Unusual Roses

For the avid rose collector or a gardener simply looking for more unique varieties, the rose family offers some truly stunning and unusual roses that are sure to become conversation pieces in your garden.

Consider the world’s “smallest” and “largest” roses for a study in contrasts. Winning the title for smallest is the micro-miniature Si, averaging only 4” tall. The largest rose is actually a tie between a Rosa banksiae banksiae in Tombstone, Arizona that covers an incomprehensible 8,000 square feet, and a Kiftsgate rose located in England measuring 80 feet x 90 feet x 50 feet tall.  Bloom size can also reach mammoth proportions; the hybrid tea Great Century can produce blooms up to 8” in diameter, sure to be a standout in the landscape.

True rosarians may want to consider Old Garden Roses with particular historical significance for their gardens. The Apothecary’s Rose, for example, is one of the oldest known rose varieties and has been in cultivation since the Crusades. Quatre Saisons, a Damask, is recognized as the oldest repeat-blooming European Rose. La France has the distinction of being the first Hybrid Tea (ushering in the era of modern roses), while the supremely fragrant Kazanlik, a Damask, has commercial importance; it is the main rose grown for producing attar of roses (fragrant oil used to make perfume).

Other roses have unusual color or distinct markings that make them unique. Some varieties have spotted, freckled, or striped blooms; others provide multiple colors of flowers on the same bush. Or try one of the roses with russet, buff, grey, or dark purple blossoms to broaden your color palette. Bi-colored roses or those with a “reverse” (inside of petal a different color than outside of petal) also offer different, enticing color combinations.

Crested Moss Rose & The Green Rose

For Crested Moss (left) and The Green Rose (right), it’s the flower sepals that draw the most attention.  The rich pink blossoms of Crested Moss open from unusually mossed sepals that give the buds a frilled appearance.  The blooms of The Green Rose, on the other hand, are entirely made up of sepals; technically, this rose lacks true petals.

Unusual Roses

Notable Old Garden Roses

  • Apothecary's Rose (dp)
  • Crested Moss (mp)
  • Kazanlik (dp)
  • La France (lp)
  • Quatre Saisons (mp)
  • The Green Rose (w/green)

Multi-Colored Blooms

  • Flutterbye (yb)
  • Joseph's Coat (rb)
  • Mutabilis (yb)
  • Pleasant Valley (pb)
  • Rainbow Knockout (pb)
  • The Magician (yb)

“Handpainted” Roses

  • Champagne Cocktail (yb)
  • Eyepaint (rb)
  • Frühlingsmorgen (pb)
  • Little Artist (rb)
  • Maestro (rb)
  • Picasso (pb)
  • Regensberg (pb)
  • Rock 'n' Roll (rb/ob)
  • Watercolors (yb)

Colorful Fall Foliage

  • Ann Endt (dr)
  • Champlain (dr)
  • F.J. Grootendorst (mr/lr)
  • Indian Love Call (mp)
  • Meidiland Roses (series)
  • Pink Robin (mp)
  • Rosa glauca (mp)
  • R. rugosa alba/rubra (w/r)
  • Roseraie de l'Hay (dr/m)
  • Thérèse Bugnet (mp)
  • Tuscany Superb (m)

Roses with Trailing Habit

  • Green Snake (w)
  • Peachy Creeper (ob)
  • Ralph's Creeper (rb)
  • Red Cascade (dr)
  • Wing-Ding (mr/or)

Spotted/Freckled Blooms

  • Alain Blanchard (m)
  • Cramoisi Picoté (rb)
  • Dorcas (pb)
  • Euprates (pb)
  • Freckle Face (pb)
  • Freckles (pb)
  • Marbrée (rb/pb)
  • Spanish Rhapsody (pb)

Striped Blooms

  • Candy Cane (pb)
  • Earthquake (rb)
  • Fourth of July (rb)
  • Honorine de Brabant (pb)
  • Life Lines (or/ob)
  • Oranges 'n' Lemons (ob)
  • Patriot Kordana (rb)
  • Purple Tiger (m)
  • Rosa Mundi (pb)
  • Scentimental (rb)
  • Secret Recipe (rb)
  • Stars 'n' Stripes Forever (rb)
  • Strawberry Swirl (rb)
  • Tawny Tiger (r)
  • Tigress (m)
  • Tricolore de Flandre (pb)
  • Variegata di Bologna (rb)
  • Wonderstripe (pb)

Bloom size greater than 6"

  • Acapella (pb/rb)
  • Alec's Red (mr)
  • Big Purple (m)
  • Brandy (ab)
  • Buxom Beauty (dp)
  • Dolly Parton (or)
  • Falling in Love (pb)
  • First Prize (pb)
  • Great Century (pb)
  • Ingrid Bergman (dr)
  • Legends (mr)
  • Love's Magic (dr)
  • Medallion (ab)
  • Moonstone (w/pb)
  • Peace (yb)
  • Pristine (w)

Roses of Unusual Color

  • Black Baccara (dr)
  • Black Ice (dr)
  • Black Jade (dr)
  • Black Pearl (dr)
  • Blue Girl (m)
  • Bronze Star (ab)
  • Burgundy Iceberg (dr)
  • Butterscotch (russet)
  • Café Olé (russet)
  • Cinco de Mayo (russet)
  • Denver's Dream (ob)
  • Distant Drums (mauve/tan)
  • Green Diamond (w/green)
  • Green Ice (w/green)
  • Greensleeves (w/pb-green)
  • Hot Cocoa (russet)
  • Iced Tea (russet)
  • Julia's Rose (russet)
  • Kaleidoscope (mauve/tan)
  • Lagerfeld (m)
  • Lavender Pinocchio (m)
  • Midnight Blue (m)
  • Night Owl (m)
  • Outta the Blue (m)
  • Paradise (m)
  • Remember Me (ob)
  • Rhapsody In Blue (m)
  • Stainless Steel (m)
  • Teddy Bear (russet)
  • Tom Thumb (rb)

Strong Bi-Color/Reverse

  • Betty Boop (rb)
  • Cherry Parfait (rb)
  • Double Delight (rb)
  • Gemini (pb)
  • French Perfume (yb)
  • Handel (rb)
  • Iced Raspberry (rb)
  • Léonidas (red blend/russet)
  • Lynn Anderson (pb)
  • Nicole (pb)
  • Night Light (dy/yb)
  • Rosy Dawn (yb)
  • Sassy Cindy (rb)
  • Typhoo Tea (rb)

Si Rose

The Magician Rose

Looking for a rose that is out of the ordinary?  Try the micro- miniature Si, whose blooms are smaller than a dime.  The Magician offers flowers in a range of warm colors, while Variegata di Bologna is striped.  The Apothecary’s Rose, grown for centuries as a medicinal plant, is one of the oldest roses in cultivation.

Variegata di Bologna Rose

Apothecary’s Rose

Distant Drums Rose

Distant Drums

Cherry Parfait Rose

Cherry Parfait

Café Olé Rose

Café Olé

Black Baccara Rose

Black Baccara
(Hybrid Tea)