A Rose is a Rose……. Is a Rose?

By Cory Collins

Roses were among the first ornamental plants cultivated in Utah, brought west with pioneer wagon trains. However, the roses of the pioneer era were quite a bit different than the fussy hybrids that have become popular since. Luckily, there are many types of roses to choose from and recent rose breeding has focused more on creating long blooming, low-maintenance and resilient varieties. We think the pioneers would approve.

Many people shy away from roses because they’re worried about the maintenance, but if you plant the right kind of rose in the right place, it’s easy! Let’s look beyond the common Hybrid Tea roses and consider some of the other great options for Utah landscapes.

Floribunda Roses. 3 x 4 feet tall and wide.

They are a great little bush that’s the perfect size to fit many residential landscapes. Floribunda roses bloom in clusters rather than a single bloom. There are so many great options in this group that it’s hard to pick just a few so I’ll share some of the easy-to-find varieties but this list is by no means complete.

  • Ebb Tide
  • White Licorice
  • Ketchup and Mustard
  • Sentimental
  • Walking on Sunshine
  • David Austin English Roses (many varieties)

Shrub Roses/ Hedge Roses. Most are 3-5 feet tall and wide but can grow up to 8 feet tall.

Shrub roses are among the best for home landscapes. I have had Bonica’s growing on both sides of my driveway for now 25+ years, and they are still beautiful. The impact of shrub roses dramatically increases when they are grouped as a mass planting or as a hedge. Some varieties are repeat or everblooming ensuring lasting color.

  • Bonica
  • Simplicity
  • Iceberg
  • Meiland’s (many varieties)
  • Knockout (many varieties)

Groundcover Roses. 1-2 feet tall by 3-5 feet wide.

You have a number of choices on these varieties nowadays. I like both the Drift and Flower Carpet series which offer a number of lovely colors and nearly non-stop bloom. The wind will help care for your groundcover roses by snatching away spent flowers before you have to.

  • Flower Carpet Series (many varieties)
  • Drift Series (many varieties)

Rugosa Roses. Many sizes.

Rugosa roses are among the oldest roses cultivated with the Harison’s Yellow being the same rose favored by pioneers. The native Wood’s Rose and smaller ‘Purple Pavement’ rose can both tolerate shady situations too. Be aware that rugosas are survivors and may be too aggressive for some landscape situations but thrive where growing is tough.

  • Austrian Copper Rose
  • Harison’s Yellow Rose
  • Wood’s Rose (native)
  • Purple Pavement

Enjoy the beauty that these roses can give you all summer long with little or no care, just plant, water in for a good growing season, feed once in a while, and you will be rewarded year after year. As a lifelong lover of roses, all of them make me smile and I hope planting a few of these wonderful shrubs in your landscape will make you smile too!