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Rose Classifications & Descriptions

By Weeks Roses

Increased interest in garden roses brings a host of consumer questions: What kind of rose is this? What is the difference between floribunda and Grandiflora? What is a hybrid tea? The following groups are rose classification:

Hybrid tea roses have a large, high-centered flower atop strong, thorny stems. Generally, they are considered the traditional rose. When a consumer thinks of a long stem rose in a vase, they probably envision a hybrid tea. Popular members of this classification are: Mister Lincoln, Neptune, Oklahoma, Sugar Moon and Henry Fonda.

Grandifloras represent a class of roses whose members fall between the Hybrid Tea and the floribunda classes. “Grandies” have clustered large flowers, rather than one on a single stem. Usually taller and broader than the hybrid tea, familiar types include Queen Elizabeth, Rock & Roll, Heart of Gold, Mellow Yellow, and Twilight Zone.

Floribundas are not as “beefy” a plant as Grandifloras. Generally, this class is characterized as a medium sized compact rose plant with medium sized flowers, mostly in clusters. The stem length is shorter compared to the Hybrid Tea roses and Grandifloras. International favorites include Julia Child, Iceberg, Burgundy Iceberg, Ketchup and Mustard, Judy Garland, Playboy, Oh My! And Scentimental.

The miniature class includes roses that are small flowered with proportionately smaller foliage. Often these plants are tight and compact in habit with much shorter stems than the floribundas. Roses in this class make lovely landscape borders. Notable roses in this class are Coffee Bean, Diamond Eyes, and Smoke Rings.

Other classes include shrubs, climbers and rugosas. Shrub roses are a stand-alone specimen planting or a mass planting or hedge. The Knock Out rose series, Home Run and Bull’s Eye are several of the brand names recognized in the shrub classification. Climbers, Fourth of July, Climbing New Dawn and Purple Splash are used as accents to a corner or as a stand-alone specimen. The Rugosa class represent some of the oldest roses; these tough plants can survive in coastal areas or the colder climates to Zone 2. Frequently used in mass plantings for highways and erosion control, Rosa rugosas’ adaptability, disease resistance, bloom and hip(seed) display provides seasonal interest in the landscape. Hansa, Purple Pavement, and straight-species Rosa Rugosa are a few of the most common varieties.

Regardless of classification, it’s important to realize the progress made through hybridization and selection for disease resistance, increased fragrance, re-blooming and other important attributes, make the rose choices of today not your grandmother’s ordinary garden varieties.

Winter Rose Care

To prepare roses for winter in our cold region follow these easy steps; give your roses a good watering, a thorough clean up, and a warm mulching for deep freezes. Although our sprinklers are turned off be sure to water your roses if Mother Nature does not provide adequate moisture throughout the winter. Cut off any dead or diseased canes, and remove leaves and weeds around each plant’s base. Once the soil temperature has frozen to a depth of 3 to 4 inches in early winter, mound about 6 to 10 inches of compost around each plant’s base to protect the crown and root system. This can easily be done using rose collars. A rose collar is a small “fence” that is placed around the base of a rose. It is then filled with dry leaves or mulch that adds a pocket of protection form harmful freezing. This insulating mulch should not be applied until late October or early November so that the plants will have a chance to adjust to the cold temperatures, which will make them stronger in the long run.