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Shrub Roses

By James E. Klett, Colorado State University, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture

Shrub roses and old garden roses are gaining national popularity as gardeners realize the excellent floral quality, good disease tolerance, and winter hardiness of these plants.

By planting shrub roses, pesticide usage can be minimized and some labor intensive jobs eliminated, such as protecting roses from low winter temperatures.

Some shrub and old garden roses which appear to have outstanding cultural and ornamental characteristics from trials at Colorado State University include:

  • Carefree series A group of smaller shrub roses which can be utilized in flower beds.
  • Meidiland series This series of shrub roses is known for good vigor, profuse flowers and hardiness. Many clones are available with white, pink, red and coral flowers in single or double blooms.
  • Morden series A series of shrub roses developed at Morden Research Station in Canada and all quite hardy. The plants flower freely and appear to have outstanding landscape value.
  • Red-leaf rose (rosa glauca) A larger, hardy shrub rose with more blue-green foliage and a maroon tinge. The stems are red and relatively thornless. The single pink flowers bloom in early summer followed by attractive red hips.

These are just some of the shrub roses which appear to have good hardiness and nice ornamental characteristics based on our trials at the W.D. Holley Plant Environmental Research Center (PERC), 630 West Lake, Fort Collins, CO on the southwest side of the Colorado State University campus. You are welcome to visit PERC during daylight hours in the growing season.

Photograph courtesy of Judy Sedbrook.

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Date last revised: 01/05/2010