Rose Cultivars

Rose is the most popular flower the entire world over from times immemorial. Originally its fragrance attracted man’s attention but later its colour, shape, size, recurrent flowering and vase life, etc. became the equally important attributes. To the naturally existing varieties in different agro-climatic localities, the rose enthusiasts added much more creations by utilizing the tool of hybridization for new and desired characters to incorporate maximum good qualities in a single variety. In the recent years another important pathway called genetic engineering is also being practiced to improve the qualities of available plant varieties and plant species. Although much success has been achieved in this direction so far efforts are continuously being done to develop still better varieties with the result that the number of varieties grown at any time indifferent agro-climatic situations is so enormous that any new rose enthusiast is usually puzzled to make a list of his choice. It is, therefore, convenient to know the major groups of rose cultivars commonly grown and which have persisted for several years in nature also.

Roses, thus, can be classified in different ways e.g. on the basis of purpose of growing viz. Garden roses, cut-flower roses, landscape roses, exhibition roses, fragrant roses, etc. on the basis of growth habits viz. Tall, medium, dwarf, climbers, ramblers, etc. or on the basis of botanical characteristics viz. Species roses. For practical purposes, however, certain criteria selected partly from growth habits and partly from botanical characteristics are the most suited for identifying the rose cultivars. Accordingly, the cultivated or popularly grown roses are usually and broadly grouped as follows:-

  1. Large flowered or Hybrid Tea (H.T.) Roses:
  2. Roses in this group are thin to medium thick bushes with height varying from about 75 to over 200 cm. Their name, Hybrid Tea Roses, is derived from the old naturally occurring roses giving fragrance resembling to that of a freshly opened tea chest and which were used in the hybridization programmes to develop the modern roses. The plants are usually vigorously growing, perpetually flowering with large (6-10 cm. wide) blooms having 15-20 to 70 –80 petals with attractive shapes and colours. Although most of them have no or very little fragrance a few emit strong scents characterised as fruity, spicy, sweet, etc. The flower stems are medium to long (30 to 100 cm) and in most cultivars every stem bears only a single blook. This is the most widely grown type of roses for home or public gardens, exhibition purposes and also for the cut flower trade. On the basis of plant growth habit, colour and shape of the bloom and fragrance etc. there are several hundred varieties or cultivars in this group suited to different agro-climatic conditions.

  3. Clusters flowered or Floribunda Roses:
  4. These are medium to very thick bushes – with height ranging from 50 to 120 cm. The blooms are of medium size having 6-8 to 20-25 petals, every stem often bearing 4 to 6 or even much more blooms. The stems are small to medium in length. Since abundant blooms are commonly produced in every flush, the plants exhibit excellent beauty of nature. Several good varieties with varying colour shades are available in this group also . These are most suitable for planting along the roads in beds and for landscape designing as well.

  1. Miniature Roses:
  2. As the name suggests, these roses can be well described as miniature floribundas. The plant height is about 30 to 50 cm, with tiny delicate leaves and flowers. When in full bloom the plants get fully covered with small attractive colourful flowers in thick clusters. These roses also make excellent pathway borders and individual potted plants.

  3. Climbing Roses:
  4. These are mostly naturally growing wild roses with thick vine-like growth habit. The blooms are of medium size and they are usually produced in clusters. The blooming period is also short and seasoned as compared to that of the other three groups described earlier. Even though these roses are quite popular in western countries, they are very rarely grown in India, perhaps due to the fact that cultivars suitable for the agro-climatic conditions existing in the country are not available.

    Besides the four groups of roses described above, the wild roses like `Polyanthas’, `Ramblers’, etc. are also seen in some gardens but the blooming period being short and seasonal and due to shy blooming nature these roses are not very popular.

    Although hundreds of excellent rose varieties have been developed so far and are being grown popularly, the rose hybridizes are continuously trying to evolve still better cultivars suitable for different purposes and different purposes and different agro-climatic situations and several new varieties are released every year in different parts of the world.

    Another important point to be noted in this respect is that howsoever excellent a variety may be, it may not be so under all circumstances. Climate and Soil of a locality profoundly affects the performance of a variety.