- Type Woody perennial
- Lifespan 10-50 years
- Growing Zones 3-9
- Light Sun
- Water 90 inches per year
- When to Plant Autumn or spring
- Design Tip Pick a perfume
- Other Uses Cut flowers
- Peak Season Summer
Roses: A Field Guide
Gertrude Stein once wrote in a poem, “A rose is just a rose is just a rose.” She was wrong. A rose is a garden. And a memory. And a promise.
The rose is the most widely loved flower—both in garden beds and in bouquets—and much of the woody perennial’s popularity is due to its wide variety.
There is a rose for you. With more than 100 species and thousands of cultivars, Rosa comes in many variations to suit: climbers, shrubs, ramblers, floribundas, grandifloras, tea roses, and other hybrids. The English writer Edward Ashdown Bunyard observed in Old Garden Roses that the rose is “an index of civilization,” and although we don’t know the origin of the very first rose, we do know from fossil evidence that the beloved flower has grown on this planet for more than 35 million years.
Heirloom varieties (known as old roses) are deeply fragrant. ‘Madame Alfred Carrière‘ is thornless. ‘Iceberg’ will bloom through the summer. From the ‘Freedom’ roses you buy at the local grocery store (and cherish for a few days before the poor things go bald) to endangered heirloom species such as the German ‘Tausendschön‘ with rambling pink and white clusters, a rose is a universe of possibility. Read more in Everything You Need to Know About Roses.