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Roses: What’s in a Name?

When shopping for roses for your garden you’ll notice there are different types. In a garden center like Gulley Greenhouse, the roses are even physically sorted by type for easier selection. Here is a quick guide you can use to choose which kind of rose is the perfect one for you and your garden…


A hybrid tea is the rose most people think of when you describe a formal rose bouquet. It’s the type you find at florist shops and the grocers. Because of their long straight stems, pointed buds, and lovely high-centered blooms, these are the most popular type for a cutting garden. Hybrid teas bloom from late spring to early fall and come in an incredibly varied palette. Blossoms range from 3 1/2 to 5 1/2 inches across and many are fragrant. If you are specifically looking for a tried-and-true cut flower for arrangements, hybrid teas are for you!


Floribundas can be remembered easily by the parts of the name. An abundance of flowers! Each stem produces a cluster of blooms at its tip. The flowers are a little smaller than the hybrid tea’s but make up for it by the masses of color they create over the plant. Hardier, more robust, and less prone to pests and diseases than hybrid teas, these bushes are great for mixed plantings where they fill in spaces with a carpet of color. Because the hybrid tea’s foliage is located closer to the ground, it doesn’t fill in the garden bed like a great floribunda.


Grandifloras are created by crossing hybrid teas with floribundas. You get the clusters of blooms like the floribunda but each flower is large like a hybrid tea. Incredible! We like to remember this name by thinking “So many flowers, and look at how grand each one is!” Because they have a growth habit more like a hybrid tea, their clusters of blooms grow on longer and straighter stems than a floribunda and so they make for a beautiful cut flower as well.


Shrub roses are extremely hardy roses that don’t quite fall into the other categories. They can have single blooms (one layer of 5-7 petals) or double blooms (12-20 petals) and come in a wide variety of color. Due to their tolerance of so many temperature and soil conditions, and their habit of repeat-blooming, shrub roses are a fantastic landscaping rose. They make good hedges and mass plantings and have the best rose hips for winter color.


Climbing roses are optimal choices for pergolas, trellises, arbors, and fences. The flowers are large and either single or clustered. Many bush roses have been bred into climbers so you can find climbing hybrid teas, climbing David Austins, climbing floribundas, etc. Because types range in height from 6 feet to 20 feet, it’s good to be thinking about the structure you want to cover with them. The shorter climbers are great for a garden obelisk while taller ones are perfect to go up and over a pergola or arbor.


Last on this list, but not to be overlooked because of their small stature, are the miniature roses. Bred to stay small and compact, miniature roses are surprisingly hardy. That is, if they are planted in the ground… Though ideal size-wise for porches and balconies when gardens aren’t an option, if you live in climates with cold winters, you will need to bring the pots inside during the cold season if you want to keep your mini going from year to year. Thankfully the containers aren’t as heavy as they would be with a full grown grandiflora!

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