Create Your Garden

Rosa (Rose)

Grow roses for their timeless beauty, exquisite fragrance, and wide range of colors and forms. They bring elegance to any garden, attract pollinators, and offer the joy of cutting fresh blooms.

Rosa, Rose, Roses, Pink Roses

Rosa, commonly known as roses, are beautiful and versatile flowering plants that come in a wide variety of colors and forms, adding elegance and fragrance to gardens and landscapes.

Rosa is a large genus encompassing hundreds of species of deciduous or semi-evergreen shrubs and climbers.

Native: Roses are native to a wide geographic range, including Asia, North America, Europe, and northwest Africa. They’ve been cultivated for thousands of years worldwide.

Description: Roses are renowned for their beauty and fragrance. They can range in size from tiny miniatures to large climbers that can reach several meters in height. Their flowers come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are usually large and showy, in colors ranging from white through yellows, pinks and reds.

Growth Habit and Size: The growth habit varies considerably, depending on the variety. Some are bushy, some trail along the ground, some climb, and others form a shrub-like shape. The size also depends on the species and can range from less than 1 foot (30 cm) for miniature roses to over 20 feet (6 meters) for climbers.

Flowers: Rose flowers are renowned for their exquisite beauty, featuring layers of soft, velvety petals in a wide range of colors, including shades of red, pink, yellow, white, and more. Their intoxicating fragrance adds an alluring charm, making them a beloved choice for bouquets, gardens, and special occasions.

Foliage: Rose foliage is typically dark green and glossy, with serrated edges. The leaves are arranged alternately along the stems and consist of multiple leaflets. Some rose varieties have more delicate and fern-like leaves, while others have thicker and more leathery leaves. The foliage provides an attractive backdrop to the stunning rose flowers.

Blooming Season: Most roses bloom in late spring to early fall, with peak blooms in early summer. Some varieties bloom only once a year, while others have recurrent blooming.

Hardiness: Roses can be hardy from USDA zones 4 through 10, depending on the variety.

Uses: Roses have a wide range of uses. They are often grown for their ornamental value in gardens and landscaping. They also have uses in perfumery, for their edible and medicinal values, and as a source of rose oil.

Pollinators: Bees are the main pollinators of roses.

Toxicity: Roses are non-toxic to humans and pets. However, care should be taken due to their thorns.

Deer and Rabbit: Deer and rabbits can cause damage to roses. They may eat the buds, leaves, and stems.

Drought: While some roses are quite drought-tolerant once established, most prefer regular watering for optimal growth.

Invasiveness: While most cultivated rose varieties are not considered invasive, some wild species can become invasive in certain regions. Examples include Rosa multiflora (Multiflora Rose) and Rosa rugosa (Rugosa Rose), which can spread rapidly and outcompete native plants. It’s important to check with local authorities before planting potentially invasive rose species.

Key Facts: Roses have been symbols of love, beauty, war, and politics. They have been used in various products like rose water, jam, jelly, rose hip syrup, etc., due to their rich vitamin C content.

Guide Information

Hardiness 4 - 10
Plant Type Climbers, Roses, Shrubs
Genus Rosa, Rosa - Shrub Rose, Rosa - English Rose, Rosa - Rambling Rose, Rosa - Hybrid Tea Rose, Rosa - Grandiflora Rose, Rosa - Groundcover Rose, Rosa - Floribunda Rose, Rosa - Climbing Rose
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 1' - 20'
(30cm - 6.1m)
Spread 1' - 20'
(30cm - 6.1m)
Maintenance Average
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Cut Flowers, Fragrant
Attracts Bees
Landscaping Ideas Patio And Containers, Arbors, Pergolas, Trellises, Beds And Borders, Ground Covers, Hedges And Screens, Edging, Small Gardens
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage
Rosa Harlow Carr (English Rose)
Rosa Golden Celebration (English Rose)
Rosa Port Sunlight (English Rose)

Main Types of Roses

Roses can be classified into several different types or classes, each with its unique characteristics. Here are the main types:

Hybrid Teas:  Hybrid Tea Roses are some of the most prized cut flowers. Undeniably beautiful, they boast large, perfectly formed, high-centered blooms on long, elegant stems. Available in an extensive range of colors, many emit a delightful fragrance.

Floribundas: These roses are known for their profuse clusters of flowers. Single to fully double, the flowers are borne in large clusters on strong stems and are produced continuously from late spring to fall.

Grandifloras: A cross between hybrid teas and floribundas, these roses blend the best traits of both, featuring the graceful blooms of the teas and the hardiness and continual blooming of the floribundas. Grandiflora roses have large, showy flowers produced on long stems, either singly or in clusters of three to five blooms.

Climbing Roses: These roses grow vertically and can cover walls, fences, trellises, and arches. Their long, arching canes produce a profusion of blooms once in late spring or early summer (Rambler Roses), or they repeat flower throughout summer and fall (Climbing Roses).

Miniature Roses: Compact and prolific bloomers, these roses are perfect for containers and small gardens. They usually have blooms that mimic those of hybrid teas on a smaller scale.

Shrub and Landscape Roses: These include a diverse group of roses whose characteristics don’t fit into any other category. They can be a good choice for hedges, borders, or screens.

Old Garden Roses: Also known as “heritage” or “antique” roses, these roses predate 1867 and are beloved for their strong fragrance, abundant blooms, and low maintenance.

English Roses: Bred by David Austin, these roses combine the forms and fragrances of old roses with the repeat blooming of modern roses. They can be used in all the same ways you would use a shrub rose. Examples include ‘Graham Thomas’ and ‘Gertrude Jekyll’.

Groundcover Roses:  Groundcover roses are spreading and trailing shrub roses, mostly with prickly stems and glossy leaves. They bear clusters of numerous single to fully double, sometimes fragrant flowers, and usually bloom nonstop.

Remember that within each of these classes, roses may be further categorized based on their color, petal shape, scent, and other characteristics.

Rosa Golden Beauty (Floribunda Rose)
Rosa Cherry Parfait™ (Grandiflora Rose)
Rosa Papa Meilland® (Hybrid Tea Rose)

U.S. Native Rose Species

There are over 20 species of wild roses (genus Rosa) native to various parts of the United States. Here are a few examples:

Rosa californica (California Wild Rose): Native to California and Oregon, this rose species has pink flowers and can grow up to 10 feet (3 meters) tall. It’s found in many types of habitats, including moist valleys and mountainous regions.

Rosa carolina (Carolina Rose): This rose species is native to the eastern and central United States. It typically grows as a small shrub, with light pink flowers. Carolina Rose is more resistant to foliar disease than most horticultural roses and tolerates hot, dry weather. It is a lovely addition to a wildlife garden.

Rosa palustris (Swamp Rose): As its name suggests, this species thrives in wet, swampy conditions and is native to the eastern U.S. It has pink flowers and glossy, bright green leaves.

Rosa woodsii (Woods’ Rose): This species can be found in various habitats throughout western North America. It produces fragrant pink to lilac-pink flowers and red hips (fruit).

Rosa blanda (Smooth Rose): Native to North America, this rose species is notable for its hardiness and nearly thornless stems. It produces pink flowers.

Rosa arkansana (Prairie Rose): Found in the central United States, this rose species is adapted to prairie conditions. It has pink flowers and is often used in hedges and borders due to its dense growth habit.

These are just a few examples of the many diverse rose species native to the U.S. Each species has unique characteristics and specific growing conditions, so be sure to research any species you’re interested in planting to ensure it’s suitable for your local climate and soil conditions.

Rosa setigera (Prairie Rose)
Rosa palustris (Swamp Rose)
Rosa nutkana (Nootka Rose)

Garden Design with Roses

Designing a garden with roses can be a joyful experience, allowing for creative expression and the potential to create a stunning, sensory-rich landscape. Here are some tips for garden design:

Grouping by Color: Roses come in a wide array of colors, and grouping them accordingly can create a visually pleasing effect. You might consider creating a gradient effect, or designating different areas of the garden for different colors.

Combining Different Types: Consider combining climbing, shrub, and ground cover roses in your garden for a multi-dimensional look. Climbing roses can be trained up trellises or along fences, shrub roses can create beautiful borders, and ground cover roses can fill in areas between larger plants.

Pairing with Complementary Plants: Roses can be beautifully complemented by a variety of other plants. Consider planting lavender, catmint, or salvia to add contrast and attract beneficial insects. Ornamental grasses and perennials can also provide contrasting forms and textures.

Using Roses as a Focal Point: Because of their striking appearance, they can make an excellent focal point in a garden. You might consider creating a rose arbor or a rose garden enclosed by a low hedge.

Creating Fragrance Layers: Different roses have different fragrances. Plant highly fragrant roses near seating areas or paths where their scent can be enjoyed. Mix in some with lighter fragrances for a layered olfactory experience.

Considering Growth Habit: Some roses, like climbers and ramblers, need structures to support their growth, while others, like shrub roses, have a more bushy growth habit. Remember to consider the growth habit of each type of rose when planning your garden layout.

Playing with Heights: Layer your garden with roses of varying heights. This creates depth and allows you to fit more plants into a space without feeling overcrowded.

Remembering Seasons: Many roses have a fairly limited blooming season, so include other plants that offer visual interest outside of the rose-blooming season. This could be through fall foliage, winter structure, or spring bulbs.

Remember, the most important part of any garden design is to create a space that you love and will enjoy spending time in. With their incredible variety and beauty, roses offer a myriad of design possibilities.

Rosa Scarlet Meidiland® (Shrub Rose)
Rosa Double Knock Out® (Shrub Rose)
Rosa ‘Iceberg’ (Floribunda Rose)

Companion Plants for Your Roses

Companion planting with roses can enhance their growth, appearance, and health. Here are some great companion plants:

Lavender (Lavandula): The grey-green foliage and purple flowers of lavender contrast beautifully with roses. Lavender also helps deter pests like aphids.

Salvia: Salvias, especially the blue and purple flowering varieties, contrast well with roses and are loved by bees.

Nepeta (Catmint): With its long blooming period and mounding habit, nepeta adds a nice contrast in front of rose bushes.

Geranium: Geraniums make great companions because they’re robust and provide a lot of color when roses are between bloom cycles.

Allium: Alliums deter aphids, a common rose pest, and their tall, purple blooms add height and contrast.

Yarrow (Achillea): Yarrow is an easy-growing perennial that pairs well with roses. Its fern-like foliage and flat-topped flowers contrast well with rose blooms.

Marigold: These brightly colored flowers not only provide a beautiful color contrast but also help deter pests.

Rosemary: Rosemary’s strong scent can help deter rose pests. It also adds an evergreen element to the garden.

Boxwood (Buxus): These evergreen shrubs can be trimmed into formal hedges, providing a nice structural contrast to roses.

Clematis: Many gardeners love to plant clematis with roses so the clematis can climb up the rose bush and add an extra layer of flowers.

Remember, roses love the sun, so make sure any companion plants you choose don’t create too much shade for your roses. And always check that the companions you choose are suitable for your climate and soil conditions.

Rose Companion Plants

Hardy Geraniums (Cranesbill)
Salvia (Sage)
Nepeta (Catmint)
Allium (Ornamental Onion)
Lavandula angustifolia (English Lavender)
Achillea (Yarrow)
Tagetes (Marigold)
Buxus (Boxwood)
Clematis

Growing Tips

Growing roses can be a rewarding experience if you follow the correct steps and provide the appropriate care. Here is a simple guide to help you start:

Choosing the Right Rose: Consider factors like the size of the plant at maturity, the type of rose, the color, fragrance, and resistance to pests and diseases.

Choosing the Right Location: Roses require at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. Choose a location that is not too crowded and has good air circulation to prevent fungal diseases. The soil should be well-draining.

Planting: The best time to plant roses is in early spring or fall. Dig a hole that is wide and deep enough to accommodate the roots. Mix some organic matter like compost or well-rotted manure into the soil.

Watering: Roses need regular watering, especially during dry periods. Water deeply so that it reaches the deep roots. Avoid wetting the foliage, as this can promote disease.

Fertilizing: Roses are heavy feeders. Apply a balanced rose fertilizer in early spring when the leaves start to grow and then again in mid-summer.

Pruning: Prune roses in early spring when new growth starts before buds have opened. Remove any dead or diseased wood, and cut back the plant to maintain its shape and size.

Protecting from Diseases and Pests: Roses are susceptible to several pests and diseases. Pests include aphids, Japanese beetles, spider mites, or scale insects. Diseases can include black spot, powdery mildew, rust, and botrytis blight. Proper care, including good sanitation practices, adequate spacing for air circulation, and regular monitoring, can help keep these issues in check. Use environmentally friendly pest controls where possible and consider disease-resistant varieties.

Winter Care: In colder climates, protect your roses in winter by adding a mound of soil over the base of the plant. You can also wrap them in burlap for extra protection.

Rosa ‘Buff Beauty’ (Hybrid Musk Rose)
Rosa ‘Felicia’ (Hybrid Musk Rose)
Rosa ‘Compassion’ (Climbing Rose)

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Make Rose Water:

  • Gather fresh roses early in the morning after the dew has evaporated, and rinse them to remove any debris.
  • Separate the rose petals from the rest of the flower.
  • Place the rose petals in a pot and pour distilled water over them until they are just covered.
  • Simmer the mixture on low heat until the rose petals lose their color.
  • Strain the mixture to remove the petals and collect the liquid.
  • Allow the rose water to cool, then store it in a clean, airtight container in the refrigerator. It should keep for about a month.

Is Rose Toxic to Cats?

According to the ASPCA, roses are non-toxic to cats. However, if a cat eats a large amount of rose petals, it might experience mild gastrointestinal upset.

What Do White Roses Mean?

They symbolize purity, innocence, and new beginnings. They are often used in weddings to represent the pure love and honesty between the couple. They can also signify remembrance or respect, making them appropriate for funerals or memorials.

What Do Yellow Roses Mean?

They often symbolize friendship and joy. They convey warmth, happiness, and affection. However, unlike others, they are not usually associated with romantic love.

What Do Pink Roses Mean?

They represent grace, gentility, and happiness. They can convey admiration and appreciation. Light pink roses can symbolize sweetness and innocence, while darker pink roses can signify gratitude and recognition.

Discover These Helpful Guides for Further Reading

Underplanting Roses – Companion Plants for Roses
Pretty Native American Roses
Combining Roses and Clematis
Most Fragrant English Roses
Climbing or Rambler Roses for my Garden?
All America Rose Selections Winners

Garden Examples

An Elegant Summer Garden Idea with Hydrangea, Rose and Astilbe
A Summer Border Idea with Hibiscus and Roses
A Pretty Summer Border with Roses, Larkspurs and Sage
A Pretty Summer Border with Roses, Foxgloves and Poppies
A Fabulous Duo: Rose ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ & Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’
A Lovely Spring Border Idea with Peonies, Roses and Sage
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Hardiness 4 - 10
Plant Type Climbers, Roses, Shrubs
Genus Rosa, Rosa - Shrub Rose, Rosa - English Rose, Rosa - Rambling Rose, Rosa - Hybrid Tea Rose, Rosa - Grandiflora Rose, Rosa - Groundcover Rose, Rosa - Floribunda Rose, Rosa - Climbing Rose
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 1' - 20'
(30cm - 6.1m)
Spread 1' - 20'
(30cm - 6.1m)
Maintenance Average
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Cut Flowers, Fragrant
Attracts Bees
Landscaping Ideas Patio And Containers, Arbors, Pergolas, Trellises, Beds And Borders, Ground Covers, Hedges And Screens, Edging, Small Gardens
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage

Related Items

Please Login to Proceed

You Have Reached The Free Limit, Please Subscribe to Proceed

Subscribe to Gardenia

To create additional collections, you must be a paid member of Gardenia
  • Add as many plants as you wish
  • Create and save up to 25 garden collections
Become a Member

Plant Added Successfully

You have Reached Your Limit

To add more plants, you must be a paid member of our site Become a Member

Update Your Credit
Card Information

Cancel

Create a New Collection

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

    You have been subscribed successfully

    Join Gardenia.net

    Create a membership account to save your garden designs and to view them on any device.

    Becoming a contributing member of Gardenia is easy and can be done in just a few minutes. If you provide us with your name, email address and the payment of a modest $25 annual membership fee, you will become a full member, enabling you to design and save up to 25 of your garden design ideas.

    Join now and start creating your dream garden!

    Join Gardenia.net

    Create a membership account to save your garden designs and to view them on any device.

    Becoming a contributing member of Gardenia is easy and can be done in just a few minutes. If you provide us with your name, email address and the payment of a modest $25 annual membership fee, you will become a full member, enabling you to design and save up to 25 of your garden design ideas.

    Join now and start creating your dream garden!

    Find your Hardiness Zone

    Find your Heat Zone

    Find your Climate Zone