Roses are one of the broadest groups of plants, with lots of different types that can confuse new and experienced gardeners alike.
Each type has its benefits, so you’ll find it easy to find roses to grow in different spots, whether it’s in a border, over a garden arch or in pots and containers.
Get to grips with the different types of roses to grow, below.
Hybrid tea roses were first created by crossing robust, vigorous hybrid perpetuals with the more tender, long-flowering tea roses. The result was the modern hybrid tea rose, which have large flowers that are held alone on straight stems. The flowers have a ‘pointed’ appearance. Most are fragranced and they’re available in all colours except blue. Repeat-flowering and an open growth habit. Ideal for cut flowers.
Polyanthas are small shrub roses, bearing clusters of small flowers. They have bushy growth and are robust, repeat flowerers. Most have some fragrance. Their relatively compact shape makes them great for edging borders.
Floribunda roses are the result of crossing hybrid tea and polyantha roses. They bear lots of flowers held in clusters and are generally bushier in form. Considered hardier and more resistant to disease than hybrid teas. Wide range of flower colours, though many have no scent. Repeat-flowering.
Patio roses are those that have been bred specifically to produce plants that are particularly compact, so they’re ideal for growing in containers. Like polyanthas, they have bushy growth and clusters of small flowers. Repeat-flowering, often fragranced blooms.
As the name suggests, ground cover roses are generally wider than they are tall, though they can vary in size, from low-growers like ‘Partridge’ to larger, bushier varieties like ‘Raubritter’. Most are repeat-flowering, with lots of small flowers produced. Some are fragranced, some not. Small but tough plants.
A number of factors separate climbing roses from ramblers. First they have more structured, less vigorous growth, flower on growth produced in the current year and produce fewer but larger blooms. Some are repeat-flowering, in particular the newer varieties. Most are fragranced and they can be broken down in to separate types, e.g. climbing Hybrid Teas.
Rambling roses are much more vigorous than climbers, usually providing a single, magnificent flush of smaller flowers in June and July. To get more flowers go for a repeat-flowering rambler. They flower on the previous year’s growth, so need pruning straight after flowering, with the old stems being cut right back. Many are fragrant and they’re great for covering pergolas.
Damask roses are an old grouping, considered some of the best for fragrance – indeed, they’re still grown commercially for rose oil and to make rose water. These shrub roses are split into two groups – Summer Damasks that are larger, have white to pink flowers and bloom once a year – and Autumn Damasks that are more compact, will repeat flower and have white, pink or deep pink-purple flowers.
Gallicas are arguably the oldest garden roses. They’re relatively short, bushy roses, with double flowers that have a distinctively ruffled appearance. Blooms are usually pink, purple or red. Many are strongly perfumed and all make lovely border roses.
These old roses are considered to be some of the toughest you can grow. Flowers are always white or pale pink, set against characteristic grey-green leaves. Highly disease-resistant and require little pruning. Can be grown in partial shade.
Centifolias are characterised by their large, almost spherical flowers that are highly scented. Sometimes referred to as the Provence rose, owing to their cultivation in the region for the production of rose oil. They’re shrub roses with an open growth habit. Flowers range in colour from white through to rich pink.