10 best rose varieties to grow in your backyard, according to a professional flower farmer

Whether chosen for scent, color or sheer romance, these 10 best rose varieties have it all

Roses in bloom
(Image credit: Getty/John W Banagan)

Could there be a more classically romantic flower than the rose? These floriferous shrubs have it all: color, sweet fragrance, and long-lasting blooms. They are also hugely versatile in the backyard, and once you have your rose care spot on they will reward you with months of exquisite flowers. 

We often associate roses with the classic English cottage garden style, or more formal, walled gardens with geometric planting layouts, but there are so many different options to consider for your rose garden ideas

If I were planning my flower bed ideas from scratch, I know that roses would form the essential bedrock of my designs - they certainly do in my cut-flower patch. But with so many different ones on the market, how do you know which are the best rose varieties to grow at home? We spoke to Gracie Poulson, a professional rose grower, owner of Grace Rose Farm in California, and author of Garden Roses (Artisan Books), available to pre-order on Amazon, to find out which particular types we should be adding to our backyard ideas this summer. 

10 of the best rose varieties to grow in your backyard

These rose varieties will elevate your yard and reward you with a long season of fragrant blooms.  

Alabaster rose

White alabaster rose bloom

(Image credit: Marcy Black Simpson)

Pure white Alabaster roses are timeless and elegant, and have a delicate lilac fragrance.  

'Alabaster is a wonderful rose to grow in the springtime that has an extensive indoor vase life of almost two weeks before the petals begin to drop and it is time to bring it outside to allow for its beautiful cupped blooms to flourish,' says Gracie. 

Add to that the fact that it comes with nearly thornless stems and it is no surprise why this variety is one of my favorites to incorporate in my garden.' 

Gracie Poulson headshot
Gracie Poulson

Gracie Poulson co-founded Grace Rose Farm in California with her husband in 2015. They now grow garden roses on two properties in Somis and Moorpark, California with a combined acreage of 50 acres. In addition to our California properties where they trial thousands of varieties to bring to market as cut roses and rose bushes, they also partner with farms and breeders around the world that specialize in cut roses.

Notting Hill rose

Pink Notting Hill rose bloom

(Image credit: Marcy Black Simpson)

This garden rose is the perfect variety for those who aspire to have an English garden

'The variety has excellent disease resistance, provided you have taken previous cautionary measures to prevent them,' says Gracie. 'The peachy pink color tones along with the ruffled and deeply cupped blooms add the right amount of charm to any garden area.'

Ashley rose

Pink Ashley rose bloom

(Image credit: Marcy Black Simpson)

'It is no secret why this garden rose variety is a consistent in our home before planting time,' says Gracie. 

'Not only are the 4-5 inch heads hearty and set to last for close to two weeks indoors, but once they have been exposed to the outdoors to experience growth, they unravel to reveal layers of scalloped petals with ruffled ridges for a stunning addition to the garden.' 

Royal Park rose

Lemon yellow Royal Park rose blooms

(Image credit: Marcy Black Simpson)

For its elegance alone, incorporating Royal Park into your garden space is a no-brainer. It has a darker center, but as it blooms the petals become more of a regal cream shade.

'This shrub grows into an elegant spray rose that is best utilized as a border and hedge with its delicate and creamy yellow blooms,' says Gracie. 

Moonlight in Paris rose

Peachy pink Moonlight in Paris rose blooms

(Image credit: Marcy Black Simpson)

This Floribunda variety is an absolute joy to incorporate into your garden. It has a moderate, spice fragrance, and it's romantic shades range from orange and gold to peachy-pink.

'Plant them in groupings where they can receive full sun to allow for their frilly and blush-toned petals to blossom into a mesmerizing display reminiscent of classic garden roses,' says Gracie.

You can shop Moonlight in Paris rose shrubs at Walmart.

Francis Meilland rose

Pale pink Francis Meilland rose bush

(Image credit: Marcy Black Simpson)

This beloved garden rose is an easy choice when considering the best rose varieties to grow within your garden. 

'The blush blooms expand to an impressive 5 to 6 inches and the stems are easy to manage as they come nearly thornless, complete with glossy and dark foliage,' explains Gracie. 'When the hybrid tea rose finally blossoms, take in its beauty while enjoying its strong, aromatic scent.'

Pink O’Hara rose

Pink o'Hara roses in bloom

(Image credit: Marcy Black Simpson)

This garden rose variety is sure to make an impression on the garden space with its cherry blossom shades of pink. Bred in France by Georges Delbard, Pink O'Hara is the sister to White O'Hara, which is a cut stem very commonly used in wedding floral design.

'Successfully planting this largely disease-resistant shrub will require the full sun to allow for the cupped blooms to flourish, showcasing the vibrant hue of ballet pink,' Gracie says.

Earth Angel rose

Pale cream with a pink centre Earth Angel roses

(Image credit: Marcy Black Simpson)

Earth Angel is an exceptionally fragrant peony-shaped rose with a delicate fragrance and old fashioned appearance. 

'If you are like me and cannot get enough of Floribunda roses, then this cream and pink variety is for you. Not only does it have disease resistant to many forms such as black spot, but it also has distinctive rounded blooms resembling that of a peony,' says Gracie. 

You can shop for an Earth Angel rose shrub at Nature Hills. 

Cathedral Bells rose

Bright magenta pink Cathedral Bells roses

(Image credit: Marcy Black Simpson)

A highly perfumed rose variety, Cathedral bells is a shrub rose, which grows well in US hardiness zones 4-9. 

'One of my all-time favorites comes courtesy of this pink hybrid tea rose variety. With lengthy shrubs of 4 to 5 inches, these stems extend to reveal over 40 petals carrying an exceptional fragrance that is sure to spruce up the home garden,' enthuses Gracie. 

Shirley’s Bouquet rose

Pale creamy lemon Shirley's Bouquet rose in bloom

(Image credit: Marcy Black Simpson)

Shirley’s Bouquet is an ideal choice for an expansive garden display, as the bloom forms are doubled and the petals are fluffed with hints of blush during springtime. 

'Once they are ready to open, they reveal a heavenly scent that is sure to leave a lasting impression on you just like it did for me,' says Gracie.

If you are designing a rose garden, including any of these glorious varieties of roses will undoubtedly elevate your plans, not to mention add stunning fragrance to your garden. 

Garden Roses (Artisan Books) by Gracie Poulson is available to pre-order on Amazon.

For smaller spaces, consider learning how to grow miniature roses, for a compact but impactful rose display this year. 

Rachel Bull
Head of Gardens

Rachel is a gardening writer, flower grower and floral designer. Her journalism career began on Country Living magazine, sparking a love of container gardening and wild planting. After more than a decade writing for and editing a range of consumer, business and special interest titles, Rachel became editor of floral art magazine The Flower Arranger. She then trained and worked as a floral designer and stylist in London for six years, before moving to York and joining the Homes & Gardens team. Her love of gardening has endured throughout, and she now grows an abundance of vegetables and flowers on her rambling Yorkshire plot.