Roses are an excellent addition to Colorado landscapes. While there are dozens of rose classifications listed by the American Rose Society, most roses grown in Colorado fit into one of the following types: hybrid tea, miniature, floribunda, grandiflora, climbing and shrub.
Hybrid tea roses are grown for their flowers, and not necessarily for foliage. Hybrid teas have the greatest color range of any rose, but the shape of the plant and thorny stems make it less desirable as a landscape plant. Stems usually bear one flower, which are perfectly formed and often fragrant. Common hybrid tea roses include ‘Memorial Day’, ‘Mr. Lincoln’ and ‘Peace’.
Known for their petite size and flowers, miniature roses are usually less than two feet in height and their flowers resemble those of hybrid tea roses. Single or double flowers bloom in all colors. Everything on the plant is small—leaves, flower and habit. These plants are excellent for containers and also for garden borders. Popular varieties include ‘Autumn Sunblaze’, ‘Magic Carousel’ and ‘Snow Bride’.
Floribunda roses have flowers in clusters, which bloom profusely throughout the season with some fragrance. Plants are more compact, making them a nice addition to the landscape. Good selections include ‘Our Lady of Guadalupe’, ‘First Edition’ and ‘Nicole.’
Similar in habit to floribunda roses, but with larger flowers, grandifloras bloom for longer periods of time. Flower size is comparable to hybrid teas and these plants may have clustered flowers. Some favor the flowers of grandifloras over those of hybrid teas. Recommended varieties include ‘Pink Parfait’, ‘Queen Elizabeth’ and ‘Tournament of Roses’.
Climbing roses can be successfully grown in Colorado and are repeat-bloomers that bloom on new wood formed that season. Climbing roses that bloom on old wood tend to suffer from winter kill. These plants are vigorous and often grow up to five feet or more per season and require support. Two climbing roses that do well are ‘The Sky’s the Limit’ and ‘Dortmund.’
The shrub rose category encompasses roses that come in a variety of sizes (3-10’ tall) and vary greatly in flower form—from single, to double to clustered. Shrub roses can be used as hedges, screens, barriers or as specimen plants. These roses are considered to be some of the hardiest and most successful for Colorado. Included in this group are the English roses developed by David Austin, such as ‘Gertrud Jekyll’. While shrub roses aren’t known to be repeat bloomers, these plants are relatively carefree and need little maintenance. Suggested cultivars include ‘Sunrise Sunset’, ‘Knockout’ and ‘Morden Sunrise’.
Old garden roses are those introduced prior to 1867, but many are not hardy to Colorado. They are similar to shrub roses and include ‘Austrian Copper.’ Rugosa roses are another type and have recurrent blooms, good disease resistance and are extremely fragrant. While these plants are very thorny, sited in the right place, they can be a show-stopper. Consider ‘Purple Pavement’ or ‘Blanc Double de Coubert’.