Shrub roses

Favorite varieties and care essentials

Popular shrub rose varieties
Photo: David Cavagnaro

'Graham Thomas' (1983)
This is one of the first ― and still one of the most popular ― of the group called English roses, plants bred to combine modern rose colors and repeat bloom with old rose floral style. Some feature globular, ultra-double blossoms, while others have single flowers reminiscent of wild roses. 'Graham Thomas' has plump, red-tinted yellow buds that open to large, cupped blossoms filled with butter yellow petals. Blooms are carried at the ends of arching canes that can reach 10 feet or longer.

If you think you can't grow roses, try easy-to-grow 'Iceberg'. It's a vigorous, sparsely thorned plant that is rarely bothered by pests and diseases. It belongs to the floribunda class, a complex group of roses that typically range in height from 2 ½ to 4 feet; some bear large clusters of single or semidouble, rather informal blossoms, while many have blooms resembling small hybrid tea flowers. 'Iceberg' is also available in a climbing form.

'Kaleidoscope' (1999)
Small (2- to 2 ½-inch-wide), double flowers transform from orangy tan with a yellow center to mauve pink as they age. Classed as a shrub rose, this 2- to 4-foot tall plant is easy care, and blooms over a long season without fuss. Doesn't require spraying to stay healthy, and needs little or no pruning to remain shapely.


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