Which Types of Roses Are Right for Your Garden?

Growing roses can be intimidating and confusing for novice and expert gardeners alike. We’re here to help break down those barriers and help you along the way to grow more beautiful, healthy roses.

Read on to learn more about the many different varieties and types of roses, and decide which one is right for you!


Photo sourced from Creative Commons/ Drpavloff

Rose classes

There are three main groupings or classes of roses, and within those groupings there are a variety of different types of roses. The groupings refer to the plants history, how they grow, and their breeding.

1. Old roses

Old Rose

Photo sourced from Creative Commons/ T. Kiya

Old roses are also called antique or heritage roses. These types have been around since at least 1867 without being changed. Old roses flower once, in early summer and are known for their strong fragrance. They are incredibly hardy and require very little pruning.

Popular old roses:

  • Lady Banks
  • Rose de Rescht
  • Green Rose
  • Yolande d’Aragon
  • Francis Dubreuil
  • Baronne Prevost

2. Modern/hybrid

Hybrid Tea Rose

Photo sourced from Creative Commons/ T. Kiya

Modern or hybrid roses were created by taking the best parts of old rose varieties to create new and better roses. These new varieties have been bred for specific color, size and fragrance, as well as to resist disease, and bloom for longer or more frequent periods. This class of rose can be further broken down into Floribunda and Grandiflora.


Floribunda roses present their flowers in clusters or sprays. They feature brightly colored, smaller blooms. Their most desirable characteristic is the ability to flower all season long.


Grandiflora varieties combine the steady blooming quality of floribunda with the beauty of hybrid teas. Their large blooms grow on long stems, either singular or clustered.

Hybrid Tea Rose

When you think of a rose, this is likely the type that comes to mind. They grow long stems with large, beautiful flowers in a wide range of colors. These are hands down, the most popular roses on the planet. They are the flowers you’ll see in florist’s shops and receive on Valentine’s Day. Most hybrid roses fall into the category of Hybrid Tea.

Other popular hybrid roses:

  • Fragrant Plum
  • Gold Metal
  • Amber Queen
  • Iceberg

3. Wild/species roses

Wild Rose

Photo sourced from Creative Commons/ Jo Naylor

Wild roses are those that have been growing wild for thousands of years with no help or interference from people. These wildflowers have five petals and usually come in pink, red, and white coloring. Unlike other types, species roses also feature brightly colored hips. Species roses tend to be easy to maintain, very hardy, and bloom once per year.

Popular wild roses:

  • Rugosa rose
  • Multiflora rose

Now that we’ve covered the three classes of roses, let’s look into the physical forms they can take.

The main types of roses are climbing, miniature, shrub and tree. Each variety has different uses and space requirements.

1. Miniature rose

Miniature Rose

Photo sourced from Creative Commons/ James Lumb

Mini roses only grow to about 1-3 feet tall, making them ideal for container gardens or indoor plants. The flowers on these plants are smaller in size as well. Miniature roses are perfect for those who want to experience the beauty and joy of roses but have limited garden space.

Popular miniature roses:

  • Kristin
  • Rise n’ shine
  • Magic Carrousel
  • Child’s Play
  • Baby boomer

2. Climbing roses

Climbing Rose

Photo sourced from Creative Commons/ Natalia

Climbing roses don’t actually climb in the same way a pea plant might, but they grow long canes that can be trained to a trellis or arbor for a beautiful, artistic display. Climbers are great for creating barriers or training over privacy screens to add a touch of beauty to your landscape.

Popular climbing roses:

  • Mme. Alfred Carriere Climbing Rose
  • Zepherine Drouhin Climbing Rose
  • Sombreuil Climbing Rose
  • Renae Climbing Rose
  • New Dawn Climbing Rose

3. Shrub roses


Photo sourced from Creative Commons/ Jim H.

Shrub roses grow upright or along the ground and don’t need supports. Most shrub roses are repeat bloomers and come in a variety of colors. They usually grow 4-6 feet tall but can exceed that height without pruning. Shrub roses are great for landscaping; short sprawling varieties can be used for ground cover and tall varieties can be planted for beautiful privacy hedges.

Popular shrub roses:

  • Ballerina
  • Mister Lincoln
  • Peace

4. Tree/standard roses

Tree Rose

Photo sourced from Creative Commons/ T. Kiya

Also called Rose Standards, these grow wonderfully in containers. Standards are formed by grafting a bushing rose variety to an existing cane. They’re a unique and interesting addition to any garden, but they require very special care. These trees need special protection in the winter and careful pruning to maintain their shape.

If you’re considering adding roses to your garden or landscape this year, take all factors into consideration. Space, maintenance, beauty and fragrance all come in to play when choosing the best rose variety for your needs.

Learn Accessible Techniques for Easy Rose Gardening!

growing roses

Enjoy expert instruction from The Biltmore Estate’s exclusive rose consultant, Paul Zimmerman, in the online class A Gardener’s Guide to Growing Roses.

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