Growing Roses: Choosing The Right Rose

Choosing a rose requires research if you want to get the rose that's best suited for your situation. You may be selecting a rose to fill a specific role in the landscape or simply need one that will survive in your garden's growing conditions. 

Whatever the case, you can take the guesswork out of choosing a rose with our easy-to-follow guide. Find the growing conditions that match your needs, and you'll find a rose, or two, that could work for you.


Roses thrive when they get at least six hours of sun and rich, well-drained soil. When you're looking for a rose for this situation, you have limitless choices. You can't go wrong with All-America Rose Selections (AARS) winners, like 'Pink Promise.'

'Pink Promise'
The official rose of the National Breast Cancer Foundation and a 2009 AARS winner, 'Pink Promise' unfurls 5-inch-wide blossoms atop long, elegant stems ideal for cutting. Blooms boast a light, fruity fragrance. Foliage shrugs off disease with ease. A percentage of the sales of this beauty go to fund breast cancer education and early detection.

  • Size: 5 feet high and 3-4 feet wide
  • Hardiness: USDA Zones 6-10, may survive winters in Zone 5 with protection
  • Landscape Use: Mixed planting beds and borders, cutting gardens

Other great roses for ideal sites include our favorite fragrant roses and strong landscape performers.


Ground-cover roses blanket slopes and hills with a carpet of color. Some roses root where cascading stems contact the soil. Learn about growing ground cover roses.

Drift Roses
These naturally dwarf roses stage a show with continuous flowers atop disease-resistant leaves. Plants are almost maintenance-free. Prune in early spring (cut plants back to 4-12 inches high depending on how high you want the new growth) after all danger of frost is past. Removing dead blooms regularly encourages rebloom but isn't necessary. Look for drift roses that bloom in shades of red, pink, peach and white.

  • Size: 1.5 feet high and 2-3 feet wide
  • Hardiness: USDA Zones 4-10
  • Landscape Use: Hillsides or small slopes, small planting beds, perennial borders

Other great roses for slopes include strong ground-cover roses, such as 'Flower Carpet,' 'Blanket' or some of the Meidiland roses.


Roses need sunlight to reach their full beauty, but some roses grow in as little as four hours of sun. Fewer flowers form and the plants are more susceptible to disease, but the plants still grace gardens with beauty.

Clusters of white double blooms blanket bushes with color and fragrance. In a partly-shaded spot, the white flower really shines. In warm-winter regions, plants may blossom year-round. Cut stems for bouquets to enjoy the fragrance indoors.

  • Size: 2-6 feet high and 3-4 feet wide
  • Hardiness: USDA Zones 4-10
  • Landscape Use: Mass plantings, hedges, foundation plantings

Other great roses for shade include 'Mutabilis,' 'Playboy,' 'Just Joey' and 'Lavender Lassie.'


It's tough to beat a rose hedge in full flower. Some hedge roses are smothered with blooms for much of the growing season, especially in warm regions.

Knock Out Roses
These sturdy roses perform well in all regions and offer drought tolerance. Look for varieties with flowers in shades of red, pink, yellow and bicolor blends. Flowers can be single or double. Plants don't require deadheading; prune as needed and desired. Learn more about pruning roses.

  • Size: 2-4 feet high and 3-4 feet wide
  • Hardiness: USDA Zones 4-10
  • Landscape Use: Mass plantings, mixed borders

Other great hedge roses include 'Bonica' and 'Simplicity,' although gardeners in regions with colder winters and humid summers report some disease problems with some of the older 'Simplicity' varieties. If you garden in these areas, do your homework before planting this rose.


You don't need a large garden to grow great roses. There are plenty of roses with small statures that fit neatly in little gardens or containers. When growing roses in pots, make sure you have a container that's large enough for the mature size of the rose you're growing.

'Betty Boop'
This colorful character works well in a small garden or large container, such as a half whiskey barrel, where you can savor the show up close. Buds open to reveal a semi-double ivory blossom edged with red and a bright-yellow center. Snip a few blooms to enjoy the light, fruity fragrance indoors. Leaves show good resistance to Black Spot.

  • Size: 3-5 feet high and wide
  • Hardiness: USDA Zones 6-10, Zone 5 with winter protection
  • Landscape Use: Mixed borders, hedges, foundation plantings, cottage gardens

Other great roses for containers and small gardens include 'The Fairy,' 'Sexy Rexy' and miniature roses, such as 'Jean Kenneally' and 'Gourmet Popcorn.'