* Portions of this page have been adapted from the ARS publication "2019 American Rose Society Handbook for Selecting Roses." This publication is included with any ARS membership.*
Types of Roses/Rose Terminology
Types of Roses
PLEASE NOTE: If you are looking at this page on a computer, you should be able to hold the cursor over a photo (in the photo carousels blow) when it is not in motion to see the name of the rose.
HYBRID TEA: The most widely recognized rose is the Hybrid Tea (HT). This is the classic rose: urn-shaped buds on long stems. The hybrid tea can open to a nice triangular spiral of petals or open to a wide stance of petals showing off the colorful stamens of pollen. These bushes are on average 4-6 feet in height. Another class similar to HT is the stately Grandiflora (GR). These roses produce clusters of hybrid-tea shaped flowers. Images of some Hybrid Tea and Grandiflora roses are included below.
Some hybrid tea/grandiflora roses recommended by our rosarians include: Miss Congeniality (white/raspberry, GR), Ingrid Bergman (red, HT) and Sugar Moon (white, fragrant, HT) for coastal areas west of the 405 Freeway, and St. Patrick (yellow, HT), Black Magic (deep red, HT), Ring of Fire (coral orange, HT), Memorial Day (pink/lavender, fragrant, HT), Grand Dame (hot pink, fragrant, HT), and Rock & Roll (red/white striped, fragrant, GR) for inland areas east of the 405 Freeway.
FLORIBUNDA: Another popular class of roses are Floribundas (F). Floribundas are characterized by a profuse ability to bear flowers in large clusters or trusses with more than one bloom in flower at any one time. The distinct advantage of the floribunda is its ability to bloom continually where hybrid teas exhibit a bloom cycle every six to seven weeks. Floribundas as a class are hardier, easier to care for and more reliable in wet weather than their hybrid tea counterparts. The ever popular landscaper's rose choice is the white floribunda Iceberg.
Some floribunda roses recommended by our rosarians include: Julia Child (buttery yellow, fragrant), Oh My! (red), and Sparkle and Shine (yellow) for coastal areas west of the 405 Freeway, and Hot Cocoa (russet, tall), and Ketchup and Mustard (red and yellow) for inland areas east of the 405 Freeway.
OLD GARDEN ROSES: Centuries old are the Old Garden Roses (OGR), The ARS defines Old Garden Roses as those types that existed prior to 1867, the year of the introduction of the very first Hybrid Tea. Within this generic definition, a number of subdivisions exist based on natural historical developments and characteristics. The flower form can be quartered, cupped, globular, compact or other forms. After an initial crop of spring blooms, some varieties may produce no more flowers for the rest of the year. The beauty of old garden roses often lies in their strong fragrance. Some classes are Bourbons, Portlands, Noisettes, China and Damask, to name a few.
SHRUBS: Shrubs (S) are divided into classic and modern. These roses are exactly how they are named. They are used as shrubs! A name most associated with this group are the English shrub rose or "Austin" roses named for their hybridizer, David Austin. Mr. Austin took the repeatability of floribundas and merged them with the look and scents of old garden roses. Here in Southern California, the bushes grow much bigger than you will see in England. Give them more room to grow than the catalogs or internet descriptions describe. If you are looking for scented roses, this is an excellent choice!
MINIATURE/MINIFLORA: Miniature (Min) roses pack a punch of color and give gardeners with small spaces a chance to grow roses. Easily grown in pots with their height of 18 inches to 3 feet, they are ideal rose to start or add some color to the front of your garden. Micromini and Miniflora (MinFl) are variations based on the size of the flower.
LARGE-FLOWERED CLIMBERS: Large flowered climbers (LCl), Hybrid Gigantea and Hybrid Wichurana roses are varieties dominated by their growth habit - long, arching canes with the ability to climb up fences, over walls, and through trellises, arbors and pergolas if properly trained and tied. These varieties offer a wide range of flower forms, shapes and colors.
Chances are if you are new to roses and are either out shopping for a rose or doing research online, you might encounter some terms with which you may not be familiar. The terms and abbreviations below are commonly used in discussing or writing about roses and will be explained briefly.
Each year rose growers are invited to participate in the annual evaluations of new rose introductions. Recently introduced roses are evaluated in a number of different categories for three consecutive years. Ratings are:
9.3 - 10 One of the best roses ever
8.8 - 9.2 An outstanding rose
8.3 - 8.7 Very good to excellent rose
7.8 - 8.2 A solid to very good rose
7.3 - 7.7 A good rose
6.8 - 7.2 An average rose
6.1 - 6.7 A below average rose
0.0 - 6.0 Not recommended
The spectrum of colors of roses is divided into 18 classes:
w - white/near white/white blend
ly - light yellow
my - medium yellow
dy - deep yellow
yb - yellow blend
ab - apricot and apricot blend
ob - orange and orange blend
op - orange-pink/orange-pink blend
or - orange-red/orange-red blend
lp & mp - light pink & medium pink
dp & pb - deep pink & pink blend
mr & dr - medium red & dark red
rb & r - red blend & russet
m - mauve and mauve blend
The number of petals is the measure of fullness of a flower. Roses range from the simplicity of five petals to 50 or more. Petals even have their own architecture, whether it is plain, reflexed, ruffled or frilled.
Classifications by petal count are:
4 - 8 petals - single rose
9 - 16 petals - semi-double rose
17 - 25 petals - double rose
26 - 40 petals - full rose
41 + petals - very full rose.
Also, the date associated with a rose shows the year the variety was registered or the introductory date if it wasn't registered.