Photo by Melody

Growing Roses from A-Z (Part I)

By Paul Rodman (paulgrowDecember 21, 2007

In this series of articles I値l discuss the different types of roses, how to plant, how to care for them. You値l learn about disease and insect problems. Fertilization, spraying and general upkeep. You値l become an expert on America's flower in no time at all.

Gardening picture

IIve been an avid grower of roses for over 10 years; I truly love this plant more than any other in my garden. I grow about 75 plants of all types on my averages sized suburban lot. I belong to 2 local rose societies where I’m always attending meeting to learn more about this plant. I’m also a member of the American Rose Society where I’ve been certified as an ARS Consulting Rosarian. That title is earned by many hours of studying the rose and passing a lengthy test administered by the ARS.

I want to share my love and knowledge of roses with all of you and hope to entice more of you to grow roses.

Rose Facts

  • Roses have been in existence for 34 million years.
  • There are more than 100,000 different rose varieties know to have been in existence.
  • There are currently more than 18,000 different rose varieties commercially available.
  • About 50,000,000 rose bushes are grown in the United States every year.
  • Most of the commercial rose growers are located in California, Arizona, and Texas.
  • Most roses are grafted onto a more vigorous root stock; however more commercial growers are beginning to produce “own root” roses.
  • Rose colors are white, yellow, apricot, orange, red, pink, mauve, and russet. There are variations in each of these colors, solids, lights, darks, blends, and stripes. There are no true blue or black roses.


Types of Roses

I’ll describe the most popular types of roses and give some examples of each type

Hybrid Teas & Grandiflora

  • One bloom per stem
  • Long Stems
  • Medium to tall growth habits.
  • Most repeat bloom very well

Examples of hybrid teas include 'Mr. Lincoln', 'Touch of Class', 'St. Patrick' and 'Gemini'

Examples of Grandiflora include 'Gold Medal', 'Earth Song' and 'Tournament of Roses'

(Note: in 1954 a hybrid tea was crossed with a floribunda to create the grandiflora class.)

The image
Mr. Lincoln H.T.


  • Clusters of blooms on each stem
  • Plant has a bushy growth habit
  • Short to medium growth habit
  • Repeats blooms well

Examples are, Europeana, 'Iceberg', 'Hot Cocoa' and 'Sexy Rexy'

The image
Hot Coco Fl.

Miniature and Mini-Flora

  • Smaller plant overall
  • Clusters of blooms all over the plant
  • Bushy growth habit
  • Short to medium growth height

Examples of minis include 'Minnie Pearl', 'Giggles', and 'Rise ‘N’ Shine'

Examples of mini-floras include 'Foolish Pleasure', 'Memphis King', and 'Dr. John Dickman'.

(Note: The mini-flora roses are a new class recognized by the American Rose Society in 1999. The class was created to accommodate the larger bloom and foliage size between the miniature and floribunda.)

The image
Minnie Pearl mini


  • Clusters of blooms on each stem
  • Plant has a bushy growth habit
  • Comes in short, medium and tall heights.
  • Repeat blooms well all season

Examples of shrub roses are, 'Sally Holmes', 'Ballerina', and 'Abraham Darby'

The image
Abraham Darby Shrub

Climbing Roses

  • Clusters of blooms
  • Very tall climbing growth habit
  • Needs structure on which to climb for best results
  • Needs very little pruning
  • Best blooms are in the spring, some repeat in late summer.

Examples include 'Don Juan', 'New Dawn', and 'Fourth of July'

The image
Don Juan Cl.



  • Has clusters of small blooms on each stem
  • Short to medium growth height.
  • Bushy growth habit
  • Repeat blooms well

Examples: 'The Fairy', 'Verdun', 'Marie Pavie'

The image
The Fairy poly.

Old Garden Roses

This is a large classification of roses. The American Rise Society defines old garden roses as those types of roses that existed before 1867. There are many sub classifications that fall under this category. Alba, Bourbon, Centifolia, Damask, Hybrid China, Hybrid Gallica, Hybrid Perpetual, Moss, Noisttte, Portland, and Tea are examples of old garden roses.

  • Clusters or single blooms on each stem dependent on variety.
  • Short to very tall depending on variety
  • Usually blooms in spring, some bloom only once a season.
  • Many have a strong fragrance

Some examples of this large group include 'Mme Hardy', 'Sombreuil', 'Henri Martin'

The image
Sombreuil ogr.

Species Roses

  • Often referred to as “wild roses”
  • Single petals (4-8 petals)
  • Blooms once a season
  • Listed as their Latin name beginning with Rosa or just "R.", for example R. foetida.  Other examples include R. rugosa, R. glauca, R. x alba
So, those of the types of roses you have to choose from. In the next installment I’ll discuss how to choose a rose bush, how to plant and care for it. I’ll also talk about diseases and insects you need to watch for. Facts courtesy of American Rose Society.

Photos courtesy DG PDB & author.

  About Paul Rodman  
Paul RodmanPaul Rodman has been gardening for over 45 years. He is an Advanced Master Gardener, and American Rose Society Consulting Rosarian. He is President Emertius of the Western Wayne County Master Gardener Association in Wayne County, Michigan. He currently serves as the greenhouse chairman of this group. Rodman has amassed over 5500 volunteer hours in the Master Gardener program. Rodman is the garden columnist for The News Herald newspaper, in Southgate, Michigan. He has also written for the Organic web site. He is a certified Master Canner and has taught classes on Home Food Preserving for 7 years. He has lectured on various gardening topics throughout southeastern Michigan. His favorite pastime is teaching children about gardening. For the past several years he has conducted classes for second grade students teaching them about subjects ranging from vermi-composting to propagation.

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