A gardener who wants to grow fragrant roses has many types of roses to choose from and many different variations on the traditional rose scent as well. Choosing the best fragrant roses involves first determining which type of rose will do best in your particular geographic location, how much room you have to devote to the roses in your garden and also which rose fragrance you wish to incorporate in your garden.
There are more than 24 different and distinct scents produced by roses, including the traditional and deeply fragrant sweet scent of old roses, which is typically what people associate with the flowers. Most roses in the hybrid tea category give off one of a handful of scents that include old rose, clover and apple. Other rose scents include honey, pepper, lily of the valley and moss. Other fragrant roses give off scents that are a mixture of these aromas.
Agriculturists and rose breeders have discovered that the scent of many fragrant roses is dependent on the weather or even the time of day, with some emitting their scent in the early daylight hours and none at all later in the day. Cooler days may stifle the scent of other roses. If consistency is important to you, there are varieties, such as Chrysler Imperial, that you can choose from that will provide outstanding fragrance no matter what the weather is.
Another method that will help you to choose fragrant varieties of roses is to correlate the fragrance with the color of the petals, although this method is not foolproof. In general, roses whose color falls within shades of pink and red smell more like a traditional rose scent. Yellow and paler roses more often give off a different fragrance, such as violet or orris.
Not all roses are fragrant, but there are many different varieties that are, and often their names will give a clue, such as Fragrant Cloud and Perfume Delight. Gardeners who are looking for highly fragrant roses are not limited to hybrid teas, but may extend their search to include fragrant climbing roses such as America, a white variety, and floribundas, such as Apricot Nectar. Among hybrid teas, Mr. Lincoln is considered an attractive and fragrant variety. Roses that have won awards for their outstanding fragrance can be found by consulting the American Rose Society.