When we picture roses, we tend to think of red blooms on long stems with the occasional thorn. But despite their image in popular culture, there are over 150 types of roses and thousands of hybrids, in nearly every color and shape.
Though there is no single way to categorize roses, most specialists divide them into three categories: Modern Garden Roses, Old Garden Roses, and Wild Roses, under which specific blooms fall. Modern Garden Roses, also known as hybrid tea roses, are varieties bred after 1867, and are what most of us picture when we think of roses. They bloom continuously, with a larger bloom size than other rose varieties, as well as a longer vase life. However, they lack fragrance and are generally less hardy.
Old Garden Roses, sometimes called heritage roses, are a traditional class of roses that pre-date the hybrid tea rose. They are known for their strong fragrance and high peal count, and are fairly disease-resistant, with an incredible ability to withstand the cold. They bloom once a year, in the summertime. Finally, Wild Roses, like the Old Garden Roses, are hardy plants that can survive on minimal maintenance, and are often five-petal flowers that bloom in early summer. Many grow quite large, and may even form thickets. Wild roses can be found throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and are some of the oldest flowers around!
Each of these types of roses contains dozens of different blooms, from rare roses to ones sold at the supermarket. With so many different rose varieties, it can be easy to stick with what’s familiar (hint: traditional red). However, we think you should branch out and find a new bloom. Here are ten of our favorite roses that you might not know much about!
A species of rose originating in eastern Asia (China, Japan, Korea, and even southwestern Siberia!), this ruffled bloom grows on sand dunes and along coasts. While it might seem like one of the more rare roses, it is now as common on the shores of New England as it is on the dunes of Siberia.
In other countries, the beach rose has a common name that refers to its resemblance to the tomato, including beach tomato or sea tomato. These fragrant flowers are common in potpourri and have been used in Eastern medicine for centuries. Though a little prickly, the beach rose’s hardiness, continuous blooms, and sweet smell make it the perfect low maintenance garden rose.
Yes, that’s really the name, but oddly enough this bloom is not from Texas. A hybrid bloom born in the 19th century, its also known as Harison’s Yellow. First having bloomed at the suburban villa of New York City attorney George Folliott Harison, it has found its home in abandoned gardens throughout the west and can even be found along the Oregon Trail.
A bright yellow rose with a fruity fragrance, the flower got its misnomer from a traditional American folk song written in 1830 and popularized in the 1950s: Yellow Rose of Texas, which was even nominated by the Western Writers of America as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.
Dr. Huey Rose
The Dr. Huey Rose, a dark red hybrid, was introduced in 1914 by Captain George C. Thomas in the United States. It very well may be the most widely grown across the United States, however accidentally, as it is invasive and tends to take over neglected bushes. But you have to hand it to the Dr. Huey, which bears gorgeous clusters of deep red, semi-double blossoms with prominent yellow stamens in the late spring/early summer, and can be trained to be fantastic climbing plants.
Grandiflora is one of the few rose varieties with a straightforward name: it’s the Latin translation for “large-flowered”. Grandiflora roses are shrubs that are typically larger than hybrid teas, but produce flowers resembling them. The Grandiflora had its heyday from about 1954 into the 1980s, but miniature roses and hybrid teas seem to have eclipsed this big bloom.
Miniature roses are a mutation of Old Garden Roses that come both as once-flowering and repeat-flowering blooms. Modern miniature roses are largely derived from repeat-blooming Chinese roses, grown and bred there and featured heavily in 18th-century Chinese art. They are tiny blooms that come in all the same hues that hybrid tea roses do.
The Tiffany Rose is a fragrant, hardy bloom that belongs to the hybrid tea family. This bloom is well known specifically for its fragrance, which boasts hints of citrus, spice, and fruit. People say the scent is close to that of pumpkin pie or clove.
First cultivated as an ornamental plant in – you guessed it – China, this shrub grows 1-2m tall and boasts five pink to red petals. They grow wild across China, and have been used to breed many modern garden roses (hello: miniatures). They are popular for breeding because of their lush repeat blooms.
Also known as a Ruse de Mai or a Provence Rose, the Cabbage Rose was bred by the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries. Known for their “one-hundred-petaled” bloom, they look like the inside of a cabbage. They are a cross between Alba and Damask roses, and while they are tough, disease-resistant plants that can withstand the winter, they only bloom once per season. When they are out, however, their color is a gorgeous light to dark pink.
Also known as the White Rose of York, this hybrid tea flower is of unknown parentage that has been cultivated in Europe since ancient times. It is a winter-hardy garden shrub that is often used in cross-breeding to create new blooms. The white bloom is a symbol of Yorkshire, hence the source of the flower’s name (a historic county in Northern England).
This bloom made its way onto a coat of arms for the House of York, and was even included in the War of the Roses – a series of English civil wars for the control of the throne of England, fought between the House of Lancaster (associated with a red rose) and the House of York (white).
Damask Roses are renowned for their fragrance and are commercially harvested for rose oil, which is used in perfumes, rose water, cold creams and facial toner. One perk of the Damask rose is that its petals are edible: rose water is often used in sweets, but the petals also find their way into garnishes, herbal teas, baked goods (think: lavender and rose water scones) and even ice cream.
With their ubiquity on Valentine’s Day and other romantic occasions, it’s understandable to think of roses as a cliche. But in light of their incredible diversity, from rare roses to hardy invasive varieties, we think all types of roses deserve some love! You can also learn about the meaning of yellow roses and find out which roses smell the best. Don’t forget to check out some of our favorite rose Bouqs for your next occasion!Shop All