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The American Rose Society has established three main groupings of roses based on the botanical and evolutionary progress of the rose.
Usually single petaled (4-8 petals per flower), single bloom period per season, and grows 2’ to 20’ in size. These are also called ‘Wild Roses’. Example: Lady Banksia
OLD GARDEN ROSE
Defined as those types that existed prior to 1867. Many are single bloomers and provide the heavy fragrance roses are famous for. There are several sub-categories including China, Damask, and Noisette.
With the introduction of the first hybrid tea in 1867 (La France) a new classification of roses was born based on growth habit.
Hybrid Tea: Flowers born on a single long stem or with several side buds. Large shapely buds with 30-50 petals. Perhaps the most popular rose type today with a bloom cycle of every 6 to 7 weeks.
Floribunda: Bears flowers in large clusters with multiple flowers in bloom at any one time. Hardier, easier to care for, and more reliable in wet weather than hybrid teas. It is a cross between a hybrid tea and a polyantha.
Polyantha: generally smaller than floribundas but sturdy with large clusters of small 1-inch diameter blooms. Often used for massing, edging, and hedges.
Grandiflora: bred from crossing a hybrid tea and a floribunda resulting in large clusters of blooms on cane growth 6’ to 8’ tall. The first grandiflora rose was ‘Queen Elizabeth’ introduced in 1954.
Miniature: average height is 15-30” and are miniature versions of both hybrid teas and floribundas. Good for container growing and edging beds.
Shrub: known for their sprawling habit, hardiness, disease resistance, and production of large quantities of flower clusters. David Austin Roses and Knock Out Roses are popular members of this category.
Others include Groundcover (Carpet) and Drift which is a cross between a carpet and a miniature.
Climbing: growth habit of long arching canes that can be trained on fences and trellises.
Trivia Question: What is the only rose classification to have originated in the USA?
Answer: Noisette. Phillipe Noisette of Charleston, SC developed the rose and later introduced it in France in 1817.