The 15 Best Roses to Grow, Even If You’re Convinced You Can’t Keep a Plant Alive

Including picks for yards of all sizes

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Fact: No garden is complete without roses.  While annual flowers and perennials are essential, roses are known for their classic beauty, fragrance and romantic, old-fashioned charm.  Pollinators love them, too!

And if you think they aren’t for you, we’re here to prove otherwise. “There’s a rose that works in every garden,” says Stephen Scanniello, curator of the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at New York Botanical Garden, rosarian of Helen S. Kaman Rose Garden at Elizabeth Park and advisor to the Remember Me Rose Garden, which honors those lost during 9/11. “Anyone can grow roses when you find the right variety for your garden setting.”

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What Are the Best Types of Roses to Grow?

Roses generally are grouped based on their growth habit and flower form. You may see the words heritage, antique, heirloom or Old Garden roses in descriptions. These terms are used interchangeably to describe varieties that have been around for many years and that have big, lush blooms. They flower once in early summer and are not as disease-resistant as many newer roses, so they can be challenging for new gardeners to grow, says Scanniello.

Hybrid tea roses are the “classic rose” with a single flower on a long stem for cutting; some varieties also can be tricky if you’re not an experienced rose grower.

Some of the easiest roses to grow include newer hybrids, which tend to have better disease resistance, cold tolerance and a longer bloom time, says Scanniello. This includes:

  • Many types of shrub roses, which grow about 3 feet wide and tall
  • New varieties of floribundas, which have small flowers in clusters or sprays, and grandifloras, which feature large flowers in clusters
  • Miniature roses, which have small leaves, blooms and thorns and are ideal for containers
  • New varieties of climbing roses, which have long canes that you train over a trellis

How Do You Plant a Rose Bush?

First, choose a spot in your garden that gets full sun, which is at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day. All roses need full sun to bloom well, so don’t try to cheat or you’ll be disappointed with their performance. Also, make sure you select a variety that can survive winters in your USDA Hardiness zone (find yours here). Finally, do not water them at night, which increases the likelihood of spreading foliar diseases, says Scanniello.

The 15 Best Roses to Grow in Your Yard

Ahead, our favorite roses trialed in our own gardens, as well as Scanniello’s top picks:

best roses to grow rise up ringo
Proven Winners/Spring Meadow Nursery

1. Rise Up Ringo

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9

This brand-new rose is a mini climber that maxes out at 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. It has gorgeous double yellow flowers with a bright orange-y red center. It’s an eye-catching, vigorous grower with great disease resistance.

2. Cherry Frost

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 10

This mini climber reaches about 6 feet tall, is cold hardy and has tons of dark red repeat blooms all summer long. It’s also fairly disease resistant, making it a great pick for new gardeners.

a lilac colored rose
Proven Winners/Spring Meadow Nursery

3. Rise Up Lilac Days

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9

Disease resistance? Check. Dreamy clusters of lilac-blue flowers. Check! Light, old-fashioned fragrance? Check. This mini climber blooms all summer and keeps a nice, dense habit, eventually reaching 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide.

best roses to grow knockout rose
Home Depot

4. Knock Out Rose

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 11

This series of shrub roses was bred for outstanding disease resistance. It flowers for months without requiring deadheading and reaches 3 to 4 feet tall and wide. The original Knock Out has a rich reddish pink color, but it’s also available in shades such as pink, pure white, coral, bright pink and orange. It’s one of the easiest roses you’ll ever grow.

best roses to grow petite knock out
Home Depot

5. Petite Knock Out

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 10

Consider this the baby sibling of other Knock Out roses! This miniature rose has the same hardiness as other Knock Outs, but it stays 18 inches tall, so it’s ideal in containers or window boxes.

best roses to grow pretty pink polly
Fast Growing Trees

6. Pretty Polly Pink

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 10

You will not believe how vibrantly pink the blooms of this shrub rose are. Blooms keep coming all summer, and it has excellent disease resistance and a nice, compact form that reaches 3 feet tall by 3 feet wide. It’s an absolute must-have for any garden.

a bush of cream colored roses
Proven Winners/Spring Meadow Nursery

7. Reminiscent Crema

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9

Creamy white old-fashioned roses adorn this beautiful shrub. It reaches just 24 inches tall and wide, so it’s a good choices for smaller gardens. It also boasts excellent disease resistance.

coral colored roses
Home Depot

8. Drift Coral

  • USDA Hardiness Zones:  4 to 11

These charming roses are a combination of a miniature rose and groundcover-type rose, so they keep a nice, low habit at 1 1/2 feet tall and 2 1/2 feet wide. They make excellent choices for mass plantings or to control erosion on hillsides.

best roses to grow mother of pearl

9. Mother of Pearl

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 10

This beautiful soft pink grandiflora rose boasts loads of flowers which are ideal for cutting. It has a tall, bushy shape about 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide and offers good disease resistance and cold hardiness.

best roses to grow raspberry cupcake
Chamblee's Rose Nursery

10. Raspberry Cupcake

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 6 to 10

This lovely (and brand-new) cupped-shaped rose has a strong raspberry-lemon scent that’s quite delightful. Its gorgeous flowers rebloom throughout the season, and it has excellent disease resistance. This shrub reaches 4 feet tall by 2 feet wide.

best roses to grow at last
Proven Winners/Spring Meadow Nursery

11. At Last

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9

The only thing more delightful than this rose’s apricot-pink flowers? Its sweet scent, which makes it great for planting near any seating areas in your yard. At Last roses have good disease resistance and will keep a nice, rounded 3 foot tall and wide shape.

best roses to grow mango salsa
Proven Winners/Spring Meadow Nursery

12. Oso Easy Mango Salsa

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9

If you’re tired of red and pink roses, check out this shrub rose. It boasts a flaming coral color that will look smashing in borders or as a mass planting. It has good disease resistance and reaches 3 feet tall and wide.

best roses to grow pink knock out
Fast Growing Trees

13. Pink Knock Out Rose Tree

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 10

Looking for the ease of a Knock Out but in a more dramatic form? This rose has been pruned into tree form, and it has all the same amazing qualities of any other Knock Out. It reaches 3 to 4 feet tall and wide.

a bush of lilac roses
Jackson & Perkins

14. Peggy Martin Roses

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9

This vigorous climber has a unique story: It is a found rose that was discovered after surviving two weeks under water during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It’s a sturdy, fast grower that does well in an array of climates. Give this one plenty of room to spread, as it will reach 6 to 15 feet tall and wide.

best roses to grow charlene de monaco
Jackson & Perkins

15. Charlene de Monaco Roses

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 10

This stunning hybrid tea rose is more disease resistant than many others in this category. The lush, full flowers of shell pink are stunning in a vase. They’re also very fragrant. This rose reaches 5 feet tall by 2 to 3 feet wide.

purewow author

Freelance Gardening Editor

Arricca Elin SanSone is a gardener with more than 15 years of experience. In addition to PureWow, she writes for Prevention, Country Living, Veranda, The Spruce and many other...