Find the right shrub rose for your garden
Here are some great-performing shrub roses (Rosa spp. and hybrids) that will answer a few design questions you might have. How can you add more interest around a seating area? Will shrub roses still bloom in a shady part of the garden? You know about the popular Knock Out® and Flower Carpet® series, but if you’re looking for something a little more unique, try one of these instead. They’ll become some new favorites for all the ways you can use them! Read on to learn more about each variety.
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Almost thornless rose
Heritage™, with full, light pink centers and outer petals that fade to nearly white, has very few, if any, thorns per cane. But be careful — it’s not uncommon for a few thorns to appear on old wood. New growth will come in more thorn-free. Fewer thorns makes for more carefree pruning and cutting stems to arrange in bouquets. And you can put them right along a pathway or just beside a bench where thornier shrubs would be a poor choice.
Type Shrub rose Blooms Flowers with light pink centers and white outer petals; repeat blooms from early summer into fall; fruity, honey, carnation-like fragrance Light Full sun Size 4 to 5 ft. tall and wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 6 to 9
Shrub rose for hot, humid climates
Tamora rose (‘Austamora’)
Shrub roses can quickly grow out of bounds in lots of heat. Compact plants, such as 3-foot-tall-and-wide Tamora, are ideal. They stay naturally small without much pruning. When shrub roses get too big, they stop producing many blooms because energy has to go toward supporting a larger plant instead. So don’t be afraid of a hard pruning — while you might not see flowers until next season, you’ll have a much more manageable shrub with rejuvenated, healthy new growth.
Type Shrub rose Blooms Full apricot double flowers; repeat blooms all summer; strong lilac and mimosa fragrance Light Full sun Size 30 to 36 in. tall, 18 to 24 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 6 to 9
Exceptionally cold-hardy rose
In cold winter areas, protecting your shrub roses in late fall can be a necessity. But some plants are so cold-hardy they usually survive freezing temperatures and harsh winter winds without extra help from you. Pale lavender-pink ‘Applejack’ is cold-hardy to USDA zone 4, which means temps as low as -20 degrees F won’t affect this shrub. So you’ll save time preparing for winter — you won’t have to protect your shrub roses.
Type Shrub rose Blooms Semi-double lavender-pink flowers open from deep rose buds; repeat flowering from late spring through frost; clove fragrance Light Full sun Size 4 to 8 ft. tall and wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9
Shrub rose with strong fragrance
This yellow beauty doesn’t shy from filling your garden with that classic tea rose scent. Plant Charlotte near a seating area to surround yourself with the sweet smell or at the entrance to a path to make it easy for visitors to get close for a better sniff. Just make sure thorny branches won’t snag anyone as they pass. A spot with protection, such as in front of a tall hedge, keeps strong winds from dispersing fragrance over a larger space and making it hard to notice.
Type Shrub rose Blooms Soft yellow flowers bloom in a tightly cupped shape and mature to a large rosette; repeats throughout summer; strong perfume fragrance Light Full sun Size 24 to 36 in. tall, 24 to 30 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9
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Tolerates some shade
Shrub roses love the sun. But you don’t have to give up on growing shrub roses even if you have a shadier yard. ‘Quietness’ above is a rose that can tolerate part shade. Planting in deep shade makes for leggy growth and sparse blooms, so plant in an area that gets at least 4 to 5 hours of sun each day, preferrably morning light. The pale blooms brighten a shady spot, and the individual blooms last longer, too.
Blooms Full pale pink flowers repeat from spring to fall; strong sweet clove fragrance Light Full sun to part shade Size 4 to 6 ft. tall, 3 to 4 ft. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 6 to 9