Lawn & Garden

Incredible Types of Roses to Consider Planting in Your Home Landscape

Though “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” you’ll still want to know the correct category and class names of your rose types to give them the proper care.
Audrey Stallsmith Avatar
Climbing yellow roses growing near a brick house.


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Roses are more popular than ever. According to Robin Jennings of Heirloom Roses, a company specializing in roses that’s located in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, “During the COVID lockdown, lots of people got into gardening, primarily vegetable gardening like victory gardens from the 1940s. Then when life slowly returned to normal, they had all of this garden space and a new hobby. That’s when cutting-flower gardens took over.”

However, to be able to cut bouquets, you’ll need to know which types of roses are for vases and which are just for vaunting. Knowing a rose’s type also gives some clues as to when to plant them and what their regular care entails.

Types of Roses by Growth Habit

Roses can be divided into categories according to both growth habit and heritage (class). Among the different types of roses, you will find ones adapted to almost any use, including for covering ground, climbing walls, and filling containers. Note that a single rose variety could fall under one type (such as a wild rose that grows in shrub form).


According to the American Rose Society Handbook, “Shrubs are easily characterized by their sprawling habit.” A shrub rose can grow from 5 to 15 feet or more high and wide, depending on climate and growing conditions. This type of freestanding bushy rose plant generally requires no support on which to grow.


Climbing varieties of roses require a support such as a trellis or arbor on which to clamber, and they usually need to be tied to it since they don’t twine as vines often do. They also make good roses for planting against a wall—or partially on top of it. A climbing rose typically has canes that reach 5 to 20 feet long.


Miniature roses generally don’t surpass 3 feet in height, and their flowers typically are no larger than 3 inches across and often much smaller. Used as container plants or to edge flower beds, they make good choices for gardeners who don’t have room for large rose bushes nor the time to care for them. You may even be able to grow a miniature cultivar on a sunny windowsill indoors, though it will make a better outdoor rose bush.

Ground Cover

Ground cover roses usually don’t grow taller than 2½ feet, but they may spread to 6 feet or more. As their name implies, they frequently are used for covering ground, such as on slopes that might otherwise require difficult mowing. They may also be used to suppress weeds around taller-growing plants in flower beds.


Tree roses aren’t actually trees but standard roses, or roses that have been grafted onto tall bare stems so that they resemble trees. They vary in size from 1½ feet for miniature rose standards up to 3 or 4 feet for grandiflora or hybrid tea standards. Generally, the rose grafted atop the “trunk” is pruned into a rounded shape to resemble a tree canopy.

Types of Roses by Group and Class

Roses are relegated into groups and three main classes according to their origins. They vary in hardiness, with a few species surviving USDA Zone 3, possibly even 2. However, chill-requiring heirlooms often won’t bloom in zones higher than 9.

Species (Wild) Roses

A pink Rosa nitida planted in a home landscape.
Photo: Sakurai Midori, CC BY-SA 2.1 JP, via Wikimedia Commons

Species roses, also called wild roses, are the original types from which modern hybrids derived. Think of them as the wildflowers of the rose world. Many species are native to areas of North America. Usually single-flowered with no more than eight petals and blooming only once per year in late spring or early summer, they aren’t as showy as more modern types but are much more vigorous, since they often are better suited to local soil or climate conditions. They should require pruning only once per year. Varying in size from 2 to 20 feet, they generally are known by their Latin names such as Rosa glauca, R. nitida, and the like.

Key Characteristics: Height of 2 to 20 feet, single flowers
Popular Variety: Rosa nitida (pictured): Native to New England and tolerant of boggy conditions, this “shining rose” produces single pink blooms in early summer in USDA Zones 3 through 9. It grows to 3-plus feet tall with glossy dark green foliage that reddens in autumn.

Old Garden Roses

According to the American Rose Society, in 1966 the organization “defined old garden roses as those types that existed prior to 1867, the year of introduction of the very first hybrid tea.” Five of the most popular heirloom classes are listed below. The nine others are Ayrshire, Bourbon, Boursalt, China, Hybrid China, Hybrid Perpetual, Noisette, Portland, and Tea. Once-bloomers flower only once per year in late spring or early summer, followed by rose hips. Some are rebloomers, repeating their blooms throughout summer. It helps to know which type to plan how to prune them.


Large light pink Alba rose blooms.
Photo: Nadiatalent, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Although the name means “white,” once-blooming albas can be pink as well. Reportedly descended from the white rose in the War of the Roses and among the hardiest, most shade-tolerant and disease-resistant traditional roses, Albas typically grow from 5 to 12 feet high with blue-green foliage. Their cultivars include Konigin von Danemark (Queen of Denmark) and Great Maiden’s Blush.

Key Characteristics: Heights of 5 to 12 feet, semi-double or double white or pink flowers
Popular Variety: Hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 10, Great Maiden’s Blush (pictured) grows to 8 feet tall with highly fragrant, semi-double pink blooms.


Centifolia Variegata rose in a home landscape.

Often called cabbage rose, everybody’s idea of the classic garden rose plant with a name that translates to “one-hundred petaled,” centifolia is known for its very full flowers. Its once-blooming hybrids grow to 5 to 6 feet with spiny canes; gray-green foliage; and pink, white, or striped flowers. They include Fantin-Latour and Centifolia Variegata.

Key Characteristics: Heights up to 6 feet with double pink, white, or bicolored blooms
Popular Variety: Centifolia Variegata (pictured) may reach 5 feet in height in USDA Zones 5 to 9; its double blooms feature pink and white stripes for a peppermint look.


Close up of hot pink rose with yellow middle.

Originating in Damascus, damasks come in both summer and autumn varieties. The former rose types derive from a cross between Rosa gallica and Rosa phoenicea and bloom only in early summer. The latter rose varieties derive from Rosa gallica (pictured) and Rosa moschata and bloom in early summer with another flush of flowers in autumn. Damasks grow to 6 feet high with gray-green foliage and pink, white, or bicolored blooms. Hybrids include Autumn Damask and once-blooming Celsiana.

Key Characteristics: Heights to 6 feet; potential rebloom in autumn; pink, white, or bicolored double blooms
Popular Variety: Hardy in USDA Zones 4 through 10, Celsiana generally tops off at about 6 feet and produces luminous semi-double, highly fragrant pink blooms that age to white.

Hybrid Gallica

Large rose with striped pink petals.

Their name references their Gallic (French) origins, and these once-blooming roses typically don’t surpass 4 feet in height. They offer dark green foliage and flowers in a wide range of colors and forms, which can be single, semi-double, or fully double. Cultivars include Officinalis, aka the Apothecary Rose or the Red Rose of Lancaster, and the striped Rosa Mundi.

Key Characteristics: Heights to 4 feet; single, semi-double, or double blooms in a variety of colors and bicolors.
Popular Variety: A 16th-century rose that looks more modern, Rosa Mundi (pictured) grows to 4 feet in USDA Zones 4 through 8 and offers semi-double blooms striped in pink, white, and crimson.


Large deep purple rose around buds.

Sports (genetic mutations) of centifolia and damask roses, the moss cultivars have a growth resembling moss—actually tubercles—on their buds and stems. According to The New Sunset Western Garden Book edited by Kathleen Norris Brenzel, “The ‘moss’ of centifolias is soft; that of damasks is more prickly.” The bushes typically top off between 3 and 6 feet, and their single or double flowers can be red, white, pink, or purplish. Hybrids include Crested Moss and William Lobb.

Key Characteristics: Heights between 2 and 8 feet; red, white, pink, or purple flowers; mossy buds and stems
Popular Variety: Hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 11 and also called Old Velvet Moss, William Lobb (pictured) grows to 6 feet high and has purplish magenta blooms displayed to advantage against heavily mossed buds.

Modern Roses

All of the types of roses listed below were developed after the advent of the first hybrid tea rose, La France, in 1867. That pink cultivar derived from a cross between a hybrid perpetual rose and an heirloom tea rose and would be the precursor of many more plants bred to produce larger and more frequent blooms. While modern roses make better cut flowers than heirlooms, they often are less fragrant than the traditional types.

Polyantha and Floribunda

Rosa hot cocoa flower in a home landscape.
Photo: David J. Stang, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The first polyantha arrived on the scene shortly after the first hybrid tea, one of its parents being a dwarf version of Rosa multiflora. As a consequence, polyanthas generally are 2- to 3-foot-high everblooming roses that produce small flowers in clusters. They were crossed with hybrid teas to produce larger flowers on the plants now known as floribundas. Floribundas can grow to 5 feet, remaining in constant bloom better than hybrid teas do.

Key Characteristics: Heights between 2 and 5 feet, everblooming flowers in clusters
Popular Variety: Hot Cocoa tops off at 4 feet in USDA Zones 5 to 10 with everblooming double flowers of a chocolate-orange hue.

Hybrid Tea and Grandiflora

Yellow and pink hybrid tea Peace rose in a home landscape.
Photo: Geoff McKay from Palmerston North, New Zealand, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hybrid teas remain among the most popular roses with 4- to 8-inch-diameter blooms on bushes to 5-plus feet tall. They produce flushes of flowers intermittently every 6 weeks or so. The crossing of Charlotte Armstrong with the polyantha Floradora resulted in Queen Elizabeth, and a new class called the grandifloras, which grow to 8 feet and bear large blooms in clusters. Grandiflora hybrids include the aforementioned Queen Elizabeth, and hybrid tea cultivars include Peace.

Key Characteristics: Heights between 5 and 8 feet, large flowers produced in flushes
Popular Variety: Probably the most well-known hybrid tea rose, Peace (pictured) debuted just after World War II and has remained a favorite ever since in USDA Zones 5 to 10, where it grows up to 4 feet high and has yellow flowers edged in pink.

Large-Flowered Climber

Multiple pink rose blooms on climbing rose bush.

Often sports (genetic mutations) of shrub roses, these modern climbers make long canes that can reach from 8 to 20 feet and must be attached to supports rather than attaching themselves. They reportedly can grow more slowly and flower less consistently than their shorter kin. Cultivars include Climbing Peace and Compassion.

Key Characteristics: Heights between 8 and 20 feet, large blooms
Popular Variety: Producing fragrant pink and apricot blooms in USDA Zones 5 to 10, Compassion (pictured) can reach 6 or 7 feet high.

Miniature and Miniflora

Rainbows End miniature rose bush in a home flower bed.

Miniature rose bush plants grow only 1 to 3 feet tall with ½-inch to 3-inch flowers that are proportional to the shrub’s size. Minifloras evolved from crosses between miniatures and floribundas and top out between 2½ and 4½ feet. The size of their blooms is larger than for typical miniatures but smaller than those of floribundas. Miniflora cultivars include Autumn Splendor, while miniatures include Rainbow’s End.

Key Characteristics: Heights between 1 and 4½ feet; produces small flowers
Popular Variety: Hardy in USDA Zones 5 to 10, Rainbow’s End (pictured) grows only to about 1½ feet high and offers miniature yellow blooms edged in red.


Multiple yellow rose blooms.

According to Steve Jones of the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society, “This is a catchall group. They are generally roses that are hybrids of species or roses that do not fit nicely in other classes.” They may also include modern landscape roses that are bred for disease resistance. Jones adds that roses in the shrub class can vary botanically. Hybrids include David Austin’s Golden Celebration (pictured) and Buck’s Distant Drums.

Key Characteristics: Bush heights and flower forms vary
Popular Variety: Distant Drums: This Griffith Buck rose offers unusual lavender and tan blooms on an everblooming bush that grows to 4 feet in USDA Zones 5 to 10.