Roses come in many types, or classes -- from miniatures less than a foot tall to large shrubs to towering climbers. Use this gallery of roses to learn about the benefits of each type, and how you might use them in your landscape.
Probably the most commonly sold type of rose, hybrid teas are beloved for their wonderful range of colors and classic high-centered, tapered buds. The flowers are large and bloom on long stems that make them unmatched for cutting. They are often repeat bloomers, producing flowers all summer and fall. Fragrance ranges from none at all to intensely fragrant, depending on the cultivar. The tradeoff with hybrid teas is that they tend to be less hardy than many other roses and in some cases, more disease-prone; a regimen of spraying is usually needed to keep them in tiptop condition.
Modern shrub roses, as distinct from classic shrub roses, are a family of rose hybrids first developed by David Austin in the 1970s. They are a cross of old garden rose with hybrid tea roses and other modern varieties. They combine the fragrance and form of old roses with the strength, hardiness, and long bloom season of modern hybrids.
Rugosas are "classic" shrub roses, a family of roses developed before the era of modern shrub roses introduced by David Austin. The name rugosa refers to the highly textured leaves. Like many older rose varieties, they are generally fast growing, large, and resistant to most pests and diseases.
Grandiflora roses combine the flower form of hybrid teas with the flower clusters seen in floribundas. As a class, grandifloras are taller than hybrid teas, ranging up to 8 feet, and many have large flowers as well. Many are repeat bloomers. Fragrance varies from none to very aromatic. Like hybrid teas, grandifloras are less hardy than many other roses and in some cases, more disease prone; a regimen of spraying is usually needed to keep them in tiptop condition.
Delightful little downsized versions of larger rose bushes, miniatures grow just 6 to 24 inches tall with appropriately miniature flowers. They're wonderful in containers, window boxes, beds, and borders. They can even be used as houseplants during the winter. Planted outdoors in masses, they make a charming small-scale ground cover. Some are fragrant, depending on the cultivar.
A type of shrub rose, floribundas are the workhorses of the rose world. Unlike some roses, they bloom profusely summer through fall on shrubby, attractive foliage growing a manageable 2 to 4 feet. And although their blooms tend to be smaller than hybrid tea roses, floribundas make up for the difference by producing large clusters of 2- to 3-inch flowers.
Moss roses are old garden roses, a group which encompass several families, including Alba, Bourbon, Centifolia, Damask, Gallica, Moss, Noisette, Portland, and Tea roses. They are the ancestors of modern roses, such as hybrid teas. Like their wild counterpoints, these roses are rugged and often quite hardy. Many are very fragrant. Although they produce only one season of flowers each year, species roses produce attractive hips later in the year.
Climbing roses add instant romance (and a welcome vertical accent) to any garden. They can be very easy to grow as long as you choose the right one for your climate and site. Only a few climbing roses are hardy into Zones 3 through 4, for example. And check the size. Climbing roses tend to be small, about 7 to 10 feet. Rambler roses also climb, but grow larger and wider. Fragrance varies by cultivar but climbing roses, as a rough rule, are less likely to be fragrant than shrub roses. Most climbing roses bloom just once, but some will bloom sporadically until frost.