grown roses in recent years.
Plant in an open sunny position, in any good garden soil, so long as it is not waterlogged in winter or too dry in summer. Roses are vigorous hungry feeders so incorporate plenty of well rotted manure or compost to the soil before planting and apply a small amount of granular rose fertiliser to the planting hole.
Although modern hybrid roses can be demanding shrubs, they are well worth the effort involved, due to their long flowering season and lovely sweet fragrance - though many modern cultivars have now lost their rich scents due to extensive breeding.
Tall stemmed varieties make excellent cut flowers.
Note: most rose stems have large sharp thorns, so wear stout gloves and protective clothing when handling and pruning.
Water well during a dry weather in spring and summer. Mulch with organic matter in spring and apply a top dressing of rose fertiliser in spring and then again in summer.
Unless the flower heads need to be left to produce decorative hips, prune off the dead flowers to save the plant's energy, and keep the shrub tidy. Cutting back to just above a healthy bud to prevent die back. Dead heading hybrid tea and floribunda types will actually encourage them to form a second flush of flowers.
With the exception of wild species and older shrub roses, most modern rose cultivars need to be pruned on an annual basis to keep the plants vigorous and producing good quality, plentiful flowers.
Pruning can be carried out at any time from autumn to early spring, although most gardeners prefer part-reduction in autumn to prevent wind rock and then a full prune around mid February (March in colder regions), just as the buds are starting to break. Most roses flower on new emerging shoots, so the general rule is to cut back the main stems to encourage the plant to produce lots of fresh flowering side shoots.
Always prune roses using a sharp pair of secateurs, making a clean cut just above an outward-facing bud. If the pruning tool is not sharp it can easily tear the bark, leaving a ragged cut, through which diseases can enter.
The amount of pruning varies with the type and variety, for example:
Hybrid teas - for newly planted bushes, remove any weak or damaged stems and prune back all the main strong stems to 4-6 buds, cutting just above an outwards-pointing bud. The idea is to create a 'V' shaped bush with an open centre to allow good air flow. Prune in the same way the following year and repeat annually. Once the bush is 3-4 years old, remove some of the older (brown) branches and thin out any crossing or congested stems.
Floribunda - prune in a similar way to hybrid tea roses, but not quite so low in subsequent years, leaving the main stems about 1ft (30cm) high.
Dwarf Roses and Miniatures - these compact plants don't require as much pruning apart from the removal of dead or weak stems in March. Give newly planted shrubs a light trim, if needed. Then in subsequent years prune the really small cultivars as for hybrid teas, and the more vigorous ones (over 1ft (30cm)), as for floribunda.
Shrub & Species Roses - in general most species roses and old fashioned shrub roses require very little pruning, except to keep the plants tidy and within bounds. Species and shrub roses generally flower on mature stems, which should be allowed to grow naturally. Remove any dead or crossing wood and trim away dead or damaged shoot tips in late winter/spring. Plants that have been be grown as a hedge can be trimmed back by as much as one third in early spring to keep them neat and tidy.
Climbing roses - there are several distinct groups of climbers, which each need slightly different pruning techniques, so always check the plant label first. For most climbers, this means trimming the main shoots back by a third or more to a new bud. Remove and dead and damaged shoots. Very old stems can also be removed once they are exhausted and flowering poorly. Tie in new shoots to the supports as they grow.
Rambling roses - ramblers should be pruned immediately after flowering, in late summer. Cut out the very old and gnarled stems to ground level and train in new shoots to replace them. Shorten side shoots by about two-thirds.
Grafted plants - suckers need be removed on grafted roses or else the sucker will dominate the plant, taking over as the main growth. You can identify suckers from their more vigorous growth and from where they appear below the graft joint. They should be promptly removed by scraping the soil away at the base and pulling them off at the point of origin, wearing stout thick gloves.
Young shoots are highly susceptible to greenfly (aphid) attack, so wash these off as soon as you see them. Caterpillars, leaf-rolling sawfly, leaf-cutter bee, capsid bug and froghopper (cuckoo spit) can also be a problem.
The leaves can be affected by black spot, grey mould, powdery mildew and rust. Remove and destroy any affected leaves. If black spot is a problem, try planting a resistant strain.
Species can be increased by seed or by hardwood cuttings in autumn. Cultivars should be propagated by budding or grafting.
There are many different types of roses, with thousands of varieties and cultivars to choose from in garden centres. However, if your serious about roses then it is probably best to visit a specialist dealer.
Species (or wild) roses generally bear their blooms in one flush in summer, followed by colourful hips in autumn. See also climbing species roses.
Rosa moyesii 'Geranium' is an excellent species variety with scented, flat, blood-red flowers in summer. Eventual height to about 8ft (2.5m). Available at David Austin Roses.
Rosa glauca (Red Leaf Rose) is a good choice for hedging as it quickly forms a dense thorny thicket that will stand on its own or happily scramble through other plants in a mixed hedgerow. Purple-grey leaves and small single pink flowers, followed by rose hips in autumn. Tough and easy to grow. Eventual height and spread to 6ft (1.8m). For sale at Thompson & Morgan.
Rose rugosa 'Alba' (White Japanese Rose) a vigorous, medium-sized rose variety that bears fragrant, cup-shaped white flowers from July to September, which open from pale pink buds, followed by orange-red rose hips. The glossy green foliage turn rich yellow in autumn. Excellent for hedging. Height and spread to 5ft (1.5m). For sale at Crocus.
Rose rugosa 'Rubra' (Red Japanese Rose) bears 5 petalled, cup-shaped, cerise pink fragrant flowers, with yellow centres, from July to September, followed by scarlet red rose hips. Height and spread to 5ft (1.5m). For sale at Van Meuwen.
This group includes many old historic roses as well as modern hybrids. Easy to grow and maintain, requiring very little pruning. The plants are often larger and are best grown as large shrubs and not as small bushes.
Rose Apricot (Old English Shrub) is an apricot flowered double with good fragrance, superb disease resistance and long repeat flowering. For sale at You Garden. Other strains include: 'Blush White', 'Rose Red', 'Rose Pink' and 'Rose Yellow'.
Rose 'Easy Elegance Macys Pride' is a delightful shrub rose with tight, lemon-yellow buds that open to creamy white blooms, later fading to a slight pink. Easy Elegance roses are hardy and disease-resistant plants, grown on their own roots. Specially bred to be easy to grow and low maintenance. Flowers from June to end September. Height to 39in (1m), spread to 2ft (60cm). Available from Thompson & Morgan.
Rose 'Easy Elegance Salmon Impressionist' is a free-flowering variety that produces stunning salmon-pink blooms. Good cut flower. Height to 39in (1m), spread to 2ft (60cm). For sale at Van Meuwen. Other Easy Elegance varieties include: 'Snowdrift', 'Yellow Brick' and 'Yellow Submarine'.
Rose 'Eye of the Tiger' bears semi-double vibrant yellow flowers with deep burnt-orange centres. Vigorous yet compact and disease resistant. Height and spread to 3ft (90cm). For sale at Van Meuwen.
Rose 'Marieken' is a hardy, red-stemmed shrub rose with healthy, deep green, glossy leaves. The unscented blooms are a fabulous brick-red colour, blooming continuously from June through to October. Available from Thompson & Morgan.
Rose 'Mellgold' produces lightly fragranced, golden yellow, semi-double blooms from early summer through to autumn. Available from Thompson & Morgan.
Rose 'Pink Pins' a hardy shrub rose that produces masses of bright pink blooms. For sale at Thompson & Morgan.
Rose 'Yellow Fairy' is a scentless, modern shrub rose, with a neat and bushy habit and glossy green foliage. It bears small, yellow semi-double blooms in flushes throughout the season. Height and spread: 1m (39). Available from Thompson & Morgan.
Hybrid tea roses (large-flowered roses) produce large fully-double flowers that are usually carried in small groups at the stem tips. They generally flower in flushes from early summer until the frosts.
Rosa 'Peace' is a vigorous hybrid tea rose with large scented, shapely yellow flowers tinged with pink. Height to 6ft (1.8m), spread to 3ft (90cm). For sale at Crocus.
Rose 'Breeder's Choice Gold' is a stunning golden yellow rose with exquisitely formed blooms that make superb cut flowers. Perfect as a feature plant in mixed borders or as part of an established rose garden. Available from Thompson & Morgan. Other cultivars include: 'Breeder's Choice Pink' and 'Breeder's Choice Red'.
Rose 'Goldstar' bears rich, fragrant, yellow double blooms from late spring right through to autumn. Available from Thompson & Morgan.
Rose 'Kimono' is a hardy shrub with gorgeous double pink roses right through until the first frosts. Low maintenance. Good as cut flowers. Available from Thompson & Morgan.
Rose 'Peace' one of the most popular Rose of all time, with large showy, double primrose-yellow flowers that fade to blush-pink at the tips. Repeat-flowering, disease resistant and easy to grow. (RHS Award of Garden Merit). For sale at Crocus.
Rose 'Sunny Sky' (Rose of the Year 2016) is a fruity-scented rose that produces honey yellow blooms that blend towards soft apricot-pink. Strong disease resistance and easy-to-grow. Height to 4ft (1.2m).
Rose Whisky Mac is a highly popular variety with bronze buds that open to reveal highly scented rich-apricot blooms right through the season. Height to 30in (80cm). For sale at Gardening Express.
Repeat flowering shrub roses with large clusters of medium-sized, strongly scented flowers, in a good range of colours (usually in delicate hues).
Rose 'Buff Beauty' a Hybrid Musk Rose with double yellow/buff blooms that change colour as they age to an apricot colour, and then to primrose as they mature. Available from Thompson & Morgan.
Floribunda roses (cluster-flowered roses) are bushy plants with multi-branched flower clusters at tip of the stems. The flowers are smaller than Hybrid teas, in either single or double forms, but they carry many more blooms. Floribunda roses flower almost continuously throughout the summer. Ideal for bedding schemes.
Rosa 'Iceberg' is a lovely floribunda rose that produces sprays of white double flowers throughout summer and autumn. Height to 2.5ft (75cm), spread to 2ft (60cm). For sale at Crocus.
Rose 'Amber Queen' is a compact, light yellow/orange, double flowered floribunda. Height to 20in (50cm). Available from Thompson & Morgan.
Rose 'Arthur Bell' bears scented yellow double flowers all summer. Height and spread to 39in (100cm). For sale at Crocus.
Rose 'Blue Eyes' produces almost peony-like fragrant blooms that blend from white to a purple centre. Good disease resistance and a short bushy habit that is well suited to either containers or borders. Height to 47in (120cm), spread to 35in (90cm). For sale at Van Meuwen.
Rose 'Blue for You' is a neat compact floribunda with stunning semi-double, lilac blue blooms over a long period. Height to 31in (80cm), spread to 26in (65cm). Available from Thompson & Morgan.
Rose 'Charisma' is a hardy robust rose with good disease resistance that produces fragrant deep red blooms that fade to a deep pink. For sale at Van Meuwen.
Rose 'Ebb Tide' is a compact shrub with beautiful plum/purple coloured blooms throughout summer that are heavily fragrance. Height and spread to 30in (75cm). For sale at Van Meuwen.
Rose 'Eyes for You' is a compact shrubs that produces abundant of clusters of large, blousy pale pink or lilac blooms with a deep purple blotched centre, flowering right through summer and into autumn. Ideal for growing in a pot or container." For sale at You Garden.
Rose 'For Your Eyes Only' is a repeat flowering floribunda rose with light fragrance, with flowers in rich sunset shades, including pink peach and apricot. For sale at Gardening Express.
Rose 'Iceberg' is a pretty long flowering rose that produces clusters of medium-sized, lightly double, pure-white flowers, which contrasts well with its dark-green, glossy foliage. Flowers from May to September. Height and spread to 3ft (90cm). For sale at Crocus.
Rose 'Lucky!' is an upright, bushy floribunda that flowers continuously from early summer through to late autumn. Bearing clusters of semi-double, lightly scented, mauve-pink flowers with charming rippled edges. Available from Thompson & Morgan.
Rose 'Melrose' a delightful Floribunda variety with striking bright pink flowers from late spring through to late autumn. Available from Thompson & Morgan.
Rose 'Novalis' is a floribunda rose which produces large clusters of cupped lilac blooms. It is hardy, more robust and more disease resistant than many other roses and one of the easiest types to grow. Height to 3ft (90cm) or more. For sale at You Garden.
Rose 'Orange Sensation' produces large, semi-double blooms in vivid orange. A strong growing Floribunda that has a delicately fragrance flowers from early summer into autumn. Available from Thompson & Morgan.
Rose 'Sweet Honey' (Rose of the year for 2020) is a repeat flowering cultivar that bears clusters of shapely, lightly scented, soft apricot blooms throughout the summer. For sale at Crocus.
Rose 'Queen Elizabeth' is a popular floribunda rose bearing shapely, fragrant clear pink, double blooms over a long period. For sale at Crocus.
Rose You're Beautiful is a highly floriferous Floribunda that possesses excellent flower colour shape and form as well as general all-round good health and resistance to disease. For sale at Gardening Express.
These are hardy compact repeat flowering shrubs, with large clusters of single to double flowers from summer to autumn.
Rose Ballerina bears hydrangea-like clusters of tiny slightly scented white-centred light pink flowers from July to September. Lightly fragrant. Height to 3ft (1m). For sale at Gardening Express.
Rose 'Red Fairy' is an attractive red Polyantha rose that produces large clusters of scarlet blooms throughout the summer. Neat and compact with good resistance to disease. Height to 30in (75cm), spread to 3ft (1m). Available from Thompson & Morgan.
Rose 'The Fairy' is a popular variety that bears abundant sprays of small but fully double, pale pink, scentless blooms.For sale at Gardening Express.
Rose 'White Fairy' bears elegant white fully double blooms with an old fashioned, wide open form that shows off its many layers of petals. Available from Thompson & Morgan.
These are basically hybrid tea or floribunda roses that have been purposely trained to grow at the top of a single, tall stem. They make good specimen plants or can be used for adding height to borders or other planting schemes.
A group of low growing trailing and spreading flowering plants.
Rose 'Sea Foam' is a vigorous, cascading-style rose suitable for use as a fragrant ground cover or flowering hedge, or for training against a wall. White fragrant double blooms. Height 39in (1m), spread 5ft (1.5m). Available from Thompson & Morgan.
Rose Avon a neat compact shrub that bears blush pink blooms which open to white flowers. For sale at Gardening Express.
Rose Fairy King is an old fashioned polyantha floribunda variety growing no more than 3ft tall but with a spread of around 4ft. Individually small flowers with double petals in large clusters. For sale at Gardening Express.
Rose Flower Carpet Amber bears rich egg-yolk amber yellow flowers with a mild fragrance and gently ruffled blooms. Long flowering and disease resistant. Height to 32in (80cm), spread to 40in (100cm). Easy-to-grow. Available at Gardening Express. Other Flower Carpet varieties include: 'Coral', 'Gold', 'Pink', 'Red Velvet', 'Scarlet', 'Sunset' and 'White'. Available at You Garden.
Small compact shrubs bearing sprays of tiny flowers in summer and autumn. They are best grown outdoors in plenty of light, in patio containers or at the edges of beds and borders. Height from 6 to 18in (15 to 45cm).
Rose 'Cicero' is a dwarf plant with rich-green, glossy oval leaves, bearing clusters of pale pink flowers throughout summer and into autumn. Suitable for patio containers or in a group in the flower border. Available from Thompson & Morgan.
Rose 'Classic' is free flowering and colourful rose with showy double blooms and healthy, dark green foliage. Suitable as a house plant on a sunny windowsill. Available from Thompson & Morgan.
Rose multiflora nana perpetual 'Garden Party' is a lightly-scented mini rose, available in shades of pink, rose and white. Suitable for bedding, edging and containers. Easily grown from seed. Available from Thompson & Morgan.
Rose 'Royal Prince' bears deep-red blooms each with a ring of prominent golden stamens and a strong perfume. Flowering repeatedly throughout summer and into autumn. Vigorous habit and good disease resistance . For sale at You Garden.
Climbing roses have long thick stems, which can easily be trained over arches, pergolas, walls and other supports. The most useful climbing varieties are the repeat-flowering types, which usually bloom right through the summer. In general climbers have stiffer stems than ramblers, so are much easier to train. They are not natural climbers so will need tying-in to supports.
Rose banksiae var. banksiae (white banksian rose) is a vigorous climbing species rose that produces long, virtually thornless stems. For sale at Crocus.
Rose 'Climbing Masquerade' an unusual climbing rose that carries double blooms in three different shades at the same time. Starting yellow and maturing through tones of soft pink to a deep raspberry red colour. Available from Thompson & Morgan.
Rose 'Compassion' is a vigorous, reliable and easy to grow, classic climber that bears pretty, fragrant apricot-pink blooms complimented by deep-red stems and glossy leaves. Repeat flowering and reliably throughout the summer months (May-Sept). RHS Award of Garden Merit. Supported height to 4.5m, spread to 2.5m. For sale at You Garden.
Rose 'Dublin Bay' is a classic, repeat flowering, deep red climber with good fragrance. RHS Award of Garden Merit. For sale at You Garden.
Rosa Glauca rubrifolia (Red Leaved Rose) is a traditional wild climbing rose that bears pretty pale pink single flowers throughout summer and into autumn, followed by attractive bright red hips. Ideal for a wildlife or cottage-style garden. For sale at Gardening Express.
Rose 'Eden Rose 88' is a vigorous, yet not overpowering climbing Rose with creamy coloured blooms, suffused with a rich pink. Available from Thompson & Morgan.
Rosa 'Madame Alfred Carriere' is an old variety with fragrant double white blooms, flushed pink. For sale at Crocus.
Rose 'Gloire de Dijon' is a fragrant vigorous climbing rose with double, creamy/buff flowers. Supported height to 26ft (8m). Available from Thompson & Morgan
Rose 'Golden Showers' (RHS AGM variety) a repeat flowering variety which produces long lasting displays of pretty, clear yellow, cup shaped flowers. Ideal for smaller spaces. Supported height to 10ft (3m), spread 6ft (2m). For sale at Crocus.
Rose Guinee is a highly fragrant, deep velvety-red climbing Hybrid Tea. A vigorous grower that will fill a gap quickly. Suitable for cut flowers. Supported height up to 12ft (4m). For sale at Gardening Express.
Rose Handel bears large, highly scented, semi-double, silvery-white flowers with bright pink and red markings on the petal edges, which contrast well with its dark stems and glossy dark green foliage. For sale at Gardening Express.
Rose 'Laura Ford' is a compact climbing rose which bears small, deep yellow, double flowers that contrast well against its glossy, dark green foliage. Flowers throughout the summer. Available from Thompson & Morgan.
Rose 'Love Knot' is a compact climbing rose that makes a superb patio climber. Shapely, scarlet-red double blooms are borne throughout summer against a backdrop of small, glossy green leaves. Climbing to about 3-4m tall, it can be pruned to any size and is perfect for walls, arches, pergolas or fences. For sale at You Garden.
Rosa 'New Dawn' is a repeat flowering modern climbing rose with light pink blooms in summer. For sale at Crocus.
Rose 'Paul's Scarlet' a vigorous climber with cup shaped, semi double scented summer flowers and glossy green foliage. Height and spread: 3m (10'). For sale at Crocus.
Rose 'Scent from Heaven' is a highly fragrant climbing rose with dark-green foliage that contrasts beautifully with the stunning semi-double, salmon-pink-orange flowers. Supported height to 3.6m. For sale at Crocus.
Rose 'Thats Jazz' is a strong climber that bears deep velvety red fragrant flowers throughout summer and well into autumn. Available from Thompson & Morgan.
Climbing Rose 'Zephirine Drouhin' is one of very few almost thornless climbing roses available. Producing sweetly scented cerise-pink blooms over a long period in summer, which stand out wonderfully against the mid-green foliage. Height to 2.5m. For sale at You Garden.
Ramblers are best planted against tall open supports, trees and bushes but preferably not against solid walls where the lack of air circulation can encourage mildew. They tend not to flower as well as climbers, producing one large flush of flowers in early summer, and the blooms are usually smaller.
Rose 'AlbÃ©ric Barbier' is a vigorous rambling rose that produces clusters of lemon-white, double blooms with a gentle perfume. Repeat flowering, blooming in midsummer often with a second flush. Available from Thompson & Morgan.
Rose 'American Pillar' is a vigorous rambling rose whose long stems bear glossy foliage and large sprays of 5cm wide, single, white-eyed, deep pink flowers in mid-summer. Supported height up to 16ft (5m)l. For sale at Van Meuwen.
Rose banksiae 'Lutea' (Yellow Banksian Rose) is a yellow flowering rambling rose that has the advantage of being completely thornless. For sale at Crocus.
Rose 'Bobbie James' is a vigorous rambling variety with long, arching branches covered with large clusters of small, semi-double white flowers in summer. Available from Thompson & Morgan.
Rose filipes 'Kiftsgate' is a vigorous rambler with long arching, thorny, stems. Bearing clusters of single, white flowers with a strong musk fragrance, from July to the end of September. Available from Thompson & Morgan.
Rose 'Rambling Rector' is a cottage garden style favourite that is simply smothered from top to bottom in clusters of single, white flowers, from July to September. Tolerant of shade and poor soils. RHS Award of Garden Merit." For sale at Crocus.