A Rose is a Rose is a Rose?

Pink rose at Sensible Gardening and Living

Not exactly. Roses are very useful in the garden because there are so many different types of roses, each having their own characteristics. You have roses that climb, large and small shrubs and ground covers. Roses fall into a few main categories which I list below with a general description of their traits. There is much more to learn about roses but this is a good start.

Rose Alchemyst / Sensible Gardening and Living

Climbing Rose

Climbing roses are not the same as vines. They are roses that send up stiff woody canes reaching for the sun. The only thing they have to help hang on to anything is their thorns. Once the cane has reached sunlight they begin to grow horizontal shoots where the flowers are born. Best to grow them on walls and trellises so the branches can be trained laterally. Often the flowers are born in large clusters.

Pillar Roses

They do not climb as high as climbers, only to about 10 feet maximum. Use them on posts or fences.


A type of climbing rose that have very long flexible canes. They tend to  bloom only once in early summer.

Hybrid Teas

Hybrid Tea roses usually has a large flower with many petals and a high center. This is a compact shrub type growing to about 3 to 4 feet. Colors range from red, pink, white, yellow, orange, and combinations of these tones. They flower throughout the summer. The hybrid teas have become very popular in modern gardens.

Miniature Roses

These roses are dwarf, ranging from 6 inches to 3 feet tall. They come in a broad range of colors and are often used in rock gardens, containers and hanging baskets.


These have been developed by crossing hybrid teas and floribundas. Large bushes as tall as 10 feet. These roses are generally very vigorous.


These are strong reliable shrub rose bushes that are smaller, hardier and more disease resistant than the hybrid teas. Very useful in landscaping. Flowers are arranged in clusters.

Old Roses

Mostly large shrub roses. The color range and blooming period may be limited but they make up for this in fragrance, which many modern roses lack. This group includes your cabbage roses with their heavy multi petaled blooms, damasks and moss roses.

Species Roses

It is from these roses that all the others have come from. Quite hard to source out at this time. Many can be quite invasive. A simple formed flower and vigorous grower. Blooming in early summer only once but full of bright red rose hips in the fall. Open faced flowers are pink, reddish pink or white.