Top 10 Best Roses

There’s a longtime love affair between gardeners and roses. Find your new favorite tried-and-true rose on our list of the top 10 best roses.

There’s a longtime love affair between gardeners and roses. But many roses are highly susceptible to black spot and other problems, while others can be finicky and fail to thrive. So keep the love alive with these rose selections. All of them are disease resistant, vigorous and so long-lived you can count on them for decades of beauty in your garden. We hope you’ll find your soul mate among the types we’ve included in our list of the best roses. Unless noted, these roses flourish in Zones 5 to 9 and Zone 10 in the West.

  • Top 10 Best Roses: Knock Out

    Best Low Maintenance - Knock Out

    Sun, Zone 4

    Introduced in 2000, the original red Knock Out quickly became the most popular garden plant in America. Branch out beyond the ubiquitous glowing red original with hot pink, blush pink, creamy yellow and sunset-hued Rainbow Knock Out. This carefree rose does have a catch, though: barely any scent.

    Why we love it: As easy to grow as daylilies, Knock Out roses live up to their hype.

  • Top 10 Best Roses: Honey Perfume

    Most Fragrant - Honey Perfume

    Sun, Zone 6

    This 4-foot-tall shrub rose lives up to its name. A floribunda type, its fragrant flowers grow in clusters, so you can pick a whole bouquet with one snip of the shears. As the blossoms age, they soften to a creamier hue.

    Why we love it: In a vase or along a path, Honey Perfume won’t let you pass without stopping to smell the roses.

  • Top 10 Best Roses: Orchid Romance

    Best Double - Orchid Romance

    Sun

    This 2011 shrub rose from the breeders of Knock Out combines sumptuous antique blossoms with modern disease resistance and an ever-blooming habit. The initial burst of color softens to a paler pink.

    Why we love it: Old-fashioned beauty, delightful citrusy fragrance, easy to grow—this newcomer is a winner.

  • Top 10 Best Roses: Bonica

    Best Disease Resistant - Bonica

    Sun to part shade, Zone 4

    Perfect for nestling among your perennials or planting as a hedge, this one is just about indestructible. The first flush of bloom in summer is extravagant; later flowers are less profuse.

    Why we love it: Bonica thrives in part shade, too, and you can’t kill it with a club.

  • Top 10 Best Roses: Zephirine Drouhin

    Best Thornless - Zephirine Drouhin

    Sun to part shade

    Create your own rose-covered cottage with this vigorous, trouble-free climbing rose, a favorite for more than 150 years. Heavenly scented flowers peak in spring and again in fall. Ideal for a north-facing wall, it blooms in shade as well as sun.

    Why we love it: No “Ouch!” when cutting a bouquet or when guiding the canes over your house or across an arbor.

  • Top 10 Best Roses: Mother of Pearl

    Best Shrub Rose - Mother of Pearl

    Sun

    About 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide, this shrub rose blooms almost continually if you snip off spent flowers. Otherwise, it rests a bit before putting out new flowers, right up until heavy frost.

    Why we love it: With color this delicious, Mother of Pearl is a natural for your perennial beds, where its never-ending bloom will fill in any dead spots as other flowers go in and out of bloom.

  • Top 10 Best Roses

    Best Antique - Madame Isaac Pereire

    Sun

    For the ultimate in romance, look to this antique French rose with its huge cupped blossoms and heady cloud of true rose perfume. Be on the lookout for black spot or rust, especially in humid regions.

    Why we love it: Giant, sumptuous blossoms, vivid color and, most of all, that incredible fragrance—reason enough to take a gamble on this antique rose.

  • Top 10 Best Roses

    Best Hybrid Tea - Mister Lincoln

    Sun

    All hybrid tea roses are susceptible to diseases, but Mister Lincoln is more resistant than most. Its velvety, richly perfumed flowers more than make up for ratty foliage later in the season. A climbing version is also available.

    Why we love it: A classic deep red rose with an intoxicating fragrance, Mister Lincoln is simply beautiful in the garden or in a vase.

  • Top 10 Best Roses: New Dawn

    Best Climber - New Dawn

    Sun to shade

    Delicate in color but strong as an ox, New Dawn has been one of the most reliable roses ever since it was introduced in 1930. The main flush of blooms from late spring to summer is followed by occasional blossoms until frost. This rose blooms on old wood (last year’s growth), so selective pruning and timing are key to success with New Dawn and other climbers.

    Why we love it: This super-fast grower can cover an arbor in just a year or two. And it blooms happily in partial to nearly full shade.

  • Top 10 Best Roses: Rainbow’s End

    Best Mini - Rainbow’s End

    Sun

    Only 1 to 2 feet tall and wide, Rainbow’s End is just the right size for containers or the front of your garden. Its flowers open yellow, blush red, then turn pink. If you fall in love with this rainbow, you may want to add the climbing variety, too.

    Why we love it: Repeat blooms keep the color going all season.

  • More From Birds & Blooms
  • Top 10 Best Roses: Knock Out

    Best Low Maintenance - Knock Out

  • Top 10 Best Roses: Honey Perfume

    Most Fragrant - Honey Perfume

  • Top 10 Best Roses: Orchid Romance

    Best Double - Orchid Romance

  • Top 10 Best Roses: Bonica

    Best Disease Resistant - Bonica

  • Top 10 Best Roses: Zephirine Drouhin

    Best Thornless - Zephirine Drouhin

  • Top 10 Best Roses: Mother of Pearl

    Best Shrub Rose - Mother of Pearl

  • Top 10 Best Roses

    Best Antique - Madame Isaac Pereire

  • Top 10 Best Roses

    Best Hybrid Tea - Mister Lincoln

  • Top 10 Best Roses: New Dawn

    Best Climber - New Dawn

  • Top 10 Best Roses: Rainbow’s End

    Best Mini - Rainbow’s End

  1. Ellie Wood says

    I agree that Knock Outs are easier and less prone to diseases than other roses but if left to their own devises they become unsightly. I have seen them everywhere around town and many look awful… must be pruned and taken care of on a weekly basis… my opinion!

  2. Mary Reinhard says

    Love all 10 Rose bushes! Can we buy them from Birds and Blooms magazine? If not, where do we get them?

  3. Lois Mathews says

    my Zepherine Drouhin is in the shade and hasn’t bloomed for years. I’m thinking of removing it.

    • S smith says

      My zepherine Drouhin bloomed beautifully in full sun to mostly sun for at least 7 years but died almost completely after extremely cold winter last year and came back with thorns

  4. says

    Where is Belinda’s Dream, the best allaround
    rose I ever had-from Antique Rose Emporium.
    I am a member of the Herb Society ofAmerica
    and have owned over 40 different varieties-mostly old roses in 40 yr. …they definitely have more fragrance and staying power on
    their own, many were taken by rose rustlers
    from cemeteries and abandoned school yards
    with no care for years.

    • S smith says

      I agree Belinda’s dream was also my favorite all time rose
      It absolutely thrived in north Texas , but haven’t been able to find in MO

  5. Sande Chatfield says

    I am glad someone mentioned Belinda’s Dream!They are beautiful and look like an antique rose, is hardy and even in drought tries to keep blooming. A rose that is also grown from the people that developed Knockout gives us Home Run, just like Knockout, except the color is a bit more of an orange shade of red. Very hardy and blooms profusly.

  6. Susan Johnson says

    I had ( note I said had) two double knockout rose bushes. Both did very well for a few years. They were supposed to be drought tolerant and may have been. But, a year or two ago both bushes died suddenly. I left them to see if they would come back. There is a mite that is taking them over. It is a rosette virus that they have. Gardenias and drift roses are said to be getting the virus also. Neill Sperry has info on his facebook page and many people are writing in to ask questions and say what is happening to their roses. My knockouts were supposed to not need shaping or dead heading. The bushes got taller than me and I am near six feet tall. So I wouldn’t count on not needing to shape. Also nurseries are still selling these and advice is do not put another bush back in the same spot for one or two years.

  7. Susan Johnson says

    Also, there is no treatment for the virus taking over the knockout and drift roses and gardenias.

    • says

      Susan, the virus you mention, Rose Rosette Disease, is carried and transmitted by wind-blown mites. It can affect ALL roses, not just Knock Out and Drift roses. More information can be found at roserosettedisease.org. You can re-plant in the same area so don’t hesitate to try roses again. I’m sorry your roses grew so big, but we recommend cutting them back by 2/3 every spring. This will help keep them healthy and at a nice size of about 3-4″ tall max. Good luck.

  8. Murray says

    My all-time favorite was BLACK GARNET. It was an “All American Favorite” in mid to late 1980’s. It had 52 petals & was a very deep red and from a distance, the petals looked like velvet. The plant was a very hardy plant that lasted for years.

  9. Krissy says

    Where can I find these roses? I’m listing them from my #1 fav to #5 fav. I love the Rainbows End A LOT, Honey Perfume, Mother of Pearl, Orchid Romance and Bonica. If anyone can help, I’d appreciate it! Thanks!!!!

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