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Charlie Nardozzi

Professional Gardening Expert

Best Landscape Roses & Best Rose Bushes

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Roses have the reputation of being finicky to care for and hard to grow. While that may be true of some of the traditional hybrid cut flower roses such as the ones you buy your spouse on Valentine’s Day, there is a whole group of roses that grow with much less fuss.

Landscape or shrub roses feature beautiful, disease- and insect-tolerant plants that produce flowers throughout the growing season with little care. These plants aren’t meant for the formal rose garden, but fit in well in the landscape as foundation plants around the house, as a hedge or planted in with other shrubs and perennial flowers. Landscape roses come in many shapes and sizes, but there are some characteristics that are common with all of them.

Landscape roses have continuous blooms from spring through to frost. The plants have good insect and diseases tolerance. They are hardy in most climates. They require little pruning other than removing dead or broken branches and the occasional errant branch. They have an attractive and functional shape that allows them to be used in many locations around the yard.

When choosing a landscape rose for your yard first determine the function of the plant. For planting near the house or in with other shrubs and flowers, consider the color of the flower and the ultimate size and shape of the shrub. Since these plants flower all season, choose colors that will go with the house color and other plants. If you are growing your landscape rose as a hedge, select varieties that fill in quickly and grow to the ultimate height you desire. On slopes, look for low-growing landscape roses that will cover hard-to-mow areas yet not grow out of control.

Here are some of my favorites.

We suggest the best landscape roses that grow with a lot less fuss than most. These best rose bushes look great out front or create a haven in your backyard with these best rose shrubs.

Best Landscape Roses by Charlie Nardozzi

The Best You Can Get

  • Double Knock Out

    Charlie says: The Knock Out series of roses features varieties with red, pink, and yellow colored flowers. One of my favorites is the "Double Knock Out". It’s a good size plant that can be used as a landscape shrub around the house. The bright red double flowers bloom from spring until frost. The colorful fall foliage makes it attractive in autumn as well. In general, Knock Out roses are drought tolerant, hardy, and resist black spot disease. There are up to 25 flowers per branch and they have a slightly spicy fragrance.

    • Red, 3-inch diameter, double flowers
    • Hardy in USDA zones 4-10
    • 4 foot tall and wide plant size
    • Deep purple fall foliage
  • John Cabot

    Charlie says: This Canadian Explorer series rose is hardy, black spot resistant, and vigorous. "John Cabot" features a main flush of red blooms in early summer, followed by repeat blooming until fall. The flowers have an old-fashioned rose shape and slight fragrance. The canes can reach nine feet tall and are easily trained to a post, pergola, or arch for a cascading effect. This is a specimen plant that would look good framing a walkway or entrance to a garden or yard. It could also be used as a large hedge plant by letting the tall canes arch down to the ground.

    • Red, 2-inch diameter, double flowers
    • Hardy in USDA zones 3-9
    • 6 foot wide by 9 foot tall plant size
    • Can be trained as a climbing rose
  • Coral Flower Carpet

    Charlie says: The Flower Carpet series revolutionized the use of roses in small areas and on slopes. These ground cover plants grow low and wide. They’re perfect for spreading across a hilly spot or filling in a small corner of the yard. The "Coral Flower Carpet" has beautiful, vibrant flowers that bloom from spring to frost in clusters of 20 to 30 blossoms per cane. The Flower Carpet series also has varieties with red, pink, yellow, white and scarlet colored flowers. All varieties feature shiny dark green leaves that are resistant to powdery mildew and black spot diseases. The bush doesn’t require dead heading and only needs spring pruning to shape the plant.

    • Coral pink, 2- to 3-inch diameter, single flowers
    • Hardy in USDA zones 5 – 10
    • 24 inch tall and 40 inch wide plant size
    • Good as a ground cover plant
  • Carefree Beauty

    Charlie says: This beautiful landscape plant produces flowers with the look of a hybrid tea rose, but the plant has the toughness of a species rose. There are newer selections of this rose with different colored flowers such as the yellow flowered "Carefree Sunshine". "Carefree Beauty" has medium pink colored, slightly fragrant flowers. The mound-shaped plant has light green foliage that resists most major rose diseases, such as black spot, and isn’t fussy about the soil conditions. Flowers are produced all summer long giving way to large rose hips in fall. This is one of the easiest, most widely adapted rose to grow across the country.

    • Pink, 4-inch diameter, semi-double flowers
    • Hardy in USDA zones 4-9
    • 3 foot tall by 4 foot wide plant size
    • Great hedge plant or used as a backdrop to the flower border
  • Bonica

    Charlie says: This shrub rose is one of the original Meidiland series of roses. This group features varieties with resistance to most major rose diseases, have good plant hardiness, and the ability to grow in difficult settings. "Bonica" has double pink flowers that are born on main and side branches all summer long. The arched canes make this an excellent hedge plant or it can be used as a specimen plant in a foundation planting. Planted in mass, the flower show is quite spectacular. Bright orange rose hips form in fall for added color.

    • Shell pink, 2.5-inch diameter, double flowers
    • Hardy in USDA zones 4-9
    • 4 foot tall and wide plant size
    • Prolific bloomer

You will be happy with any of these

  • Lavender Simplicity

    Charlie says: The original Simplicity rose is one of the most popular landscape roses ever. There are red, pink, and white flower colored versions of this variety. The "Lavender Simplicity" is one the newer selections. It features semi-double flowers that bloom from summer until frost on a disease-resistant, upright plant. The flowers are larger than other Simplicity selections. This plant makes a great hedge or border rose. It grows in most soils and blooms very profusely. The citrus scent makes this a great rose for cutting as well.

    • Lavender, 3.5-inch diameter, semi-double flowers
    • Hardy in USDA zones 5-9
    • 4 foot tall by 5 foot wide plant size
    • Citrus scent
  • Hansa Rosa Rugosa

    Charlie says: Rugosa roses are known for their “tough as nails” reputation. They survive along the coast with constant winds, salt spray, and poor soils, as well as on rocky soils and in cold winters of the North. "Hansa" is an exceptional heirloom landscape rose because it takes the tough characteristics of the rugosa roses and combines it with the pleasant flower form and fragrance of a shrub rose. The deep red, very fragrant flowers bloom in early summer and repeat flowering all season. The puckered leaves resist major rose diseases and Japanese beetle attacks. The plant sends up suckers or new shoots from the roots, freely. It’s best grown as a hedge or screen to block access or a view. It can be severely pruned if it gets scraggily and will readily re-grow. "Hansa" produces large red hips in fall.

    • Deep red, 3-inch diameter, semi double flowers
    • Hardy in USDA zones 3-10
    • 7 foot tall by 8 foot wide, vase shaped plant size
    • Suckers freely
  • Mayflower English Rose

    Charlie says: The English or David Austin roses combine the charm, fragrance, and beauty of the heirloom roses with the toughness and every-blooming characteristic of modern roses. ‘Mayflower’ is a small sized shrub with interesting shaped, rose pink double flowers with an old rose fragrance that bloom from early summer to fall. The shrub resists black spot, rust, and powdery mildew diseases.

    The small plant size makes ‘Mayflower’ great planted in the front of a border or under a low window.

    • Rose-pink, 3-inch diameter, double flowers
    • Hardy in USDA zones 6-9
    • 4 foot tall by 3 foot wide plant size
    • Unique flowers on small, tough shrub
  • The Fairy

    Charlie says: This hardy heirloom variety is still considered one of the best shrub roses around. The low growing habit makes it great as a groundcover rose, yet it flowers freely through the summer making it also a good selection in a low flower or shrub border. The pink blossom clusters appear in abundance on rangy flower canes. They also make great long-lasting cut flowers. It resists most major rose diseases.

    • Soft pink, 2-inch diameter, double flowers
    • Hardy in USDA zone 4-9
    • 2 foot tall by 3 foot wide plant size
    • Heirloom shrub rose with clusters of small pink flowers
  • Belinda’s Dream

    Charlie says: This large shrub rose has fragrant, pink, double flowers that look like the classic hybrid tea rose, but the plant is tough enough to be considered a landscape rose. It’s a good shrub rose for the South because although it may get some diseases, such as black spot and powdery mildew, it is vigorous enough to outgrow the damage and rarely needs spraying. It can grow in a variety of soil conditions. This rose looks great in a mixed border with other roses and shrubs or used as a cutting rose for its fragrant, attractive flowers.

    • Pink, 3.5-inch diameter, double flowers
    • Hardy in USDA zones 5-9
    • 5 foot tall by 4 foot wide plant size
    • Texas Superstar award winner, good in the heat and humidity

Related Articles

For the best landscape roses, choose ones that take little care. We recommend the best rose bushes that are beautiful, disease-free and insect-tolerant so you can sit back and smell the roses without much fuss. These best rose shrubs also continuously bloom from spring to first frost for a touch of beauty in your front yard or your backyard haven.