White roses work well within a range of planting styles and are particularly striking when used in ‘white-themed’ colour schemes. Many have a rich fragrance.
Choose from shrub roses, rambling and climbing rose and small patio roses, to suit your planting needs. Bear in mind that, with regular deadheading, most roses – with the exception of rambling roses – are repeat-flowering, blooming throughout summer and into autumn. Take this into account when siting your rose, as it will flower among different plants throughout the season.
- Plants with white flowers
- How to grow white umbellifers (video)
- How to create a white-themed border (video)
Discover some of the best white roses to grow, below.
Rosa ‘Yvonne Rabier’ is a dwarf polyantha rose, meaning it’s compact, bushy and repeat-flowering. It has an excellent fragrance. Use it to edge borders and paths, or plant it in a large container for the patio.
Height x spread: 120cm x 90cm
Climbing rose ‘Claire Austin’ has creamy-white, goblet-shaped flowers with a complex aroma with notes of myrrh, vanilla and meadowsweet. Vigorous, deep-green foliage serves as a contrasting foil to the pale blooms.
H x S: 2.5m x 150cm
‘Rambling Rector’ is a vigorous rambling rose with pure white, semi-double blooms with a rich fragrance, borne in large clusters. It’s a great choice for training over a large arch, against a wall or through a tree. The RHS has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
H x S: 6m x 2m
Named after the enchanting Venetian in Shakespeare’s Othello, ‘Desdemona’ is a gorgeous shrub rose with fragrant white blooms with a hint of pink. This bushy, repeat-flowering rose can be grown in borders or large containers.
H x S: 1m x 1m
‘Little White Pet’
‘Little White Pet’ is a compact shrub rose with fully double flowers. It’s a bushy, spreading rose which works as well in containers as it does as an informal flowering hedge.
H x S: 60cm x 60cm
As with many floribunda roses, ‘Iceberg’ has very little scent, but it more than makes up for this in ‘flower power’. Fabulous clusters of creamy-white flowers are borne for months on end from early summer.
H x S: 1.2m x 90cm
‘Princess of Wales’
Like ‘Iceberg’, ‘Princess of Wales’ is a floribunda rose, except this variety is more compact and has slightly fuller blooms with a light fragrance. It has darker, glossier foliage than ‘Iceberg’.
H x S: 90cm x 60cm
‘Félicité Perpétue’ is an exquisite old variety of rambling rose, with creamy-white, pompon-shaped flowers. A magnificent flush of blooms with a light, primrose fragrance, is produced in mid-July, set against a backdrop of semi-evergreen foliage.
H x S: 8m x 4m
Feeding and watering your roses
Mulch roses in spring and autumn with well-rotted stable manure, compost or chipped bark, but keep it clear of your rose’s stems. Feed in spring and again in mid-summer after the first flush of flowers. Use a feed containing potash and magnesium, for better blooms. Prevent mildew by watering regularly, directing your hose or watering can at the base of the plants, especially right after planting and in dry spells.