White strawberry flowers

Plant families: Rosaceae

Find out about the Rosaceae family, which includes some of our most beautiful garden plants and delicious fruits.

Rosaceae, the rose family, is one of the most important plant families in the world, with more than 3,000 members. It comprises many of our best-loved garden plants and includes all types of plant from trees to alpines, including roses, of course, plus geum, alchemilla and potentilla. It also includes many fruits, such as apples, strawberries, raspberries, as well as almonds. Some species, especially roses, have scented flowers.

Discover 10 beautiful roses to grow.

Rosaceae, the rose family, is one of the most important plant families in the world, with more than 3,000 members. It comprises many of our best-loved garden plants and includes all types of plant from trees to alpines, including roses, of course, plus geum, alchemilla and potentilla. It also includes many fruits, such as apples, strawberries, raspberries, as well as almonds. Some species, especially roses, have scented flowers.

Advertisement

Discover 10 beautiful roses to grow.

The family is known for its beautiful and relatively simple flowers. Most have five petals, with a cluster of stamens at the centre. Over the years, breeders have created double blooms on plants such as roses and flowering cherries. Some members of the family, including sanguisorba, don’t have any petals at all.

Rosaceae thrive in a range of conditions, but many hail from temperate climates. Many are very attractive to wildlife – the flower heads attract many beneficial insects, while birds enjoy the fruits.

There is a member of the Rosaceae family to suit every garden. Here are some of the key plants in the family.

Many popular garden plants are part of the Rosaceae family, including roses, of course, plus geum, alchemilla and potentilla. It also includes many fruits.

Rose

There are thousands of beautiful roses to choose from, from compact patio roses and ground cover types to gorgeous shrub roses and climbers and ramblers. Confused by the different rose types? We explain the different types of rose.

Pink rose 'Annick'
Pink rose ‘Annick’

Apple

Apples (malus) originated in central Asia and have been cultivated for thousands of years for their delicious fruits. Crab apples in particular bear beautiful blossoms in spring. Read our essential apple care guide.

Pink-white blossom of apple 'Katherine'
Pink-white blossom of apple ‘Katherine’

Cherries, almonds, plums

The Prunus genus includes cherries, almonds and plums, grown for their fruits; ornamental varieties are grown for their beautiful blossom. Watch our video guide to planting a cherry tree.

Pink-white blossom of cherry 'Spire'
Pink-white blossom of cherry ‘Spire’

Strawberry

Strawberries aren’t actually the fruits of the plant – the pips are the real fruits. They range from tiny alpine types to delicious large, plump and juicy varieties – find out more in our Strawberry types explained feature. Find out how to plant a strawberry bed and discover how to harvest strawberries all summer.

Strawberry plants bearing flowers and fruit
Strawberry plants bearing flowers and fruit

Geum

Geums are popular hardy perennials that can flower from late spring and well into summer. They have semi-evergreen foliage and offer flowers usually of yellow, orange and red. Discover some of the best geums to grow and find out all you need to know about growing geums in our geum Grow Guide.

Pink geum 'Roger's Rebellion'
Pink geum ‘Roger’s Rebellion’

Raspberry

Raspberries are one of the joys of summer – the insignificant flowers become juicy, succulent fruits. Choose both summer – and autumn-fruiting raspberries and you’ll have rich pickings from late June into October. Find out how to grow raspberries in our raspberry Grow Guide.

Raspberries ripening on their canes
Raspberries ripening on their canes

Alchemilla

Alchemilla mollis (lady’s mantle) bears small, frothy lime-green summer flowers and neatly pleated apple-green, fan-shaped leaves. Alchemilla venosa has finely textured, blue-green foliage and clusters of tiny yellow-green flowers in summer. They are useful grown as ground cover in shade or beneath roses and self-seed freely.

Yellow-green flowers of lady's mantle 'Gold Strike'
Yellow-green flowers of lady’s mantle ‘Gold Strike’

Ornamental quince

The ornamental quince, chaenomeles, is invaluable for early spring colour when its bright orange, red or pink flowers stud the bare, thorny stems for weeks. The flowers often mature into rounded green or yellow quinces that can be made into a delicious jelly. It can be grown in any soil and trained up a shady wall.

Red-pink ornamental quince flowers on bare stems
Red-pink ornamental quince flowers on bare stems

Sanguisorba

Sanguisorba (burnet) are hardy, herbaceous perennials with unusual oval flowers that don’t have any petals to speak of. They are extremely attractive to bees. In the wild they can be found growing in damp grasslands and meadows, and along the edges of lakes and rivers, so they prefer moist soil in full sun or partial shade.

Advertisement
Magenta/pink oval flowerheads of burnet
Magenta/pink oval flowerheads of burnet
Pale-salmon potentilla flowers
Pale-salmon potentilla flowers

More members of the Rosaceae family

  • Sorbus (rowan) – trees that are ideal for small gardens, with flowers in spring, finely cut leaves and beautiful berries.
  • Amelanchier – also trees that are excellent for small gardens, with beautiful blossom in spring and excellent autumn colour.
  • Cotoneaster – attractive evergreens that can be trained up a wall. Small white flowers in spring are followed by attractive berries.
  • Potentilla (cinquefoil, pictured above) – perennials with pretty, strawberry-like flowers from spring to midsummer.
  • Cratageus (hawthorn) – trees that are grown for their pretty blossom in a range of shades from white to dark pink – the tiny flowers look like roses in miniature.

Rosaceae, the rose family, is one of the most important plant families in the world, with more than 3,000 members. It comprises many of our best-loved garden plants and includes all types of plant from trees to alpines, including roses, of course, plus geum, alchemilla and potentilla. It also includes many fruits, such as apples, strawberries, raspberries, as well as almonds. Some species, especially roses, have scented flowers.

Discover 10 beautiful roses to grow.

This is Secret Garden content

This content is exclusive to subscribers. If you are not a subscriber you can access this content by subscribing to Gardeners' World.

Unlock now