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Shrub Roses, Tough and Hardy

By Carl Wilson, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Agent, Horticulture

Shrub roses are an eclectic group of plants noted for their hardiness and toughness. Many bear scented flowers that bloom over a long period. Grow as specimen plants or use them as flowering hedges.

Unlike more finicky roses, they are generally more disease-resistant and are best grown on their own roots. All the following roses are hardy at least to Zone 5 Front Range areas.

White flowered shrub roses include ‘Iceberg’, a 5 feet high beauty noted for its prolific, repeat bloom and spicy scent. For a shorter plant, try ‘Gourmet Popcorn’. This well-perfumed, dwarf rose bears hundreds of miniature blooms from late spring through fall.

Yellow flowered varieties include 6 feet high ‘Sally Holmes’. The single, ivory yellow blooms are lightly scented and borne on long stems from spring through autumn. Another notable yellow single is "Golden Wings’. For a double bloom try David Austin’s scented variety, ‘Graham Thomas’ . A yellow rose hardy in Zone 3 mountain areas is ‘Harrison’s Yellow’.

Other locally recommend roses include fragrant pink ‘Banshee’, good for long-stemmed cut roses supplied by trimming back its 10 feet canes. Other quality pinks are ‘Applejack’, and for high elevations, ‘William Baffin’.

Reds to recommend include the long blooming, single rose, ‘Dortmund’. For high elevations, plant ‘Champlain’ or ‘George Vancouver’. Many of David Austin’s English shrub rose blooms are so packed with petals they resemble peonies. Try medium red ‘Othello’ or ‘Tradescant’, a dark red.

Shrub rose varieties are many and well worth trying in Colorado.

Photograph courtesy of Judy Sedbrook.

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Date last revised: 01/05/2010