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There are many different types of roses, all of them a delight. To experience and learn about roses in your district, visit your local public rose gardens. There you can discover both heritage and cutting edge varieties and smell and touch rare and unusual blooms. Look for out roses you like and observe their growing habits. 

Here's our roundup of the different types of roses commonly grown in New Zealand. 

Hybrid tea roses

The most widely grown form of rose, modern hybrid teas are the results of more than a century of breeding for delicate colour and fragrance. They produce large, well formed solo flowers in a wide range of colours on long, upright stems. They make a good garden display, but this type is all about admiring the perfect individual blooms. These are the best roses for cutting, they are absolutely beautiful showcased in a vase. Scent is variable; a lot of hybrid teas have no fragrance but there are plenty of scented varieties available.

Hybrid Teas are always grafted onto strong rootstock and grow to about 1.5m in height. They are pruned into an open 'cup' shape of woody stems, from which the young growth sprouts; these young stems deliver the flowers. When the blooms are cut, new stems will develop for a later flush of flowers.

Floribunda roses

Floribunda roses produce an abundance of small blooms in a wide variety of colours. Borne in clusters or trusses, the flowers are less suitable for picking than those of the hybrid teas, but they provide a more lavish display in the garden, over a longer period. A lot of floribundas have no scent, but highly fragrant varieties are available.

Usually grafted onto rootstock, they are generally hardier than hybrid teas and only reach about 90cm in height. They bear flowers on one year old stems, so new growth is only very lightly pruned and old woody growth is pruned hard. 

Grandiflora roses

A cross between hybrid tea roses and floribundas that combines the most attractive qualities of both. The flowers look like slightly smaller hybrid tea blooms on tall stems, but the abundant clusters of flowers and continuous blooming are just like a floribunda. They grow quite tall (up to 1.8m) so they make a striking backdrop. Usually not very fragrant, but the gorgeous floral display more than makes up for it. You'll mostly see this type mentioned in websites or books from the USA, as European growers traditionally consider these intermediate roses to be either hybrid teas or floribundas.

Polyantha roses

An old-fashioned hybrid tea cross, polyanthas aren't widely grown but deserve to be because of their hardiness. Their abundant small blooms can be single, semidouble or double in form and generally produce a more subtle display than floribunda types. A relatively low height makes them an excellent choice for mass planting. 

Climbers and ramblers

There are a vast range of beautiful climbing and rambling roses to choose from.

Ramblers have long, pliable canes and bear large trusses of small flowers. They produce several of these strong and flexible stems from their base each year, which happily scramble up a trellis, pergola or wall and will be covered with a stunning display of petite flowers when they bloom in spring. As the canes only flower once, they need to be pruned right back after flowering to be at their best the next season.

Climbers grow stout and rigid stems and their height potential is far greater than that of ramblers - as much as 6m high! They generally need to be secured to the support structure they're leaning on. In addition to the fragrance, they're quite hardy. Flowers range from gorgeous massed clusters to single large flowers. Their biggest attraction is that most varieties of climbers will bloom twice a year. It's best to plan ahead and check the full-grown height of a variety, to make certain it's not too big for your space (otherwise you'll need to constantly prune to keep it under control - climbers don't respond well to severe pruning). 

Shrub roses

Shrub rose is a general term used to describe hybrids between wild species, hybrid tea roses and floribundas. They are extremely varied in habit, leaf shape and flower form.

They don't need much pruning, other than getting rid of spindly or weak growth.

Species roses

Species roses are those which are grown in their original wild form. They produce single, fine-petalled flowers, mainly in spring, followed by a display of decorative berry-like hips in autumn. They are particularly resistant to pests and diseases and require little pruning apart from the removal of soft tips and straggly growth.

Old garden roses

'Old' roses encompass a broad group including Species, Old European, Tea and China roses. Strictly speaking, to qualify as old roses varieties need to date from before 1867, but there are now lots of modern variants of the old cultivars. In recent years there has been a great upsurge in interest in them, due to their good garden qualities. They are particularly fragrant and hardy, and have a delightful, informal character. Also known as heritage roses, old roses are making a comeback with discerning gardeners.

Miniature roses

Miniature roses are tiny floribundas or hybrid teas, with little leaves and wee flowers in perfect proportion. They normally grow between 20–50 cm high and are almost thornless. They can be used for edging, growing in containers, rockeries, window boxes or indoors as temporary houseplants. These little beauties aren't grafted.

They don't need much pruning, except to remove spent flowers and maintain a nice shape.


Did You Know?

The 'Winter Rose' or Hellebore isn't related to the rose family at all. In fact, they're members of Ranunculaceae, the buttercup family. Find out more about Hellebores here.

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