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.
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.
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.
Best Double – Orchid Romance
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.
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.
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.
Best Shrub Rose – Mother of Pearl
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.
Best Antique – Madame Isaac Pereire
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.
Best Hybrid Tea – Mister Lincoln
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.
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.
Best Mini – Rainbow’s End
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.