Unusual Roses

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

Go Big

For a standout in your garden, try the hybrid tea Great Century. The blooms can reach mammoth proportions up to 8 inches in diameter. The largest rose bush is actually a tie between a Rosa banksiae in Tombstone, Arizona, that covers an incomprehensible 8,000 square feet, and a Kiftsgate rose located in England, measuring 80- x 90-feet wide and 50-feet tall.

Think Small

Winning the title for smallest is the micro-miniature Si, averaging only 4 inches in height. The blooms are smaller than the size of dime when fully opened. Grow in a flowerpot so it doesn’t get lost in the garden.

First and Foremost

True rosarians may want to consider old garden roses with particular historical significance. ‘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.

Bottled Beauty

The supremely fragrant ‘Kazanlik,’ a Damask, has commercial importance as the main rose grown for producing attar of roses (fragrant oil used to make perfume).

Color Me Interesting

Many 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. Broaden the color palette in your garden with russet, buff, gray, or dark purple blossoms. For enticing color combinations, try bi-colored roses or those with a “reverse” the inside petal is a different color than the outside.

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 (deep pink)
  • Crested Moss (medium pink)
  • Kazanlik (deep pink)
  • La France (light pink)
  • Quatre Saisons (medium pink)
  • The Green Rose (white/green)

Multi-Colored Blooms

  • Flutterbye (yellow bicolor)
  • Joseph's Coat (red bicolor)
  • Mutabilis (yellow bicolor)
  • Pleasant Valley (pink bicolor)
  • Rainbow Knockout (pink bicolor)
  • The Magician (yellow bicolor)

Handpainted Roses

  • Champagne Cocktail (yellow bicolor)
  • Eyepaint (red bicolor)
  • Frühlingsmorgen (pink bicolor)
  • Little Artist (red bicolor)
  • Maestro (red bicolor)
  • Picasso (pink bicolor)
  • Regensberg (pink bicolor)
  • Rock 'n' Roll (red bicolor/orange bicolor)
  • Watercolors (yellow bicolor)

Colorful Fall Foliage

  • Ann Endt (dark red)
  • Champlain (dark red)
  • F.J. Grootendorst (medium red/light red)
  • Indian Love Call (medium pink)
  • Meidiland Roses (series)
  • Pink Robin (medium pink)
  • Rosa glauca (medium pink)
  • R. rugosa alba/rubra (white/red)
  • Roseraie de l'Hay (dark red/mauve)
  • Thérèse Bugnet (medium pink)
  • Tuscany Superb (mauve)

Roses with Trailing Habit

  • Green Snake (white)
  • Peachy Creeper (orange bicolor)
  • Ralph's Creeper (red bicolor)
  • Red Cascade (deep red)
  • Wing-Ding (medium red/orange red)

Spotted/Freckled Blooms

  • Cramoisi Picoté (red bicolor)
  • Dorcas (pink bicolor)
  • Euprates (pink bicolor)
  • Freckle Face (pink bicolor)
  • Freckles (pink bicolor)
  • Marbrée (red bicolor/pink bicolor)
  • Spanish Rhapsody (pink bicolor)

Striped Blooms

  • Candy Cane (pink bicolor)
  • Earthquake (red bicolor)
  • Fourth of July (red bicolor)
  • Honorine de Brabant (pink bicolor)
  • Life Lines (orange/orange bicolor)
  • Oranges 'n' Lemons (orange bicolor)
  • Patriot Kordana (red bicolor)
  • Purple Tiger (mauve)
  • Rosa Mundi (pink bicolor)
  • Scentimental (red bicolor)
  • Secret Recipe (red bicolor)
  • Stars 'n' Stripes Forever (red bicolor)
  • Strawberry Swirl (red bicolor)
  • Tawny Tiger (red)
  • Tigress (mauve)
  • Tricolore de Flandre (pink bicolor)
  • Variegata di Bologna (red bicolor)
  • Wonderstripe (pink bicolor)

Bloom size greater than 6"

  • Acapella (pink bicolor/red bicolor)
  • Alec's Red (medium red)
  • Big Purple (mauve)
  • Brandy (apricot bicolor)
  • Buxom Beauty (deep pink)
  • Dolly Parton (orange)
  • Falling in Love (pink bicolor)
  • First Prize (pink bicolor)
  • Great Century (pink bicolor)
  • Ingrid Bergman (dark red)
  • Legends (medium red)
  • Love's Magic (dark red)
  • Medallion (apricot blush)
  • Moonstone (white/pink blush)
  • Peace (yellow blush)
  • Pristine (white)

Roses of Unusual Color

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

Strong Bi-Color/Reverse

  • Betty Boop (red bicolor)
  • Cherry Parfait (red bicolor)
  • Double Delight (red bicolor)
  • Gemini (pink bicolor)
  • French Perfume (yellow bicolor)
  • Handel (red bicolor)
  • Iced Raspberry (red bicolor)
  • Léonidas (red blend/russet)
  • Lynn Anderson (pink bicolor)
  • Nicole (pink bicolor)
  • Night Light (dark yellow/yellow bicolor)
  • Rosy Dawn (yellow bicolor)
  • Sassy Cindy (red bicolor)
  • Typhoo Tea (red bicolor)

Si Rose Si, a micro-miniature rose whose blooms are smaller than a dime.
The Magician Rose The Magician offers flowers in a range of warm colors.
Variegata di Bologna Rose The uniquely striped Variegate di Bologna
Apothecary’s Rose Apothecary’s Rose, grown for centuries as a medicinal plant, is one of the oldest roses in cultivation.
Distant Drums Rose Distant Drums (Shrub)
Cherry Parfait Rose Cherry Parfait (Grandiflora)
Café Olé Rose Café Olé (Miniature)
Black Baccara Rose Black Baccara (Hybrid Tea)