From Basic Rose Growing in Tidewater, Virginia by Master Gardeners Leslie Bowie, Gloucester; Lisa Broudy, Newport New; Jan Spencer, Hampton

Roses have universal appeal and continue to be the world's most popular flower.  A great many varieties are available for planting in formal gardens, borders, banks, around lawns, on arbors and trellises, as specimen tree roses, for use as bedding plants, ground covers, hedges, and for cut flowers.  Improved varieties have increased appreciation for roses and now there is a rose for almost every garden.

Classes of Roses

There are three basic classifications based on habits of growth, and care:  Modern, Old Garden Roses (OGRs), and shrubs.  Modern roses include hybrid teas, floribundas, grandifloras, tree and patio types, climbers, David Austin English roses, and miniature roses.

Hybrid Teas

These roses are more widely grown than other types.  They are the roses sold by florists with long stems and single blooms.  Hybrid teas are limitless in variety, color, forms, and scent.


Floribunda blooms are borne in clusters on a generally less demanding and smaller bush.  The individual blooms often resemble hybrid teas.  Consider using this rose especially where a large display of flowers is desired or in an area where there is limited space.


These varieties grow vigorously, and generally with many flowers in clusters but with individual stems long enough for cutting.  The overall bush size is likely to be larger than the hybrid teas.

Tree and Patio

Also called standard, trees and patios are distinctive because of the form of the plant rather than type of flowers.  These roses are made by grafting any type of rose on an upright trunk of varying height; the tree rose being taller than the patio.  Many popular varieties are available as tree or patio roses.


Miniature rose plants generally grow 6" to 18" tall and have small leaves and flowers.  Minis are available in almost as many varieties of color and form as their larger counterparts.  They are more cold hardy than the hybrid teas, and grandifloras, and floribundas.

Climbing Roses

Climbing roses produce long canes and are used on fences, trellises, and sometimes as ground cover to help hold soil on slopes and banks.

David Austin or English Roses

These modern roses, hybridized by David Austin since the 1960s, have the form and smell of old-fashioned roses and the bright colors of the hybrid teas.  The bushy shrub-type plants come in a wide range of heights, varying from 3 ft. and suitable for small gardens, to 6 ft. or better for those who have the room to enjoy them.

Old Garden Roses.

OGRs are noted for fragrance, soft pleasing color, and old-fashioned form with many, many petals.  They generally produce more blooms per bush than hybrid teas.  The bushes are usually larger and more resistant to disease and pests than many modern roses.  Examples of OGRs include Bourbons, China Roses, Damasks, Gallicas, and Species roses.


Shrub roses include rugosas, polyanthas, and landscape roses.  The rugosas are noted for their "wrinkled" leaves and numerous splinter-like thorns.  They are susceptible to chemical burn and should not be sprayed with pesticides.  Salt-tolerant and cold hardy, these roses make excellent low-maintenance plants.

Polyanthas are not as large as floribundas.  The flowers also are smaller and are borne in clusters.  Polyanthas are hardy and can be used for planting in beds or borders with perennials.  Landscape roses are those used in mass plantings or hedges where low-maintenance and mass color are desired.

*Knock Out Roses

This new breed of shrub roses was introduce in the year 2000 by The Conard-Pyle C./Star Roses and was created by Wisconsin rose breeder William Radler.  This variety is found to be cold hardy, disease resistant and very floriferous.  It is cold hardy to zone 5 and can withstand heat throughout the U.S.  Blooms are produced from spring to the first hard frost.  The bush should be pruned down to about 12" and shaped through its growing season using hand pruners.  Dead-heading encourages more blooming.  Fertilize about once a month.  Watering should be done at the base of the plant.

*Added information.

Classifications of Roses

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