As Valentine’s Day approaches, romance is on our minds. And what flowers are more romantic than roses? Red roses have become the icon of love and romance, but there are so many other varieties that are equally meaningful. For example, purple roses signify enchantment and love at first sight, while orange roses exemplify passion.
With over 150 species of roses and thousands of hybrids, roses can be found in nearly every color and a variety of shapes. To show you just how expansive the rose family is, we created a compendium of popular garden roses containing over 100 different types of blooms.
Though there is no single definitive way to categorize roses, most specialists divide them into three main categories: Wild Roses, Old Garden Roses, and Modern Garden Roses. The latter two groups are subdivided further according to hybrid and lineage. Below we detail each of the main categories, and the classes within them.
Modern Garden Roses
Hybrid Tea Roses
Miniature roses are miniature versions of Hybrid Tea roses. They have petite stems, leaves and flowers, and are hardy and versatile plants. Miniatures come in a wide range of colors including pink, orange, white, and yellow. Most miniature roses bloom continuously for two to three weeks at a time. They are often marketed and sold as houseplants, as they grow well in containers and are only six to eighteen inches tall. They also work well in narrow borders and small garden areas.Polyantha Roses
Polyantha roses are known for their prolific bloom—from spring to fall a healthy plant could potentially be covered in flowers. They typically have large clusters of small flowers, and come in shades of white, pink and red. Polyantha roses remain popular due to their reputation as low-maintenance, disease resistant, and hardy plants. They are ideal candidates for containers or small gardens.Rambling Roses
Rambling roses, or ramblers, are vigorous growers with numerous clusters of small to medium-sized blossoms, and long, flexible canes. They are often once blooming, but may be repeat or continuous. If they lack a support system, ramblers will grow along the ground and cover anything in their way, such as buildings, cars, plants, and trees. But if well trained, ramblers may be used to decorate structures such as arches and pergolas.
The vastness of the rose family can be overwhelming. At first glance many roses look the same, but upon further inspection you can really begin to tell the difference between the shape and structure of each bloom. For example, the Species Roses have a loose five-petal structure, while the Gallica roses have layered, tightly clustered petals. To help you understand each category and class better, we created a compendium of popular garden roses that lets you directly compare each type of rose.
Image credits:Abraham Darby, Tamora CC Image courtesy of Takashi .M on FlickrAmerican Pillar CC Image courtesy of Spedona on Wikimedia CommonsAnne Harkness, Catherine Mermet, Celine Forestier, Cricket, Iceberg, Lemon Delight, Maman Cochet, Pompon Blanc Parfait, Rêve d’Or, Rosa rubiginosa CC Image courtesy of Stan Shebs on Wikimedia CommonsAprikola, Blaze, Blush Noisette, Mme. Alfred Carriere CC Image courtesy of Anna reg on Wikimedia CommonsAvon CC Image courtesy of Libby norman on Wikimedia CommonsBallerina, Baroness Rothschild, Blanc Double de Coubert, Buff Beauty, Bullata, Desprez à Fleurs Jaunes CC Image courtesy of Cillas on Wikimedia CommonsBlanche de Belgique, Bluenette, Duc de Cambridge, Heidi Klum, Honeymilk, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Sugar Baby, Pink Star CC Image courtesy of Huhu Uet on Wikimedia CommonsBreath of Life, Cécile Brünner, Charles de Gaulle, Cramoisi Superieur, Earth Song, Honorine de Brabant, Princesse Joséphine-Charlotte, Queen of Sweden, Rose de Meaux, Rosa nutkana, Sunset Memory, St. Cecelia, CC Image courtesy of T.Kiya on FlickrCharles Austin CC Image courtesy of Yoko Nekonomania on FlickrCharles de Mills, Cornelia, Rosa Mundi CC Image courtesy of Amanda Slater on FlickrComte de Chambord, Ferdinand Pichard CC Image courtesy of Jamain on Wikimedia CommonsConstance Spry CC Image courtesy of Rosa Staropramen on Wikimedia CommonsCrested Moss, Duchesse de Brabant, Graham Thomas, Hansa, Louis Philippe, Marchesa Boccella, Mutabilis, Paul Neyron, Queen Elizabeth, Reine Des Violettes, Rose du Roi, Rosa moschata, St. Nicholas CC Image courtesy of Malcolm Manners on FlickrDainty Bess CC Image courtesy of chipmunk_1 on FlickrDortmund, Peace CC Image courtesy of Roozitaa on Wikimedia CommonsDouble Delight CC Image courtesy of Marumari on Wikimedia CommonsDuchess of Portland, Felicia, Général Jacqueminot, Hebe’s Lip, Koeniging von Danemark, La Reine Victoria, Madame Pierre Oger, Parson’s Pink China, Rosa foetida, Safrano, Semi-plena, Soleil d’ Or, York & Lancaster, Zéphirine Drouhin CC Image courtesy of A. Barra on Wikimedia CommonsFlower Carpet Coral CC Image courtesy of Patrick Standish on FlickrGolden Wings, Polareis CC Image courtesy of F. D. Richards on FlickrGovernor Rosellini, Montezuma, Pink Parfait CC Image courtesy of HomeinSalem on Wikimedia CommonsHume’s Blush CC Image courtesy of Cliff on FlickrKiftsgate CC Image courtesy of Ulf Eliasson on Wikimedia CommonsLa France CC Image courtesy of Arashiyama on Wikimedia CommonsLa Reine CC Image courtesy of Rhian on FlickrLa Ville de Bruxelles, Tuscany Superb CC Image courtesy of Nadiatalent on Wikimedia CommonsLeda CC Image courtesy of Kleuske on Wikimedia CommonsLouise Odier CC Image courtesy of Jengod on Wikimedia CommonsMadame Hardy CC Image courtesy of VasenkaPhotography on FlickrMaiden’s Blush CC Image courtesy of Ausis on Wikimedia CommonsMilkmaid CC Image courtesy of Eric Timewell on Wikimedia CommonsMister Lincoln CC Image courtesy of Captain-tucker on Wikimedia CommonsMollineux CC Image courtesy of Kelvinsong on Wikimedia CommonsMoon Shadow CC Image courtesy of Drew Avery on FlickrPenelope CC Image courtesy of Georges Seguin on Wikimedia CommonsPetite de Hollande CC Image courtesy of Nadiatalent on Wikimedia CommonsRenaissance CC Image courtesy of Mogens Engelund on Wikimedia CommonsRosa acicularis CC Image courtesy of Denali National Park and Preserve on FlickrRosa arkansana CC Image courtesy of Alexwcovington on Wikimedia CommonsRosa canina CC Image courtesy of Roberta F. on Wikimedia CommonsRosa carolina CC Image courtesy of D. Gordon E. Robertson on Wikimedia CommonsRosa gallica Officinalis CC Image courtesy of Col Ford and Natasha de Vere on FlickrRosa laevigata CC Image courtesy of Midori on Wikimedia CommonsRosa moyesii CC Image courtesy of Patrick Nouhailler on FlickrRosa nitida CC Image courtesy of Sakurai Midori on Wikimedia CommonsRosa persica CC Image courtesy of Yuriy75 on Wikimedia CommonsRosa pimpinellifolia CC Image courtesy of Velela on Wikimedia CommonsRosa prattii CC Image courtesy of El Grafo on Wikimedia CommonsRosa setigera CC Image courtesy of Michael Gras, M.Ed. on FlickrRosa virginiana CC Image courtesy of Alvesgaspar on Wikimedia CommonsRosa wichuraiana CC Image courtesy of 영철 이 on FlickrRosa woodsii CC Image courtesy of dougwaylett on Wikimedia CommonsSwany CC Image courtesy of Noumenon on Wikimedia CommonsThe Fairy CC Image courtesy of 4028mdk09 on Wikimedia CommonsVenus CC Image courtesy of Javier martin on Wikimedia Commons