The classic rose has long been loved for its aroma and looks. However, it can be quite a diva when it comes to care, demanding plenty of fertilizer, water, and sunlight. Not so for the shrub rose. It combines all of the best characteristics of roses into a beautiful, low-maintenance plant.
There are so many shrub roses on the market and seemingly more new varieties every year. With almost every color to choose from (except true blue and green), shrub roses pair well with many other plants. The deep green foliage of shrub roses also creates a wonderful backdrop to numerous annuals and perennials, as well as formal rose blooms themselves.
Shrub Rose Care Must-Knows
Shrub roses are one of the easiest classes of roses on the market to grow. These are tough roses that have been bred to have the best attributes of all classes.
Like all roses, shrub rose requires full sun, which will allow the plant to bloom to their fullest extent on sturdy limbs. In many climates, roses are susceptible to foliar diseases, like black spot and mildews. This risk is drastically increased when your plant is in anything less than full sun. Luckily, shrub roses are more resistant to many of these problems.
When planting your roses, make sure they are in well-drained soil. If in doubt, it never hurts to amend the soil with a small amount of peat and potting soil.
Pruning Shrub Roses
Shrub roses are some of the easiest roses to prune, as well as the most foolproof. Even if you don't prune shrub roses every year, they will still bloom. The most important pruning principal with shrub roses is to remove any dead, damaged, or diseased growth as soon as possible. Typically, this is best done in late winter/early spring, just before the buds break.
Related: Tips for Pruning Roses
Also look for any branches that may be touching or rubbing together, as this can create a spot for disease to fester. If your shrub roses have been around for a while, it can be beneficial to remove some of the older growth. This will open up the interior to improve air circulation as well as promote fresh new growth from the base. Since shrub roses are generally repeat bloomers, it is best to continually deadhead old blossoms to encourage rebloom.
More Varieties of Shrub Rose
Rosa 'Ballerina' bears a delicate pastel combination of deep rosy pink and white petals in the single flowers from late spring through fall. Small rose hips follow, brightening the bare tips through the winter and attracting birds. It grows 6 feet tall. Zones 6-9
Rosa 'Blanc Double de Coubert' is a vigorous antique from late-19-century France. It produces extremely fragrant, semidouble blooms in clusters. A good repeat bloomer, it grows up to 7 feet tall. Zones 3-9
Rosa 'Meidomonac' was one of the first shrub roses, and this award winner is still one of the best. It delivers a disease-resistant performance, soft pink flowers spring to fall, and orange hips that bring winter interest to the garden. It grows 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Zones 4-9
Rosa 'Bucbi' set a standard for disease resistance coupled with continuous bloom. Its double, soft pink blooms repeat reliably from early summer to fall on upright plants. At maturity, it reaches 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Zones 4-9.
Rosa 'Meizmea' is an award-winning variety with cherry-red flowers in a continuous show from late spring through fall. The plant is vigorous and covered with dark green foliage. Grows 5 feet tall and wide. Zones 5-9
Rosa 'Meipitac' bears fully double, baby pink blooms abundantly all summer on a disease-resistant plant. It grows 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Zones 4-9
Rosa 'Wekcisbako' shows single, bright red blooms that open to reveal gold stamens. The deepest color occurs in cold temperatures. A quick repeat bloomer, the plant requires light shaping to train its strong shoots. It is extremely resistant both to black spot and powdery mildew. The rounded plant grows 4 feet tall and wide. Zones 4-9
Rosa 'Dicjeep' is an award-wining variety with vivid, deep-pink blooms that cover the low-growing plant (to 2 feet tall and wide). The leaves are glossy and show excellent disease resistance. Zones 4-9
Rosa rugosa 'Hansa' bears red-violet, cupped blooms packed with many clove-scented petals. An early, abundant flowering is followed by repeat bloom later in the season. The plant exhibits many traits of its rugosa heritage: disease resistance, thorniness, and extreme cold hardiness. It grows 5 feet tall. Zones 4-9
Rosa 'John Cabot' is a tall, vigorous variety that yields clusters of deep fuchsia-pink, fragrant blooms. The plant grows 6 feet tall. Zones 3-8
Rosa 'Radrazz' is an award-winning variety with cherry-pink blooms that have white centers and cover the plant. Small orange hips carry the show into late fall and appeal to the birds. The plants are extremely disease resistant and grow about 3 feet tall. Zones 5-9
Rosa 'Baiief' is a compact shrub that features deep pink, white-eyed blooms that fade to a lighter pink as they mature. The clustered flowers are cupped and semidouble. The disease-resistant plant grows 3 feet tall and wide. Zones 4-9
Rosa 'Bairift' features full, multipetaled white blooms opening from plump light apricot buds. The flowers appear in bunches on an upright, vigorous plant. Zones 4-9
Rosa 'Baiset' is an outstanding, heavy-blooming selection that offers bright pink flowers that blend to warm peachy-pink at the center. It grows 4 feet tall and wide. Zones 4-9
Rosa 'Baisuhe' is a disease-resistant, everblooming selection with rich red flowers. It grows 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Zones 4-9
Garden Plans for Shrub Rose
Roses, hydrangea, and a handful of perennials soften the hard edges of a wooden arbor and brick path.
Dress up your front yard—and front door—with this garden plan full of beautiful roses.
Even if you're stuck with heavy, clay soil, you can still grow a lovely garden. Follow this garden plan for a stunning design that can hold up to dense soil.
Create an eye-catching entry to your landscape with this garden plan.
This mix of flowering shrubs and perennials will fill your yard with color all summer long—plus provide interest in spring, fall, and winter.
Create a burst of fall color in your landscape with this easy-care garden plan.