Types of roses: the 12 most beautiful classes of roses at a glance

Sabine
Sabine
Sabine
Sabine

I am currently studying agricultural and food economics. As a keen hobby gardener, plants take up most of my free time. A few years ago, I got especially interested in herbs, which is why I completed my studies to become a certified herbalist in 2018.

Favourite fruit: apples, cherries
Favourite vegetables: potatoes, fennel

The range of species and varieties of roses is huge – the only thing they have in common is their beauty. Let us introduce you to the most beautiful and popular types of roses.

A variety of rose plants in the garden
Different varieties of roses can be used to embellish any garden [Photo: Matthewshutter/ Shutterstock.com]

Roses (Rosa) are a classic in-home garden. Maybe you have thought about getting your own specimen but could not decide due to the huge selection of varieties. After all, the chosen one should not only meet your personal taste when it comes flower colour and shape, it also needs to cope with the conditions in your garden. For example, in harsher locations, you should place a great emphasis on weather tolerance, winter hardiness and robustness of the plant. Depending on the intended use, however, the growth habit and flowering behaviour are also important decision criteria.

The many different varieties are divided into individual classes of roses which in turn can be grouped together. Here, however, overlaps can also occur at times. To give you an overview of the variety of roses, we would like to briefly explain differences between individual rose classes and groups. We’ll also present some of the most beautiful varieties per category in our rundown.

Bedding roses

The term “bedding roses” is used to describe many different varieties. In addition to large-flowered hybrid tea roses, this also includes the cluster-flowered floribunda and polyantha roses. Through regular pruning, bedding roses can be kept low and can be planted in groups or over large areas.

We find the following bedding rose varieties particularly beautiful:

  • ‘Bonica ’82’
    Robust variety with light pink flowers from June to September; can form rosehips; lush growth; grows up to 80 cm high; rain-resistant and frost-hardy
  • ‘Gruss an Aachen’
    First floribunda pink; double, creamy white flowers; yellowish pink in the centre; delicate fragrance; bushy growth (height up to 90 cm); hardy
  • ‘Friesia’
    Medium-sized, golden-yellow flowers; pleasant fragrance; long and abundant bloom; upright growth; many branches; grows to about 60 cm tall; good weather resistance
  • ‘Sirius’
    Semi-double flowers in apricot to creamy white; strong flowering; bushy, upright growth; very good leaf health; was named ADR rose in 2013; hardy
  • ‘La Sevillana’
    Semi-double flowers of bright red colour; delicate fragrance; forms orange rosehips; grows up to 80 cm tall; good foliage health; tolerates heat
Peach flower of the rosa gruß an aachen
The nostalgic-looking rose ‘Gruß an Aachen’ also belongs to the old rose varieties

Shrub and bush roses

When you think of roses, you often have a densely flowering bush in mind. According to their growth habit, these are so-called shrub roses. They are versatile in the garden and also particularly easy to care for. While small shrub roses (groundcover roses) only reach a height of around 100 centimetres, large shrub roses can reach a height of up to 250 centimetres. Therefore, many varieties are also great for use in hedges or as a background plant.

Here is a selection of small shrub / bush rose varieties (height from 100 to 150 cm):

  • ‘Angela’
    Small, semi-double flowers in old pink; flowers more often; grows compactly; reaches heights of about 80 to 120 cm; good leaf health; hardy; suitable for container planting
  • ‘Belvedere’
    Apricot-orange double flowers; repeat bloomers; tangy fragrance; reaches heights of about 120 to 150 cm; medium foliage health; flowers are long-lasting
  • ‘Peace light’
    Heavily double, creamy white flowers; flowers more often; light fragrance; upright, slightly arching habit; grows to about 120 to 150 cm tall; very robust; rain-resistant flowers; frost-hardy
  • ‘Hercules’
    Densely double, lavender-coloured flowers; flowers more often; pear-scented; upright, bushy growth with overhanging shoots (about 100 to 140 cm tall); robust; hardy
  • ‘Rhapsody in Blue’
    Semi-double, violet-purple flowers with white centres; repeat bloomers; light fragrance; upright, bushy habit (up to 120 cm tall); medium foliage health
Purple flower of the rosa rhapsody in blue
Rhapsody in Blue’ convinces with the luminosity of its flowers [Photo: Marina Rose/ Shutterstock.com]

If there is enough space in the garden, the following varieties of shrub roses are also suitable for planting in beds (height from 150 to 200 cm):

  • ‘Bonanza’
    Semi-double flowers in yellow with a reddish edge; flowers more often; delicate fragrance; upright, bushy growth; reaches heights of about 150 to 200 cm; very good leaf health; frost hardy
  • ‘Eden Rose 85’
    Heavily double flowers ranging from white, pink to a strong pink; flowers more often; light fruity fragrance; bushy growth; reaches heights of up to 200 cm; rain-resistant and heat-tolerant.
  • ‘Ghislaine de Feligonde’
    Small, double flowers ranging from pale yellow to creamy white; flowers more often; elegant fragrance; vigorous, overhanging habit; grows to about 150 to 200 cm tall; good foliage health; hardy
  • ‘Nevada’
    Lightly double creamy white flowers; single flowering; arching overhanging habit (up to 220 cm tall); robust; frost hardy; suitable for single stands or mixed shrub hedges
  • ‘Westerland’
    Semi-double flowers in bright copper-orange; flowers more often; well-scented; upright, bushy habit; grows up to 180 cm tall; good foliage health; for sunny locations
Pink flower of the rosa eden rose 85
The variety ‘Eden Rose 85’ is also known as ‘Pierre de Ronsard’ [Photo: PawelG Photo/ Shutterstock.com]

Climbing roses

Climbing roses are characterised by their vigour and particularly long shoots. Within this rose class, climbing roses are subdivided again: Real climbing roses bloom several times a year and reach a height of about three metres. Rambler roses, in contrast, form very elastic shoots that can reach a length of up to ten metres. They are particularly suitable for growing on pergolas or rose arches. However, there are sometimes very large differences within this class of roses, not only in the growth habit, but also in the flower shape and colour.

Orange flower of the rosa aloha
The climbing rose ‘Aloha’ is considered vigorous, flowering and healthy

Below we would like to present a small selection of climbing rose varieties:

  • ‘Aloha’
    Double flowers in apricot; intense fragrance; flowers more often; grows to a height of about 220 to 280 cm; very good foliage health; winter hardy to a limited extent – winter protection recommended
  • ‘Jasmina’
    Numerous double flowers in pink to violet; flowers more often; intense fragrance of apple; grows to a height of 300 cm; hardy
  • ‘Laguna’
    Double flowers in pink; flowers more often; strong, fruity fragrance; grows to about 220 to 280 cm tall; good foliage health (ADR rose); hardy
  • ‘Moonlight’
    Semi-double lemon-yellow flowers; repeat bloomers; strong, fruity fragrance; grows up to 250 cm tall; good foliage health; hardy
  • ‘New Dawn’
    Double flowers of delicate pearl pink; flowers more often; light fragrance; reaches heights of up to 350 cm; very robust
Pink flower of the rosa jasmina
The flowers of the variety ‘Jasmina’ stand in umbels and exude a sweet fragrance [Photo: momochan123/ Shutterstock.com]

In addition, you can find more beautiful and robust climbing rose varieties in our special article.

Dwarf roses

Dwarf roses are characterised by their compact growth and are therefore also called miniature roses. Mini roses grow only about 30-50 cm high and are therefore suitable for smaller gardens. However, due to their small footprint, they can also be planted in a pot to decorate a terrace or balcony. A wide range of different varieties of dwarf roses are available in stores.

Perhaps this small selection can already serve as inspiration:

  • ‘Clementine’
    Apricot-orange double flowers; blooms more often; flowers last well; upright, bushy habit; suitable for container planting; winter protection required.
  • ‘Mandarin’
    Double, orange-pink flowers with yellow centres; flowers more often; dense, compact habit; medium foliage health; hardy
  • ‘Mandy’
    Semi-double flowers in blood red; repeat blooming; weak fragrance; bushy growth; good foliage health; winter hardy to a certain extent – winter protection recommended
  • ‘Orange Jewel’
    Salmon orange, densely double flowers in umbels; flowers more often; dense, compact growth; medium foliage health; long flower life.
  • ‘White Babyflor’
    Small, well-doubled flowers in white; flowers more often; compact growth; medium foliage health; ideal for container planting
Pink dwarf rose plant in a watering can
The small dwarf roses also have enough space in a pot [Photo: Anna Andersson Fotografi/ Shutterstock.com]

Garden roses

Garden roses originated in the 19th century from the crossing of repeat-flowering Chinese tea roses and European remontant roses. Therefore, they are often called tea hybrids. Garden roses are among the oldest modern roses and have brought many positive features – such as an expanded colour range, new fragrances and prolonged flowering – to rose cultivation. Negative characteristics of Chinese roses – such as increased susceptibility to rose diseases and lack of winter hardiness – are hardly significant in garden roses today due to successful breeding work.
In addition to the well-known red garden roses, there are many other colour varieties.

In the following we would like to introduce you to some particularly beautiful varieties:

  • ‘Augusta Luise’
    Large, peach-coloured flowers; fruity, sweet fragrance; strong, upright growth; reaches heights of up to 120 cm; good leaf health; hardy
  • ‘Gloria Dei’
    Also known as ‘Madame A. Meilland’ or ‘Peace’; loose, light yellow flowers with pink edges; pleasant fragrance; bushy habit; grows up to 100 cm tall; weather resistant.
  • ‘Gräfin Diana’
    Named after Countess Diana Bernadotte; purple-purple flowers; intense fragrance; upright, bushy growth; reaches heights of up to 120 cm; ADR rose; winter hardy to a certain extent
  • ‘Pascali’
    Medium-sized, pure white flowers in delicate form; delicate fragrance; rich bloom; strong, bushy habit; grows up to 70 cm tall; good foliage health
  • ‘Sutter’s Gold’
    Loose flowers in light orange with reddish tinge at the edge; strong fragrance; reaches growth heights of up to 100 cm; medium leaf health
Yellow flower of the rosa gloria dei
The rose ‘Gloria Dei’ also bears the name ‘Peace’ [Photo: VladKK/ Shutterstock.com]

Wild roses

All modern cultivated roses are descended from hardy wild roses. For ecological reasons alone, it can make sense to fall back on these original species, as the simple flowers serve as a nutrient source for bees and other insects. The fruits (rose hips), which form in late autumn, are in turn eaten by birds. But from a labour point of view, there is also something to be said for planting a wild rose. Compared to modern varieties, the wild forms are usually easier to care for and less susceptible to plant diseases.

Perhaps there is already a suitable species for your garden here:

  • Vinegar rose – Rosa gallica
    Semi-double, pink-red flowers; strong fragrance; upright, bushy growth with overhanging shoots (up to 120 cm tall); tolerates shade; high leaf health
  • Pike rose – Rosa glauca
    Cupped, light pink flowers; heavy fruiting from August; foliage shimmering bluish in summer; bushy, upright growth; grows 150 to 250 cm tall; very robust
  • Chinese golden rose – Rosa hugonis
    Small flowers in light golden yellow; blooms already in May; black-red rose hips; broad bushy, overhanging growth (up to 200 cm tall); hardy to a certain extent
  • Cluster rose – Rosa multiflora
    Numerous small white flowers; strong honey fragrance; forms rounded rose hips; upright growth with arching overhanging shoots; grows up to 300 cm tall; hardy
  • Vine rose – Rosa rubiginosa
    Simple flowers in light carmine-pink; leaves smell of apple or wine; upright growth with overhanging shoots (up to 350 cm tall); strongly prickled
Bee feeding on bright pink wild rose
Wild rose hedges are loved by people and beneficial insects alike [Photo: Nick Pecker/ Shutterstock.com]

Historic roses

Historical or old roses are the garden roses that have been cultivated the longest. They include those roses that were already in cultivation before the introduction of the first tea hybrid in 1867, even if individual varieties were only created later (for example, by crossing two old rose varieties). Depending on their lineage, a distinction can be made within the historic roses, for example, between the Gallica roses, alba roses, Damascene roses and centifolias. Among these main groups are mainly once-blooming varieties, because more frequently flowering varieties were only developed in the course of the 19th century. Characteristic of old roses are also the densely double, fragrant flowers, the stately growth and the pastel colouring of the petals.

Among the historic roses are the following varieties:

  • ‘Charles de Mills’
    Gallica rose from 1746; double, purple-purple flowers; single flowering; strong fragrance; broad bushy growth; rain and heat resistant; hardy
  • ‘Gallica Officinalis’
    Probably the oldest European cultivar (since 1310); semi-double, pink-red flowers with strong fragrance; single flowering; tolerates shade; very good foliage health
  • ‘Mme Hardy’
    French cultivar from 1832; densely double, pure white flowers with a green eye; single flowering; exudes a strong lemon fragrance; very healthy; hardy
  • ‘Mme Isaac Pereire’
    French cultivar from 1881; densely double, carmine-pink flowers; repeat flowering; strong fragrance; vigorous; medium foliage health; hardy
  • ‘Louise Odier’
    A cultivar from 1851; densely double, pure pink flowers; intense fragrance; flowers more often; shrubby growth with overhanging shoots; winter protection recommended
Pink flower of the rosa louise odier
The variety ‘Louise Odier’ makes a wonderful cut rose [Photo: Susanne Heinen/ Shutterstock.com]

Groundcover roses

Ground cover roses are nothing other than low-growing bedding or shrub roses, which is why they are often called small shrub roses in the trade. The undemanding perennial flowering roses reach heights of about 20 to 100 centimetres and usually delight with their flowering splendour until autumn. As a rule, ground cover roses are very robust, bloom readily and are long-lived. They are at their best when planted in groups of three to five plants per square metre, depending on the vigour of the variety. In combination with stem roses or colour-matching perennials and grasses, you can also create wonderful flowerbeds.

The following varieties of ground cover roses are particularly popular:

  • ‘Apple Blossom’
    Simple, white flowers in umbels; delicate fragrance; soft, flexible shoots; reaches heights of up to 80 cm; good leaf health.
  • ‘Gardener’s Delight’
    Also known as ‘Toscana’; small, double flowers in raspberry red; flat growth; reaches heights of 40 to 50 cm; very easy to care for; good leaf health; hardy
  • ‘Heath Dream’
    Numerous, carmine-pink flowers; slightly fragrant; bushy growth (up to 80 cm high); hardly any care required; flowers are rain-resistant and heat-tolerant; good foliage health
  • ‘Mainaufeuer’
    Blood-red, loosely double flowers; broad, upright growth; reaches heights of up to 60 cm; robust cultivar with good long-distance effect; hardy
  • ‘The Fairy’
    Small, strongly double flowers in salmon pink; broad bushy growth (up to 80 cm high); heat tolerant; good leaf health; suitable for embankments and slopes
Pink flowers of the rosa heidetraum
The flowers of the variety ‘Heidetraum’ exude a delicate fragrance [Photo: EvaHeaven2018/ Shutterstock.com]

Stem roses

Strictly speaking, stem roses are always made up of two varieties. This is because most roses do not form stems naturally, which is why flowering bedding or noble roses are grafted onto specially grown wild rose shoots. Depending on the height of the stem, one and the same variety is offered as a dwarf stem rose (up to 50 centimetres), a half-stem rose (up to 70 centimetres) and/or a tall stem rose (about 90 centimetres). So-called cascade stem roses are in turn varieties of climbing or rambler roses that have been grafted onto wild roses. These usually form long, overhanging shoots and reach stem heights of about 120 to 140 centimetres.

Here is a small selection of beautiful stem roses in various colours, shapes and sizes:

  • ‘Leonardo da Vinci’
    Mini rose with densely double, dark pink flowers; flower colour hardly fades; delicate fragrance; stem height of about 50 cm; medium foliage health; hardy
  • ‘Marie Curie’
    Semi-stem (about 70 cm tall) with a compact, bushy crown; depending on the weather the flowers are apricot-orange to pink; pleasant fragrance; good leaf health; hardy
  • ‘Minerva’
    Semi-stem (about 60 cm tall) with double, lilac flowers; lovely fragrance; flowers from early summer until autumn; hardy; suitable for container planting
  • ‘Goldenelse’
    Compact standard (about 90 cm tall) with double, decoratively wavy flowers in dark orange; delicate fragrance; medium foliage health; very good winter hardiness.
  • ‘Golden Celebration’
    English cascade stem rose (about 140 cm tall); splendid, heavily double flowers in rich golden yellow; intense berry fragrance; broad bushy growth; good foliage health
Pink flower of the rosa leonardo da vinci
Leonardo da Vinci’ feels particularly at home in sunny locations [Photo: mTaira/ Shutterstock.com]

Scented roses

The scent of roses not only attracts many insects, but also literally makes rose lovers go into raptures. However, the selection of scented roses is not all that large in comparison to the entire range of rose varieties, because unfortunately in recent decades rose breeding has focused mainly on appearance, i.e. flower shape and flower colour. As a result, many modern rose varieties have little or no fragrance. Today, specially bred scented roses are often descended from strongly scented wild roses. They are mainly found among the old roses, the English roses, but also among the noble roses.

Here is a small selection of popular scented roses:

  • English rose ‘Constance Spry’
    Popular shrub rose; double, pink flowers with a light edge; intense fragrance of myrrh; single flowering; upright bushy growth; low leaf health; winter hardy.
  • Fragrant rose ‘Duftwolke’
    Double, coral-red flowers; repeat flowering; intense fragrance of noble roses; bushy growth; good foliage health; awarded as World Rose and ADR Rose, among others.
  • Rose ‘Frederic Mistral’
    Large, double flowers in light pink; flowers more often; intense fragrance with a hint of lime; strong, upright, bushy growth; medium leaf health; good winter hardiness
  • Rambler rose ‘Guirlande d’Amour’
    Many semi-double, pure white flowers in racemes; flowers more often; sweet fragrance; reaches heights of up to 4 m; very good leaf health; hardy; suitable for rose arches
  • Shrub rose ‘Rose de Resht’
    Medium-sized, bright red flowers; repeat flowering; heavy rose fragrance; compact habit; good leaf health; rain and heat resistant; hardy
White flowers of the rosa guirlande d'amour
The rambler rose ‘Guirlande d’Amour’ forms small, white flowers with a sweet fragrance [Photo: Shichko/ Shutterstock.com]

We have prepared a comprehensive collection of scented rose varieties with special aromas for you here.

English roses

The rose class of English roses was coined by the Englishman David Austin. In 1961 he was the first rose breeder who succeeded in combining the characteristics of beautiful, fragrant old roses with those of modern tea hybrids, which are known for their remontage ability and their wide colour spectrum, in one variety. To date, many more varieties of David Austin’s roses have been added.

We would like to present a small selection of particularly beautiful varieties below:

  • ‘Abraham Darby’
    Double flowers in apricot to yellow-orange; fruity fragrance with a tart base note; shrubby growth with overhanging shoots (up to 200 cm high); easy to care for; hardy.
  • ‘Graham Thomas’
    Double flowers in strong yellow; intense fragrance of tea roses; upright, bushy growth; reaches heights of up to 200 cm; medium foliage health; heat tolerant; hardy
  • ‘Heritage’
    Double, light pink flowers; intense fragrance; well-branched, upright, bushy habit; reaches heights of up to 150 cm; medium foliage health; rain-resistant flowers; hardy
Peach flower of the rosa heritage
Heritage’ makes a wonderful cut flower for fragrant bouquets [Photo: finallast/ Shutterstock.com]
  • ‘Mary Rose’
    Double pink flowers; fragrance of old roses, almonds and honey; shrubby habit; reaches heights of up to 150 cm; heat and rain resistant; easy to care for.
  • ‘The Pilgrim’
    Densely double, central yellow flowers with a white edge; light fragrance; compact, bushy growth; with a climbing frame up to 350 cm tall; medium foliage health; hardy
Plantura Rose Food
Plantura Rose Food

With a long-lasting effect, for healthy soil, child & pet friendly

Red roses are an absolute classic among roses. Find the most beautiful red rose varieties in our article.

Subscribe to the Plantura newsletter