Understanding antique rose classes and their attributes will help you choose varieties within those classes that best fit your garden needs.
White or blush pink, fragrant flowers appear on tall, upright bushes with gray-green foliage. Albas are spring-flowering, extremely cold-hardy, and disease-resistant. USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 3-9.
Popular in Victorian England, bourbons produce large, fragrant blooms on vigorous bushes. Many antique roses varieties repeat-flower. They are susceptible to black spot and powdery mildew. Zones 5-10 (to Zone 4 with winter protection)
Centifolia (cabbage roses)
Especially popular in Dutch paintings, centifolias bloom in spring with heavily fragrant flowers in pink or cerise on large, arching plants. They are susceptible to powdery mildew and black spot. Zones 4-9
Brought to Europe in the mid-18th century, these low-growing shrubs produce clusters of small flowers ranging from white to pink to true scarlet, with a spicy fragrance. Chinas are cold-tender. Zones 8-10
Brought to Europe by the Crusaders, these ancient antique roses have rich perfume. The tall, arching shrubs exhibit strong winter-hardiness. Zones 4-9
Among the oldest roses, gallicas have short, compact plants with thin, prickly canes and perfumed flowers. Colors range from pale pink to dark purple. Plants are spring-flowering and winter-hardy. Zones 4-10
Hybrid perpetual Rose
Popular in Victorian England, these antique roses bear repeat blooms of fragrant, full flowers on tall, upright shrubs. Zones 5-10
Also popular in Victorian England, these distinctive roses have fragrant, mosslike growth on the flower buds. They are available in a range of colors and flower forms. Some are susceptible to black spot and powdery mildew. Zones 4-9
Hybridized in the early 1800s in South Carolina, these repeat-blooming, fragrant plants are often used as climbing or pillar roses. Some are susceptible to black spot and powdery mildew. Zones 6-9
Forerunners of modern floribundas, polyanthas are low-growing, compact shrubs that produce clusters of flowers in a wide range of colors. They are repeat bloomers. Zones 4-9
Compact, fragrant, and repeat-blooming, Portland roses are excellent in small gardens. Zones 4-9
Ramblers and climbers
These varieties can be so vigorous they grow into treetops. Most are once-blooming, producing masses of vibrant blooms. Some are fragrant. Zones 5-9 (depending on variety)
These plants are extremely cold-hardy, fragrant, and very disease-resistant. Species bloom once; hybrids repeat. Many produce hips in winter. Zones 3-9
Antique Roses Species
These are the original roses, growing wild in temperate climates, with characteristic flowers of five petals. They are typically hardy and disease-resistant.
The scent of these roses resembles crushed fresh tea leaves. Developed in China, this group’s flowers are larger than those of their China relatives. Plants are large and open with fragile stems. Zones 7-9
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