Polyantha rose 'Little White Pet' bearing many small white flowers

Rose types explained

We take you through the different types of roses, including ramblers and floribundas.

Roses are one of the broadest groups of plants, with lots of different types that can confuse new and experienced gardeners alike.

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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.

Want to find out more about using roses in your garden? Discover rose planting combinations, roses for cut flowers and these five ways to grow better roses.

Get to grips with the different types of roses to grow, below.

Roses are one of the broadest groups of plants, with lots of different types that can confuse new and experienced gardeners alike.

Hybrid tea

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.

Peach coloured hybrid tea rose 'Lynda Bellingham'
Peach coloured hybrid tea rose ‘Lynda Bellingham’

Polyantha

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.

Polyantha rose 'Little White Pet' bearing many small white flowers
Polyantha rose ‘Little White Pet’ bearing many small white flowers

Floribunda

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.

Stunning red-purple blooms of floribunda rose 'Hot Chocolate'
Stunning red-purple blooms of floribunda rose ‘Hot Chocolate’

Patio

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.

Pink blooms of patio rose 'Letchworth Centenary'
Pink blooms of patio rose ‘Letchworth Centenary’

Ground cover

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.

Maroon-flowering ground cover rose 'Suffolk' in a planter with clematis
Maroon-flowering ground cover rose ‘Suffolk’ in a planter with clematis

Climbing

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.

Double, white blooms of climbing rose 'Claire Austin'
Double, white blooms of climbing rose ‘Claire Austin’

Rambling

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.

A magenta rambling rose growing over an arch
A magenta rambling rose growing over an arch

Damask

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.

Pink blooms of damask rose 'Le Ville de Bruxelles' (photo credit: Getty Images)
Pink blooms of damask rose ‘Le Ville de Bruxelles’ (photo credit: Getty Images)

Gallica

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.

Dark and light pink rose gallica 'Versicolor'
Dark and light pink rose gallica ‘Versicolor’

Alba

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.

Creamy rose 'Alba Maxima' (photo credit: Getty images)
Creamy rose ‘Alba Maxima’ (photo credit: Getty images)

Centifolia

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.

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Large, pink bloom of centifolia rose 'Chapeau de Nopal' (photo credit: Getty Images)
Large, pink bloom of centifolia rose ‘Chapeau de Nopal’ (photo credit: Getty Images)
Broad, red rosehips of <em>Rosa rugosa</em
Broad, red rosehips of Rosa rugosa

Roses for hips