What Are the Best Tips for Choosing Rose Varieties?

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  • Written By: Jeri Sullivan
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2019
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There are nearly endless options when choosing rose varieties, and successful growing often depends on picking the best types for your area. Some things to consider when choosing rose varieties are lighting needs, climate, and soil. The rose variety used in a particular garden also depends on how much work the gardener wants to spend taking care of the plant.

When deciding on specific rose varieties, check rose catalogs, rose books, tour rose gardens, visit nurseries, or talk to other gardeners. This research can tell the prospective gardener what rose varieties do well in the local area. By choosing proven rose types, gardeners have a greater chance of a good harvest and ultimately spend less money since they do not have to buy replacement plants.

Before choosing specific rose varieties, measure the amount of sun the area you want to plant gets each day. Shop for rose plants that have sun requirements that most closely match the amount of sun your garden gets. It is also advisable to purchase varieties bred for your growing zone. If you are unsure, consult a plant hardiness map, such as the United States Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zone Map, to determine the zone for your area.


Roses are available as bare root plants, container plants, grafted or own root plants. The major thing to look for are plants that have healthy root systems with three to five canes, which are the branches of the rose plant. When selecting bare root plants, the root ball should always feel heavy, as this is a sign of a healthy plant. Container plants are fully mature plants which have been grown in containers.

Grafted plants are a type of hybrid that has been engineered by growing one variety of plant onto another plant variety's roots. This is primarily done when the root variety is known for sturdy, easy growing tendencies and the other plant is not. Own root plants are pure rose varieties that have been grown from their own roots.

The main categories of rose varieties are old roses and modern roses. The term "old roses" refers to vintage varieties which include Old European, China, Bourbons, and Noisette. The term "modern roses" refers to varieties such as hybrid tea, florabunda, and grandaflora. The old rose varieties are generally easier to care for, as they have fewer diseases and pests.

Modern roses were specifically bred for certain attributes such as size and color of the bloom. If you are looking for a certain color or style, modern roses are probably a better option than old roses because the blooms and color are much more uniform. Each year, several new varieties are introduced, so check rose catalogs to decide which varieties you want to try for the coming year.


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