The South's love affair with roses continues to evolve. We prize them for their intoxicating fragrance and the myriad shapes, sizes, and colors of their blossoms. But the ways we use them in our gardens have changed. Gone are the days of lining out scores of roses with name tags at the foot of each one like grave markers in a cemetery. What people want now are roses that solve problems, perform functions, combine well with other plants, and don't demand round-the-clock attention.
Fortunately, the sheer variety of roses allows for many possibilities. Climbing roses can frame a doorway, drape an arbor or pergola, and embellish a fence or wall. Compact roses like floribundas do great in containers. Reblooming shrub and ground cover roses catch the eye on banks or in sweeps. Old garden roses lend grace, perfume, and color to cottage-style gardens and mixed borders. Hybrid tea and grandiflora roses are tops for formal cutting gardens edged with clipped evergreen shrubs.
Where to Grow Roses
Most roses grow very well throughout the South, but where you live does affect their performance. Best flowering is in spring and fall, extending to winter in the Tropical South. If you get a lot of rain, roses have more disease problems like black spot and mildew. Low-rainfall areas see less disease, but you'll have to water regularly during the growing season. Hot summer weather can cause roses to go dormant and quit flowering. In areas with cool, wet springs, roses with lots of petals tend to ball, opening poorly or not at all. Some roses aren't winter hardy in the Upper South (USDA 6).
Rose Buying Guide
Mail-order catalogs and/or websites offer the widest choice of roses. They're practically the only way to shop when looking for lesser-known kinds. You'll also find roses for sale in local nurseries and garden centers, home centers, and even supermarkets.
Container Grown Roses
Potted roses are available at retail stores from spring through fall and year-round in the Coastal and Tropical South (USDA 9-11). Their big advantage is that you can plant them anytime during the growing season. The best time to plant, however, is from mid to late spring, when the plants are blooming, the largest selection is available, and you can set them out before the summer heat arrives.
Choose plants with healthy new growth. A large container is better than a small one, because it's less likely to have had its roots cut back to fit it in the pot when it was planted. Avoid plants with roots protruding through the bottom of the pot, as pot-bound plants may not grow well in your garden. Don't buy plants left over from last year, unless you get a sizeable discount.
During late winter and early spring, nurseries and stores may offer bare-root roses. These are dormant plants with no soil around the roots. Instead, the roots are usually packed in moist organic matter and wrapped in plastic or other material. This is what you'll receive from mail-order nurseries. It doesn't harm the plants to be dug, transported, and sold this way. In fact, bare-root roses adapt to native soil more quickly and are usually less expensive.
Bare-root plants are graded 1, 112, or 2, number 1 being the best. Suppliers usually offer only grade 1 plants, which have thick, green canes and a big cluster of sturdy, fibrous roots. Don't buy plants with dried-out, shriveled canes or roots or roses beginning to leaf out.
Buy bare-root roses as soon as they appear for sale, rather than when they are marked down as bargains. Beware of packaged bare-root roses displayed indoors on store shelves. The indoor warmth may cause the roots to dry out. If they dry, they die.
Budded vs. Own-Root Roses
Many old roses, species roses and their hybrids, and virtually all miniature and shrub roses are propagated from cuttings and grown on their own roots. However, about 50 percent of modern roses begin as a bud grafted onto an understock of a completely different type of rose whose root system thrives in a wide range of soils and climates. In Florida, for example, modern roses should be budded onto nematode-resistant rootstocks of Rosa x fortuniana.
Both budded and own-root roses grow well and produce fine flowers. Budded plants are often huskier at the time of purchase, but both kinds will be the same size within a year or two. Still, the current trend is to grow new selections on their own roots whenever possible. Own-root roses have one big advantage: If the plant is killed to the ground by cold (or mowed down by a texting teenager), it will regrow from the roots and be the same rose. Regrowth from the roots of a budded plant, in contrast, will come from the understock rose, whose flowers won't look anything like those of the rose you bought. So if you don't like the knobby center that often forms with grafted roses, or if you are tired of pruning off rootstock suckers, try own-root roses.
Modern Hybrid Roses
Most of the thousands of roses for sale are modern rosesones introduced after 1867, the year the first hybrid tea rose was developed. For more than 100 years after that, breeders raced to produce the most perfect hybrid teas, grandifloras, and floribundas, the flowering modern rose bushes that form the core of many public and residential rose gardens. However, in the past few years, landscape roses, particularly the lax and leafy shrub roses, have become almost as popular.
The list at right includes a host of excellent modern roses grouped by type and color. Refer to the information below to learn about the ancestry and growing characteristics of the different types of modern roses.
Hybrid Tea Roses
These are the classic, aristocratic roses, with long, stylish, pointed buds that spiral open to large blossoms with high centers. Typically, hybrid teas carry one blossom at the end of each flowering stem. They bloom profusely in spring, then continue to produce blossoms either in flushes or continuouslyuntil frosty weather. Their strong, long stems make them ideal for cutting and bringing indoors.
Hybrid tea bushes tend to have an upright, narrow, almost stiff look. They grow 26 ft. tall, depending on selection and climate. Group three or more together to create a generous, bushy look. Consider planting low-growing perennials beneath them or a low hedge in front of them to hide their bare ankles (bases of canes are usually sparsely foliaged). Hybrid teas need good growing conditions and more care than some other types, but for many gardeners, their spectacular blooms are worth the extra effort.
Grandiflora, Floribunda, and Polyantha Roses
These are the workhorses of rose gardens, noted for producing large quantities of flowers from spring through fall. Many have hybrid tea ancestry, evident in the long stems and/or elegant shape of the flowers. Unlike the hybrid teas, however, they produce clusters of blossoms rather than a single flower at the end of each stem; this makes them excellent for providing masses of color.
Grandifloras are about the same size as full-size hybrid teas and work well at the back of a flower bed or as barrier plants.
Floribundas are smaller than hybrid teasboth in flower size and in height; use them for informal hedges, for low flower borders, or as container plants. 'Iceberg', one of the best-selling roses ever, is a floribunda.
Polyanthas produce small blossoms in large sprays; they are compact bushes, generally not much more than 2 ft. high. The first polyanthas appeared in the late 19th century. Two of the early polyanthas are now classics. 'Ccile Brnner' (the shrub dates from 1889, while the climbing form goes back to 1894) has light pink flowers of perfect hybrid tea form. 'The Fairy' (from 1932) is a rose covered with masses of 1-in. pink flowers.
These are simply rose bushes that produce long, strong canes that will grow upright against a wall or arbor. They do not climb by twining or attachment but must be trained through or tied to their support. There are two types of modern climbing roses: large-flowered climbers and climbing mutations of bush roses, such as 'Cl. Iceberg' and 'Cl. Ccile Brnner'. Large-flowered climbers generally produce the most blooms, but the climbing mutations have the exquisite flowers of their famous parents.
Left to their own devices, many climbers make attractive arching shrubs or even ground covers. For more climbers, including some very large ones, see the species roses section beginning on page 559.
Planting roses for general landscape use is not a new idea; some fine shrub roses date to the early 20th century. Today, however, rose breeders are developing new roses for use purely as flowering shrubs. The emphasis is on plants that bloom prolifically over a long season and have abundant disease-resistant foliage. Modern shrub roses need little or no pruning to remain shapely. Because they bloom almost continuously, they pair well with perennials in borders.
Popular Trademarked Rose Brands
Recognizing public loyalty to brand-name products, some rose breeders have created trade-marked brands to which new selections can be added. Most of these are called shrub roses or landscape roses.
The Meidiland roses from Meilland, a French firm, were the first in this category to attract significant interest. The trademarked Meidiland series (including 'Pink Meidiland' and 'White Meidiland') are mostly somewhat billowy shrubs. They also created the Romantica roses described below under New Classic Roses.
Ground Cover Roses
Flower Carpet is a series of ground cover roses bred by noted German rosarian Werner Noack for easy care and a long season of prolific bloom. Oso Easy is another series of compact landscape roses available in a variety of colors, some with good fragrance.
Trademarked brands also include new colors for classic old selections such as 'Burgundy Iceberg' and 'Double Red Simplicity'. Even popular newer selections like 'Home Run' have been expanded into series with shrubs like 'Pink Home Run'.
Knock Out Roses
But of all the trademarked roses, none has been as popular as Knock Out roses, developed by Wisconsin rose breeder William Radler. Since the introduction of the original 'Knock Out' in 2000, it has become one of the most popular roses sold. Known for its disease resistance and free-blooming character, this bright red rose is now a common sight in gardens and landscapes across the country. Recently, additional colors and flower forms, including shades of pink and yellow, have been added to the Knock Out series. Unfortunately, the Knock Outs have also proven very susceptible to rose rosette (see page 557), a devastating virus spread by mites, which could limit its usefulness. Many other roses are susceptible too (see challenges on page 556557).
Shrub roses vary widely in growth habit and flower color; loose categories are listed below. Some shrub roses make tidy small climbers.
Hybrid Musk Roses
The hybrid musks are large (6- to 8-ft.) shrubs or small climbers that perform well in dappled or partial shade or in sun. Most are nearly everblooming, with fragrant, clustered flowers in white, yellow, buff, pink shades, and red. Popular selections include buff apricot 'Buff Beauty', coral 'Cornelia', pink 'Felicia', pink 'Kathleen' (with single flowers reminiscent of apple blossoms), salmon 'Penelope', and red 'Will Scarlet'.
New Classic Roses
The David Austin English roses were created by crossing various old roses (albas, centifolias, gallicas) with modern roses in order to combine the forms and fragrances of old roses with the colors and repeat flowering of modern hybrids. The group is extremely varied and includes low shrubs as well as plants that are determined to be climbers regardless of pruning. Popular selections include 'Abraham Darby', an upright to climbing plant with flowers in a blend of pink, yellow, and apricot; 'Charles Austin', a bushy grower with apricot blossoms; 'Fair Bianca', spreading plant with creamy white blooms; 'Gertrude Jekyll', tall, upright grower bearing deep pink flowers; 'Graham Thomas', tall bush with rich yellow blooms; 'Heritage', fragrant and nearly thornless with soft pink flowers; and 'Othello', featuring dusky dark red blooms on a tall bush or climber.
Romantica roses, most of which are named for well-known figures in European arts and letters (such as 'Yves Piaget'), are more recent introductions with old rose character.
Ground Cover Roses
These low-growing plants, around 22 ft. high, spread to at least 3 ft. wide (some reach 6 ft. or wider). Vigor, disease resistance, and a profusion of bloom from late spring until frost are the hallmarks of this category. Ground cover roses are perfect for covering slopes, creating low barriers to foot traffic on level ground, and growing in pots.
The most commonly available ground cover roses are those in the Flower Carpet series, available in red, scarlet, pink, apple blossom, coral, yellow, and white. Several of the trademarked Meidiland roses, such as 'White Meidiland', are sufficiently low growing to be used as ground covers. More recently, their Drift series ('Coral Drift', 'Peach Drift', 'Sweet Drift', and so on) continue the practice with 2-ft. plants that combine the best traits of ground cover roses and miniature roses.
'Sea Foam', a shrub rose, makes a fine ground cover about 3 ft. high and 6 ft. wide, and some miniature roses have a pretty, sprawling habit. Several of the species roses and some of the climbing roses make good ground covers as well.
These plants are perfect replicas of modern hybrid teas and floribundas, but plant size is reduced to about 11 ft. tall (grown in the ground) with flowers and foliage in the same reduced proportion. Derived in part from R. chinensis minima, they come in all the modern hybrid tea colors. Plants are everblooming. Grow them outdoors in containers, window boxes, or as border and bedding plants. To grow them indoors, pot in rich soil in 6-in. (or larger) containers and locate in a cool, bright window. Miniatures are hardier than hybrid teas but may still need winter protection in the Upper South (USDA 6). They also require a good amount of care. The shallow roots demand regular water, regular feeding, and mulching; powdery mildew, black spot, and spider mites are common problems. On the plus side, nearly all are own-root, cutting-grown plants.
Old Roses Prior to 1867
Old roses belong to the various rose classes that existed prior to 1867 (even though some in these classes were introduced as late as the early 20th century). These roses fall into two categories. The old European roses comprise albas, centifolias, damasks, gallicas, and moss roses the oldest hybrid groups derived from species native to Europe and western Asia. Most flower only in spring; many are hardy throughout the South with little or no winter protection. The second group contains classes derived entirely or in part from east Asian roses: Chinas, Bourbons, damask perpetuals, hybrid perpetuals, Noisettes, and teas. The original China and tea roses were brought to Europe from eastern Asia; 19th-century hybridizers greatly increased their numbers and also developed the other classes from crosses with European roses. Repeat flowering is a characteristic of these classes; hardiness varies, but nearly all need winter protection in cold-winter areas.
Alba roses. Developed from R. alba, the White Rose of York; associated with England's Wars of the Roses. Spring flowers range from single to very double, white to delicate pink. Upright plants are vigorous and long lived, with green wood and handsome, disease-tolerant, gray-green foliage. Garden forms include white 'Alba Semiplena' and these in shades of pink: 'Celestial', 'Flicit Parmentier', 'Great Maiden's Blush', and 'Knigin von Dnemark'.
Centifolia roses. The roses often portrayed by Dutch painters; developed from R. centifolia, the cabbage rose. Open- structured plants have prickly stems that can reach 6 ft. tall but arch with the weight of the blossoms. Intensely fragrant spring flowers typically are packed with petals, often with large outer petals that cradle a multitude of smaller petals within. Colors include white and pink shades. 'Paul Ricault' produces silken, deep pink flowers on an upright plant; 'Rose des Peintres' is a typical rich pink cabbage rose; 'Tour de Malakoff' is a tall, rangy plant with peonylike blossoms of pink fading to grayish mauve. Dwarf forms (to 3 ft. or less) are 'Petite de Hollande', 'Pompon de Bourgogne', and 'Rose de Meaux'.
Damask roses. Originating with R. damascena. Plants reach 6 ft. or taller, typically with long, arching, thorny canes and light green or grayish green, downy leaves. The summer damasks flower only in spring; forms of these are cultivated to make attar of roses (used in the perfume industry). Available selections include blush-pink 'Celsiana'; white 'Mme Hardy'; 'Leda', white with crimson markings; and 'Versicolor'('York and Lan-caster'), with petals that may be pink, white, or a blend of pink and white. The autumn damask rose, R. d. 'Semperflorens' (R. d. bifera), flowers more than once in a year; slender buds open to loosely double, clear pink blossoms. This is the Rose of Castille of the Spanish missions.
Gallica roses. Cultivated forms of R. gallica, also known as French Rose. Fragrant spring flowers range in color from pink through red to maroon and purple shades. Plants reach 34 ft. tall, with upright to arching canes bearing prickles (but few thorns) and dark green, often rough-textured leaves. Grown on their own roots, these plants will spread into clumps from creeping rootstocks. Historic 'Officinalis', known as the Apothecary Rose, is presumed to be the Red Rose of Lancaster from Wars of the Roses; it is a dense, medium-size plant with semidouble cherry-red flowers. A mutation, 'Versicolor'known as 'Rosa Mundi'has pink petals boldly striped and stippled red. Other gallicas include 'Belle de Crcy', pink aging to violet; 'Cardinal de Richelieu', slate purple; 'Charles de Mills', crimson to purple; and 'Tuscany', dark crimson with gold stamens.
Moss roses. Two old rose classescentifolia and damaskinclude variant types that feature mosslike, balsam-scented glands covering unopened buds, flower stems, and sometimes even leaflets. The moss of centifolias is soft to the touch; that of damasks is stiffer and pricklier. Flowers are white, pink, or red, often intensely fragrant. 'Centifolia Muscosa' ('Muscosa') and 'Communis' are typical pink centifolias with moss added; 'White Bath' is 'Centifolia Muscosa' in white. Other available selections are pale pink to white 'Comtesse de Murinais', deep pink 'Gloire des Mousseux', salmon-pink 'Mme Louis Lvque', dark red 'Nuits de Young', and dark red to purple 'William Lobb'. Repeat-flowering mosses include creamy pink 'Alfred de Dalmas', apricot 'Gabriel Noyelle', red 'Henri Martin', and bright pink 'Salet'.
China roses. The first two China roses to reach Europe (around 1800) were cultivated forms of R. chinensis that had been selected and maintained by Chinese horticulturists. Flowers were pink or red, less than 3 in. across, borne in small clusters on 2- to 4-ft.-high plants. 'Old Blush' ('Parson's Pink China'), one of the original two, is still sold. Other available selections include 'Archduke Charles', with pink blossoms aging to crimson; red 'Cramoisi Suprieur' ('Agrippina'); white 'Ducher'; crimson 'Louis Philippe'; and 'Mutabilis', with flowers that open soft yellow-buff and age to pink, then crimson. Also sold is the bizarre-looking Green Rose, R. c. viridiflora, with blossoms resembling clusters of bright green leaves. China rose ancestry is the primary source of repeat flowering in roses developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Bourbon roses. The original Bourbon rose was a hybrid between R. chinensis and the autumn damask rose (R. damascena 'Semperflorens'). Later developments were shrubs, semiclimbers, and climbers with flowers in white, pink shades, and red, mostly quite fragrant. Best known today are 'La Reine Victoria', 'Mme Ernst Calvat', 'Mme Pierre Oger', 'Souvenir de la Malmaison' (all pink); and 'Zphirine Drouhin' and the supremely fragrant 'Madame Isaac Pereire' (both magenta-red). A famous Bourbon-China hybrid, 'Gloire des Rosomanes' gained widespread distribution as a rootstock (called Ragged Robin) in commercial production. Occasionally it is offered as a hedge rose; growth is upright to fountainlike, with coarse foliage and semidouble cherry-red flowers throughout the growing season.
Damask perpetuals. This was the first distinct hybrid group to emerge, beginning around 1800, combining the China roses with old European rose types. Ancestries vary, but all appear to include China roses and the autumn damask rose (R. damascena 'Semperflorens'); generally they were known as Portland roses after the first representative, 'Duchess of Portland'. All are fairly short, bushy, repeat-flowering plants with centifolia- and gallica-like flowers. Among those sold are 'Comte de Chambord', cool pink; 'Duchess of Portland', crimson; 'Jacques Cartier', bright pink; and 'Rose du Roi', crimson with purple shadings.
Hybrid perpetuals. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, before hybrid teas dominated the catalogs, these were the garden roses. They are big, vigorous, and hardy to about 30F with minimal winter protection. Plants need more water and fertilizer than hybrid teas to produce repeated bursts of bloom. Prune high, thin out oldest canes, and arch over remaining canes to encourage many blooms. Flowers are full, often large (to 67 in. wide), and strongly fragrant; buds usually are shorter and plumper than those of hybrid teas. Colors range from white through pink shades to red and maroon. Selections still sold include white 'Frau Karl Druschki'; cherry-red 'Gnral Jacqueminot'; rose-pink 'Mrs. John Laing'; deep pink, peonylike 'Paul Neyron'; and carmine-red 'Ulrich Brnner Fils'.
Noisette roses. In Charleston, South Carolina, in the early 1800s, the union of a China rose and the musk rose (R. moschata) produced the first Noisette rose: 'Champneys' Pink Cluster', a shrubby, repeat-flowering climber with small pink flowers in medium-size clusters. Crossed with itself and China roses, it led to a race of similar fragrant roses in white, pink shades, and red; crossed with tea roses, it yielded the large-flowered, climbing tea-Noisettes. Small-flowered Noisettes include white 'Aime Vibert-Scandens', light pink 'Blush Noisette', and cherry-red 'Fellenberg'. Among tea-Noisettes are yellow 'Alister Stella Gray' and 'Marchal Niel'; orange 'Crpuscule'; white 'Lamarque' and 'Mme Alfred Carrire'; and buff-apricot 'Rve d'Or'. Not reliably hardy in the Upper and Middle South (USDA 6-7).
Tea roses. This race of elegant, virtually everblooming, relatively tender roses does best in the Lower, Coastal, and Tropical South (USDA 8-11). Plants are long lived, building on old wood and disliking heavy pruning. Flowers are in pastel shadeswhite, soft cream, light yellow, apricot, buff, pink, and rosy red; flower character varies, but many resemble hybrid teas. In crosses with hybrid perpetuals, tea roses were parents of the first hybrid teas. Available selections include 'Duchesse de Brabant', warm pink, tuliplike; 'Lady Hillingdon', saffron; 'Maman Cochet', creamy rose-pink; 'Marie van Houtte', soft yellow and pink; 'Mlle Franziska Krger', pink and cream to orange; 'Monsieur Tillier', warm dark pink with gold and rosy red; 'Mrs. B. R. Cant', silvery pink; 'Sombreuil', creamy white; and 'White Maman Cochet', creamy white shaded pink. The cross of a tea rose and the tea ancestor R. gigantea produced 'Belle Portugaise' ('Belle of Portugal'), a rampant climber bearing large pale pink blossoms in spring.
SPECIES ROSES AND THEIR HYBRIDS
Species roses are the original wild roses from which all other roses descend. Among the following species and their hybrids are excellent shrub roses, climbing roses, and roses that will help control erosion on slopes. Some are extremely vigorous and cold hardy.
R. banksiae. LADY BANKS'S ROSE. Evergreen climber. Zones MS, LS, CS, TS; USDA 7-11. From China. An old-time favorite. Vigorous grower to 20 ft. or more. Aphid resistant, almost immune to disease. Stems have almost no prickles; glossy, leathery leaves have three to five leaflets to 2 in. long. Large clusters of small yellow or white flowers bloom in spring. Good for covering banks, ground, fence, or arbor. The two forms sold are 'Lutea', with scentless, double yellow flowers, and R. b. banksiae ('Alba Plena' or 'White Banksia'), with violet-scented, double white flowers. The fragrant 'Fortuniana' (R. fortuniana) is sometimes sold as the double white banksia; it differs in having thorny canes, larger leaves, and larger flowers that come individually rather than in clusters.
R. bracteata. MACARTNEY ROSE. Evergreen climbing shrub with large, creamy white single blossoms. Zones LS, CS, TS; USDA 8-11. From southeastern China; naturalized in the Southeast. Its celebrated offspring is 'Mermaid', an evergreen or semievergreen climber hardy in the Coastal and Tropical South. Vigorous (to 30 ft.) and thorny, it has glossy, leathery, dark green leaves and many single, creamy yellow, lightly fragrant flowers to 5 in. across. Bloom comes in spring, summer, fall, and intermittently through winter. Tough and disease resistant; thrives in sun or partial shade. Plant 8 ft. apart for quick ground cover; or use to climb walls (will need tying), run along fences, or climb trees. Forms dense thickets and can be invasive.
R. eglanteria. See R. rubiginosa
R. foetida (R. lutea). AUSTRIAN BRIER. Deciduous shrub. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. From central and western Asia. Slender, prickly, erect or arching green stems to 510 ft. long. Dark green, smooth or slightly hairy leaves are especially susceptible to black spot and may drop in early fall. Single bright yellow, 2- to 3-in. flowers with an odd scent bloom in mid- to late spring. This species and its well-known selection 'Bicolor', often called Austrian Copper, are the source of orange and yellow color in modern roses. 'Bicolor' is a 4- to 5-ft. shrub with brilliant coppery red flowers, their petals backed in yellow. Its form 'Persiana', called Persian Yellow, has fully double yellow blooms.
Species and selections do best in warm, fairly dry, well-drained soil and in full sun. Prune only to remove dead wood.
R. glauca. REDLEAF ROSE. Deciduous shrub. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. From mountains of central and southern Europe. Foliage, not blossoms, is the main feature of this rose: The 6-ft. plant is clothed in leaves that combine gray-green and coppery purple. Small, single, pink flowers bloom in spring; they are followed by small, oval hips that turn red in autumn.
R. x harisonii. HARISON'S YELLOW ROSE. Deciduous shrub. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. Hybrid between R. foetida and R. pimpinellifolia. Very old rose that was taken westward to Texas by pioneers. Vigorous, disease free, cold hardy, and drought tolerant, with fine-textured foliage on thickets of thorny stems to 68 ft. tall. Profuse show of semidouble, fragrant, bright yellow flowers in late spring, with occasional rebloom in fall. Blackish red, showy hips. Useful deciduous landscape shrub; also called the Yellow Rose of Texas.
R. hugonis. See R. xanthina hugonis
R. laevigata. CHEROKEE ROSE. Evergreen climber. Zones MS, LS, CS, TS; USDA 7-11. Native to Southeast Asia but highly naturalized in the southern U.S.; the state flower of Georgia. Green stems to 10 ft. long hold sharp, hooked thorns and lacquered-looking, dark green leaves, each with three leaflets. Single white flowers to 3 in. wide appear only in spring. Crossed with a tea rose, this species produced 'Anemone', a mostly spring-flowering climber bearing single, soft silvery pink flowers reminiscent of Japanese anemone. 'Ramona' is a magenta-pink variation.
R. moschata. MUSK ROSE. Deciduous shrub. Zones US, MS, LS, CS, TS; USDA 6-11. Probably from western Asia; an old Southern favorite. Vigorous, arching plant to 10 ft. high and wide, densely clothed in matte, medium green leaves that turn butter-yellow in late fall. Clusters of ivory-white, single flowers with a delicious, somewhat honeylike perfume appear in late spring and bloom through the summer. R. m. plena has double blossoms, though their effect is lessened because the inner petals wither before the outer ones.
R. moyesii. Deciduous shrub. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. From western China. Large, loose shrub to 10 ft. high, 8 ft. wide; best as background plant or featured shrub-tree specimen. Spring bloom is a glorious display of bright red single flowers to 2 in. across, carried singly or in groups of two. A second show comes in fall, when the large, bottle-shaped hips ripen to brilliant scarlet. 'Geranium', a hybrid, is a somewhat shorter, more compact selection with red flowers in clusters of up to five. 'Sealing Wax', also a hybrid, offers pink flowers, also on a smaller and more compact bush.
R. multiflora. JAPANESE ROSE. Deciduous shrub. Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9. From Japan. Arching growth on dense, vigorous plant to 810 ft. tall and wide. Susceptible to mildew, spider mites. Profuse clusters of small white flowers (like blackberry blossoms) in mid- to late spring; sweet fragrance akin to that of honeysuckle (Lonicera). Heavy fall crop of -in. red hips, much loved by birds. One of the most widely used rootstocks in commercial rose production.
R. multiflora is promoted as a hedge, but this has been disastrous. Profuse volunteer seedlings can put it in the pest category. It has become so invasive in some areas that it has been declared a noxious weed, and people have been forbidden to sell or plant it. A number of distinctive climbing roses, however, are noninvasive hybrids of this species. Known as multiflora ramblers, they include several well-known blue ramblers: 'Bleu Magenta', with crimson-purple blooms fading to grayish violet; 'Rose-Marie Viaud', crimson purple aging to violet and lilac; 'Veilchenblau', maroon-purple turning grayish lilac with age; and 'Violette', with maroon-purple blooms that turn grayish plum.
R. m. platyphylla, also known as 'Seven Sisters', is an heirloom rose often seen in old Southern gardens. It is not invasive and sports larger flowers than species, in shades of deep reddish purple to palest mauve.
R. roxburghii. CHESTNUT ROSE. Deciduous shrub. Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9. Native to western China. Spreading plant with prickly, 8- to 10-ft.-long stems and peeling gray bark. Light green, ferny, very fine-textured foliage is tipped in bronze and gold when new. Immune to mildew and blackspot. Buds and hips are spiny, like chestnut burrs. Unscented, soft rose-pink, typically double flowers appear in mid- to late spring. Normally a big shrub for screen or border, but if stems are pegged down, it makes a good bank cover, useful in preventing erosion.
R. rubiginosa (R. eglanteria). SWEET BRIAR ROSE, EGLANTINE. Deciduous shrub or climber. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. From Europe, western Asia, North Africa. Vigorous grower to 812 ft. tall, 6 8 ft. wide. Prickly stems bear dark green leaves that smell like green apples, especially after a rain. Pink, 1-in., single flowers appear singly or in clusters in late spring. Red-orange hips. Used as hedge, barrier, or screen; can be held to 34 ft.. Plant 34 ft. apart and prune annually in early spring. Good hybrid forms are 'Lady Penzance' and 'Lord Penzance'.
R. rugosa. RUGOSA ROSE. Deciduous shrub. Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9. From northern China, Siberia, Korea, Japan. Vigorous, hardy shrub with prickly stems. To 38 ft. tall and wide. Bright, glossy, green leaves have distinctive heavy veining that gives them a crinkled look. Wonderfully fragrant flowers are 34 in. across and range from single to double and from pure white and creamy yellow through pink to deep purplish red. Blooms spring, summer, early fall. Bright red, tomato-shaped fruit, an inch or more across, is seedy but edible, sometimes used in preserves.
All rugosas are extremely tough, withstanding hard freezes, wind, drought, and salt spray. They make fine hedges; plants grown on their own roots make sizable colonies and help prevent erosion. Foliage remains free of diseases and insects, except possibly aphids. Among the most widely sold rugosas and rugosa hybrids are 'Blanc Double de Coubert', double white; 'Frau Dagmar Hartopp' ('Fru Dagmar Hastrup'), single pink; 'Hansa', double purplish red; and 'Will Alderman', double pink. Four unusual rugosa hybrids are cherry-red 'F. J. Grootendorst', crimson-red 'Grootendorst Supreme', 'Pink Grooten-dorst', and 'White Grootendorst'; their semidouble to double flowers with deeply fringed petals resemble carnations (Dianthus) more than roses.
R. spinosissima (R. pimpinellifolia) SCOTCH ROSE, BURNET ROSE. Deciduous shrub. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. From western Europe east to Korea. Spreading shrub to 34 ft. tall; initially as wide as high, then spreading wider by suckers. Upright, spiny, bristly stems are closely set with small, ferny leaves. Handsome bank cover in good soil; helps prevent erosion. White to pink, 1- to 2-in. spring flowers; dark brown to blackish hips. Its form 'Altaica', with larger leaves and garlands of 3-in. white flowers, can reach 6 ft. high. Several hybrids are noteworthy. 'Stanwell Perpetual' bears blush pink double blooms from spring to fall on a mounding, twiggy plant with small gray-green leaves. 'Frhlingsmorgen' is the best known of several German hybrids; it's a tall, arching plant that bears large, single yellow flowers edged in cherry-pink and centered with maroon stamens. 'Golden Wings', to 6 ft., blooms throughout the growing season; its 4-in., single blossoms have light yellow petals and red stamens.
R. wichuraiana. MEMORIAL ROSE. Evergreen or partially evergreen vine. Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9. From Japan, Korea, eastern China. Trailing stems grow 1012 ft. long in one season, root in contact with moist soil. Leaves 24 in. long, with five to nine smooth, shiny, - to 1-in. leaflets. Midsummer flowers are white, to 2 in. across, in clusters of six to ten. Good ground cover, even in relatively poor soil. Wichuraiana ramblers, produced in the first 20 years of the 20th century, are hybrids between the species and various garden roses. Pink 'Dorothy Perkins' and red 'Excelsa' produce lavish spring displays of small blooms that obscure the often-mildewed leaves. Larger, shapelier flowers and glossy, healthier leaves are found in creamy white 'Albric Barbier', coral-pink 'Franois Juranville', light yellow 'Gardenia', coppery salmon 'Paul Transon', and white 'Sander's White Rambler'.
R. xanthina hugonis (R. hugonis). FATHER HUGO'S ROSE, GOLDEN ROSE OF CHINA. Deciduous shrub. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. From northern China. Dense growth to 8 ft. tall, 5 ft. wide. Arching or straight stems with bristles near base. Handsome, deep green, 1- to 4-in.-long leaves; each has 5 to 11 leaflets. Blooms profusely in mid- to late spring, when branches become garlands of 2-in.-wide, bright yellow, faintly fragrant flowers. Good in borders, for screen or barrier plantings, against a fence, trained fanwise on a trellis. Takes high, filtered afternoon shade. Prune oldest wood to ground each year to shape the plant and get maximum bloom.