Wild roses are found throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere, from the Arctic Circle as far south as India and northern Mexico. They are not found anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere.
Roses appear in frescoes painted by the ancient Minoan Culture on Crete. Ancient Greek writers and poets first describe them. Rose oil was used as a medicine. The Romans used roses extensively in medicines and perfumes.
The Greeks grew Gallica roses (Rosa gallica), which grow wild in Europe. They have five to twenty petals or more. One kind was called Centifolia (Rosa x centifolia). But they bloom only once each summer.
The Romans grew Dog roses (Rosa canina) with five petals, White roses (Rosa x alba) and Gallica roses. Later, the Romans and the Egyptians grew Damask roses (Rosa x damascena), which was a hybrid between Gallica roses and Phoenician roses from the Middle East. Damask roses are so named because Crusaders reportedly brought them to Europe from Damascus. Historical evidence is contradictory.
The Romans discovered one variety called Damask Perpetual because it bloomed more than once each summer. It became fashionable to spread rose petals several inches deep at Roman banquets. They were grown in hothouses or brought over from Egypt by the shipload.
Roses fell out of favor after the fall of the Roman Empire. However, old varieties were preserved in monastery gardens where they were used medicinally.
After the end of the Middle Ages, Dutch trading ships brought many rose varieties to the Netherlands and rose breeding began. They produced Cabbage roses or Centifolia roses, so named because they had about a hundred petals on each flower.
Rose breeding got a big boost when Empress Josephine, wife of Napoleon, began collecting roses in her garden at Malmaison. In spite of the war, a British ship allowed a captured French ship to continue on its way because it was carrying roses for Josephine’s garden. She eventually collected hundreds of varieties of roses.
Another big boost for rose breeding came in the 1830’s when Chinese roses naturally crossed with European roses on the Isle of Bourbon. Chinese roses are not as hardy or as fragrant but they bloom continuously and some have bright red flowers. The resulting rose varieties are called Hybrid Perpetuals.
Further cross breeding with the Tea roses from China produced the first Hybrid Teas about 1870. Additional cross breeding with Rosa foetida to get good yellow and orange colors produced the modern Hybrid Teas about 1900. The bushes are normally four to five feet tall.
Floribunda roses were produced in the 1920’s by crossing Hybrid Tea roses with Multiflora roses (Rosa rugosa), which are also called Polyantha roses, from Japan. Floribunda roses have clusters of flowers. The bushes are normally three to four feet tall.
Grandiflora roses were produced in the 1950’s by crossing Floribunda roses with Hybrid Tea roses. The flowers are smaller and are either in clusters or single. The bushes are normally five to six feet tall.
Rose breeding in the late 1800’s produced bright red and clear yellow flowers. In the mid 1900’s, rose breeders tried to produce a true blue rose. Many claimed that they had but the roses were either lavender or mauve. No one has yet produced a true blue or a true black rose.
English roses were produced when David Austen started crossing modern roses with Centifolia roses and other old varieties. Most English roses resemble Centifolia roses in having numerous petals and a flat top. They are more fragrant and usually hardier like the old shrub roses but continuous blooming like modern roses.
Hybrid Tea roses have a single rose on each stem. Most bushes grow four to five feet tall. They are the best choice for flower arranging since they have a longer stem.
Floribunda roses have cluster of roses on each stem. Most bushes grow three to four feet tall. They produce more color in the landscape.
Grandiflora roses have either a single rose or a cluster of roses on each stem. Most bushes grow 5 to 6 feet tall.
Miniature roses are almost identical to the roses above except that the bushes and flowers are much smaller. Most bushes grow one to two feet tall.
Tree roses can be any of the above types that have been grafted onto a tall stem.
Climbing roses have very strong growing canes that can be trained up a trellis. Some varieties produce flowers only on older wood.
The Flower Carpet roses are groundcover roses, which are disease resistant and also evergreen in the Portland area. They are now available in red, scarlet, white, pink, appleblossom, yellow, coral and amber.
Shrub roses, including English roses, rugosa roses and old roses are generally hardier than the first three types.
One big disadvantage of having Chinese roses in the parentage of modern roses is that they are much less cold hardy than the old shrub roses. Most modern roses are killed when winter temperatures reach five to ten degrees. Recently, there is revived interest in old shrub roses because of their hardiness. Rugosa roses (Rosa rugosa) and other nearly wild roses have also become more popular.
These roses have proven to be very winter hardy in the Portland area.
America Pink Climber Angel Face Lavender Floribunda Betty Prior Pink Floribunda China Doll Pink Polyantha Chrysler Imperial Maroon Hybrid Tea Double Delight Red/White Hybrid Tea F. J. Grootendorst Red Rugosa Fragrant Cloud Orange-red Hybrid Tea French Lace Ivory Floribunda Golden Showers Yellow Climber Handel Red/White Climber Hansa Red-violet Rugosa Iceberg White Floribunda Kordes Perfecta Red Hybrid Tea Love Scarlet/white Grandiflora Miss All-American Beauty Red Hybrid Tea Mr. Lincoln Deep red Hybrid Tea New Dawn Pink/White Climber New Day Yellow Hybrid Tea Oklahoma Dark Red Hybrid Tea Olympiad Red Hybrid Tea Paradise Pink-lavender Hybrid Tea Pascali White Hybrid Tea Peace Yellow/Pink Hybrid Tea Pink Grootendorst Pink Rugosa Pristine White/Pink Hybrid Tea Queen Elizabeth Pink Grandiflora Sterling Silver Lavender Hybrid Tea Tiffany Pink Hybrid Tea Tropicana Orange-red Hybrid Tea White Lightning White Hybrid Tea
Even hardier are the Buck Roses which were produced at Iowa State University by my college professor, Dr. Griffith Buck. Many are hardy enough to survive –25 degrees with no protection.
There are several features about roses to consider. Flower color is the most important but there is also flower shape and number of petals. Fragrance, hardiness and disease resistance is also important. Another consideration is whether the flowers will be viewed in flower arrangements or on the bush.
One thing that is not important is whether or not the variety is patented. It does not indicate anything about the quality of the rosebush. None of the older varieties were patented. Almost all of the newer varieties are patented. The only difference is that the non-patented varieties should be less expensive because the grower does not have to pay the patent royalty fee.
The American Rose Society has a system of rating roses based on their appearance and overall quality. The best new introductions each year are designated as All American Rose Selections. One amateur rose breeder managed to have all three of his introductions selected as AARS that year: Love, Honor and Cherish.
When selecting individual rose bushes, there are some things to look for. Rose bushes are graded as #1, #1.5, #2 or #3. A #1 rose has at least three strong canes. A #1.5 has two strong canes and at least one more cane. A #2 has two strong canes or at least three medium canes. The grade indicates how strongly the rose bush grew in the field. Often, a bush that grows weakly in the field will remain weak the rest of its life. Also, the canes should be spaced out rather than clumped on one side of the bush.
Roses do best in full sun. They should have a minimum of eight hours of direct sun in the summer. Also, roses do not like to compete with tree roots so they should be kept away from large trees.
Some people plant roses in beds with nothing else growing with them except perhaps some low perennials. Rose beds are not that attractive in the winter but they are a natural choice for the back yard where their summer color can be appreciated. Other people work them into the landscape with other flowering shrubs.
Loosen the soil deeply and add soil amendments such as compost or potting soil so the soil at the base of the roses is higher than the surrounding soil. Lime and bone meal are also good to add to neutralize acid soil and to add phosphorus to encourage flowers. Dig a hole wider than the roots so the roots are not curled back on themselves. For bare root roses, create a cone in the center of the hole and spread out the roots, then fill in the hole. Press on the soil just enough that it holds the bush firmly in place but do not pack the soil hard.
The knob on the stem where the rosebush is grafted should be an inch above the soil where winters are mild and rainy. The knob should be at ground level in medium winter areas. The knob should be an inch underground in cold winter areas. After planting, the bush should be surrounded with an inch deep layer of mulch such as bark dust or compost.
After planting, the rose bush needs to be watered deeply to settle the soil around the roots. A dike of soil can be created around the rose bush to hold water while it is soaking in. The dike needs to be flattened before winter rains begin so water does not stand around the bush.
English roses and other shrub roses are not cut lower than waist height but crowded and spindly canes are removed. Each year, an old cane should be removed to make room for a new cane. Climbing roses are also pruned to remove crowded and spindly canes.
Always cut just above a bud and slope the cut away from the bud. Since the top bud grows the most, cut to a bud that is pointed away from surrounding canes.
Dead and diseased wood should be removed immediately.
During the growing season, spent flowers should be cut off. The leaves just below a flower are not fully formed and the buds may not be fully formed either. The stem should be cut off just above a fully formed leaf to insure a healthy bud. The stem can be cut even lower if the bush is getting too tall.
Aphids and thrips are the worst insects on roses. Aphids can be controlled with many insecticides or even a strong spray of water. Thrips are harder to control because they hide inside the flower buds. Thrips can cause the flower buds to turn brown inside and never open. They also produce small circles with bleached out color on the flower petals. A systemic insecticide is needed to control thrips, either Orthene or Systemic Rose Care.
Black spot, rust and powdery mildew are the three most common rose diseases. Black spot is a problem almost every year but rust is worse some years than others. Powdery mildew does not appear until warmer weather. Disease control needs to be applied regularly starting as soon as the leaves begin to grow. Funginex or neem oil is effective control for all three diseases. Wilt-Pruf, an anti-dessicant, is also very effective disease control. It forms a protective layer on the leaf to prevent disease.
These roses have better than average disease resistance.
Aimbridge Rose Apricot English Altissimo Red Climber Amber Queen Amber Pink Floribunda America Pink Climber Apothecary Rose Magenta Gallica Autumn Sunset Apricot Gold Climber Barbara Streisand Pink/Mauve Hybrid Tea Betty Prior Pink Floribunda Bewitched Pink Hybrid Tea Blanc Double de Coubert White Rugosa Bonica Pink Floribunda Brandy Golden Apricot Hybrid Tea Bride’s Dream Pink Hybrid Tea Buff Beauty Apricot Musk Carefree Delight Pink Groundcover Cecile Bruner Light Pink Climber Celstial Pale Pink Damask Celsiana Pale Pink Damask Collette Pink Climber Compassion Pink Climber Dainty Bess Pink Hybrid Tea Don Juan Dark Red Climber Dortmund Red Climber Dublin Bay Red Climber Elina Soft Yellow Hybrid Tea Europeana Red Floribunda Flora Danica Copper Orange Hybrid Tea Flower Carpet Series Pink, Red, White Groundcover Flutterbye Yellow/Pink Shrub Folklore Warm Salmon Hybrid Tea Fragrant Cloud Orange/Red Hybrid Tea Fragrant Memory Lavender/Pink Hybrid Tea Frederic Mistral Light Pink Hybrid Tea French Lace Ivory Floribunda George Burns Yellow/Red Hybrid Tea Ghislaine de Felgonde Pale Orange Multiflora Golden Showers Yellow Climber Gourmet Popcorn White Miniature Graham Thomas Golden Yellow English Handel Red/White Climber Hansa Magenta Rugosa Honor White Hybrid Tea Iceberg Icy White Floribunda Intrigue Plum Floribunda Jingle Bells Red Blend Miniature Joseph’s Coat Yellow/Red Climber Just Joey Buff Orange Hybrid Tea Kardinal Bright Red Hybrid Tea Karen Blixen White Hybrid Tea Kathryn Morley Soft Pink English Keepsake Deep Pink Hybrid Tea Las Vegas Orange/Copper Yellow Hybrid Tea Liebenszauber Red Hybrid Tea Liverpool Echo Orange/Pink Floribunda Liverpool Remembers Orange/Red Hybrid Tea Livin’ Easy Apricot/Orange Floribunda Love Scarlet/White Grandiflora Lynn Anderson Cream/Pink Hybrid Tea Margaret Merril White Floribunda Matangi Orange Red Floribunda Mister Lincoln Deep Red Hybrid Tea Moonshadow Silver/Lavender Hybrid Tea New Dawn Pink/White Climber New Zealand Pink Hybrid Tea Nicole Pink/White Floribunda Octoberfest Yellow/Orange Grandiflora Olympiad Red Hybrid Tea Oregold Yellow Hybrid Tea Pascali White Hybrid Tea Peace Yellow/Pink Hybrid Tea Perfume Delight Rose Pink Hybrid Tea Playboy Red/Yellow Floribunda Playgirl Pink Floribunda Polka Golden Apricot Climber Pristine White/Pink Hybrid Tea Prosperity White Musk Queen Elizabeth Pink Grandiflora Regensberg Deep Pink Floribunda Robin Hood Rose Pink Musk Rosa alba White to Pink Old Garden Rosa robusta Scarlet Rugosa Rosamundi Red/White Hybrid Tea Royal Sunset Apricot Climber Sally Holmes Ivory Climber Scentimental Red/White Floribunda Secret Ivory/Pink Hybrid Tea Sexy Rexy Pink Floribunda Showbiz Red Floribunda Signature Pink/White Hybrid Tea Silver Jubilee Silvery Pink Peach Hybrid Tea Summer’s Kiss Soft Amber Hybrid Tea Sunsprite Yellow Floribunda The Fairy Light Pink Polyantha Therese Bugnet Pink/Lavender Rugosa Tiffany Pink Hybrid Tea Timeless Deep Pink Hybrid Tea Topaz Jewel Pale Yellow Rugosa Tournament of Roses Coral Pink Grandiflora Trumpeter Orange Red Floribunda Valencia Apricot Cream Hybrid Tea Voodoo Orange Blend Hybrid Tea Viva Dark Red Floribunda Voodoo Orange Blend Hybrid Tea Wild Spice White Rugosa Wildberry Breeze Pink/Lavender Rugosa Wonderstripe Rose/White Floribunda Yves Piaget Mauve Pink Hybrid Tea
Of the roses rated by the Oregon State Extension Service, the most disease-resistant roses on the list are:
Hybrid Teas: Electron, Just Joey, Keepsake, Las Vegas, Silver Jubilee and Voodoo.
Grandifloras: Love, Tournament of Roses.
Floribundas: Europeana, Impatient, Liverpool Echo, Matangi, Playboy, Playgirl, Regensberg, Sexy Rexy, Showbiz, Trumpeter and Viva.
Climbers: Dortmund, Dublin Bay and Royal Sunset.
Common and Scientific Names of Trees, Shrubs, Vines & Perennials
Spring Perennial Color
Summer Perennial Color
Fall Perennial Color
Winter and All Year Perennial Color
All Perennials in Alphabetical Order
Spring Shrub Color
Summer Shrub Color
Fall Shrub Color
Winter Shrub Color
All Year Shrubs
All Shrubs in Alphabetical Order
Spring Tree Color
Summer Tree Color
Fall Tree Color
Winter Tree Color
All Trees in Alphabetical Order
Spring and Summer Vine Color
Fall and Winter Vine Color and All Year Vines
All Vines in Alphabetical Order
More information can be found on my webpages:
Annuals, Biennials, Perennials and Bulbs
Fruit Tree Tips
Herbs for the Kitchen and Landscape
Oregon Invasive Plants
Oregon Native Landscape Plants
Planting a Vegetable Garden
Planting in Clay Soil
Preferred Soil pH
Pruning for Shade, Flowers and Fruit
Remove Trees Roots and All
Rod's Garden Pruning
Seasonal Pruning Guide
Trees and Shrubs in the Landscape
Water Wise Gardening
Winter Plant Protection
The Bible Story