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National Rose Month

All About Roses

About The American Rose Society

Mission: The American Rose Society exists to promote the culture, preservation and appreciation of the Rose, and to improve its standard of excellence for all people, through education and research. 

Vision: The rose is America's National Floral Emblem. We aspire to be the nation's best source for information, research and education about the rose for our members and for the general public. We will share this information through a website ( a national network of Consulting Rosarians, and rose shows and non-competitive rose exhibitions open to the general public.


• The American Rose Society is the oldest single-plant horticulture society in America. ARS is a non-profit educational organization dedicated exclusively to the cultivation and enjoyment of roses. ARS supports its members by providing educational programs, resourceful publications, and continuing research. 

• Did you know the American Rose Society serves as International Cultivar Registration Authority - Roses (ICRA) by appointment of the International Society for Horticultural Sciences? This means ARS documents and collects the names of thousands of roses world-wide. The ARS also published Modern Roses to document this. Originally published in 1930 with 2,511 collected rose registrations world-wide, with eleven subsequent books. Today, the American Rose Society's Modern Rose database is home to more than 37,000 registered roses. 


• The American Rose Center opened in 1974 as the national headquarters of the American Rose Society. It is the nation's largest park dedicated to roses, as well as an educational resource, nature retreat, event venue, and showcase for the rose. Our gardens include more than 400 varieties of roses spread out over 60 acres and are open year round. There is a chapel and reception hall for weddings and special events for up to 200 guests. 


• The American Rose Society publishes American Rose, an award-winning national magazine all about growing better roses, from their headquarters home in Shreveport, Louisiana. The magazine has been published since 1933. Its sister publication, the American Rose Annual has been published since 1916.  

The National Floral Emblem
national floral emblem

Did you know the rose is America's National Floral Emblem? On November 20, 1986 President Ronald Reagan signed Joint Resolution 159[Publ.L. 99.449, Oct. 7, 1986, 100 Stat. 1128, which enacted this section] designating the rose as the national floral emblem in a ceremony at the White House.

All About Roses
All About Roses

No other flower has a wider range of size, color, shape and flower form than the rose for attractive and easy adaptation to any garden setting. Roses are among the most versatile of plants. They come in every shape, size and color imaginable with architectural dimensions, both in bloom and plant size, that make it possible to please everyone! They bloom constantly from early spring to late fall, providing a rich tapestry of color in the garden.


Species Roses
Often referred to as “wild roses,” species roses are usually single-petaled (4-8 petals), once-blooming and have a bush size ranging from 2 to 20 feet. They are listed according to their Latin name, beginning with R. for Rosa and can have common synonyms. For example, R. foetida bicolor is also known as 'Austrian Copper'.

Old Garden Roses
In 1966, the American Rose Society defined old garden roses as those types that existed prior to 1867, the year of introduction of the very first hybrid tea, 'La France'. Within this generic definition, a number of popular subdivisions exist based on natural historical developments and characteristics. The flower form can be quartered, cupped, imbricated or expanded, reflexed, globular or compact. After an initial spring crop of blooms, some varieties may produce no more flowers the rest of year, but their hip production does add a different kind of beauty to the garden. The beauty of the old garden roses often lies in the heavy fragrance they can impart to the garden. The most popular classes are:

Known as “white roses,” these plants are upright, often climbing, have dense blue-green foliage and are disease resistant.


This group of climbing, sprawling roses originated in Scotland and are once blooming.

Developed from the hybrid chinas, these were the first repeat-flowering roses. They derive their name from the location of the first members of the class, the Ile de Bourbon in the Indian Ocean. Plant size can range from 2 to 15 feet tall. Repeat blooming.

This is a small group of thornless rambling-type, once-blooming roses developed by the French gardener who gave his name to the class.

These Dutch hybridized roses derive their class name from the fact that the flowers often contain more than 100 petals. Plants are 4 to 8 feet tall, winter hardy and are once blooming. They are also referred to as “cabbage roses” and are featured in Dutch flower paintings of the 17th century.

This group’s most important characteristic is its ability to repeat bloom. The plants are variable in height, with relatively few thorns. They are generally winter-tender, not surviving well below USDA zone 7. The flowers tend to be borne in small clusters. China roses originated in Southeast Asia and are one of the most important historical groups of roses.

These roses are best known for their intense heavy fragrance. Plants generally range in size from 3 to 6 feet. Some varieties are repeat blooming.

Hybrid China
These plants are generally small, ranging from 2 to 3 feet tall, and are repeat blooming. Stems are often too weak to support the clusters of blooms, which have a spicy fragrance. Plants are not hardy and require winter protection in cold climates.

Hybrid Gallica
These plants are small, 3 to 4 feet tall, and are winter hardy. Blooms are fragrant, come in brilliant colors, and are once blooming.

Hybrid Perpetual
Popular during the 19th century, these roses are characterized by their repeat bloom, plant size (about six feet tall, upright), fragrance and color range (mostly pinks and reds).

Named for the mossy thorn growth on the peduncle just below the bloom and sepals, this group releases a pine-scented oleoresin when the moss is rubbed between the fingers. Plants are generally winter hardy and 3 to 6 feet tall. Some varieties are repeat blooming.

This classification originated in the United States by Philippe Noisette of Charleston, SC, who later introduced them in France when he moved there in 1817. Plants are large and sprawling, often reaching up to 20 feet tall. Blooms are produced in fragrant clusters.

This small group of roses was derived from crosses involving hybrid gallica, damask, centifolia and hybrid china. They are small in stature, usually 4 feet tall, repeat blooming and have very short peduncles. This class was named in honor of the Duchess of Portland.

Characterized as variable in height, with some of the best cultivars being Climbing Teas. Teas have large blooms on weak stems, resulting in drooping, or nodding, flowers. This group is one of the immediate ancestors of the modern Hybrid Tea. Tea roses are relatively winter-tender. They grow best when only lightly pruned.

Modern Roses
The era of modern roses was established in 1867 with the introduction of the first hybrid tea, 'La France', by the French breeder Guillot. This variety was considered unique for a number of important horticultural reasons. First, it possessed the general habit of a hybrid perpetual as well as the elegant shaped buds and free-flowering character of a tea rose. By the late 20th century, more than 10,000 hybrid teas had been bred with great success. The introduction of 'La France' heralded the era of modern roses. Breeders were quick to recognize that planned parenthood could evolve new flower forms, size, growth habit and colors. Therefore, the following new classifications based on growth habit evolved.

Hybrid Tea & Grandiflora
Perhaps the most popular class of modern roses is the hybrid tea, easily recognized by the large shapely blooms containing 30 to 50 petals. Flowers are borne on long stems either singly or with several sidebuds. In 1945, the 'Peace' rose heralded the modern era of the elegantly formed hybrid teas. So dramatic was the overwhelming public acceptance and praise accorded this variety that its place in history was instantaneous. Since 1945, many thousands of new hybrid teas have been bred and introduced.

In 1954, the introduction of a rose bred from crossing the hybrid tea 'Charlotte Armstrong' with the floribunda 'Floradora' resulted in a carmine‑rose and dawn pink variety. It displayed not only the characteristics of a hybrid tea but also the ability to bear clusters or trusses and grow to a commanding height of 6 to 8 feet or more. To accommodate this variety, the class of grandiflora was born. 'Queen Elizabeth' had the distinction of being the very first member of this class.

Floribunda & Polyantha
Second only to the hybrid tea and grandiflora in popularity, the floribunda is characterized by its profuse ability to bear flowers in large clusters or trusses with more than one bloom in flower at any one time. This class is unrivaled for providing massive, colorful, long-lasting garden displays. The distinct advantage of the floribunda is its ability to bloom continually whereas the hybrid tea exhibits a bloom cycle every six to seven weeks. Floribundas as a class are hardier, easier to care for and more reliable in wet weather than their hybrid tea counterparts.  

Polyanthas are generally smaller but sturdy plants with large clusters of small 1-inch diameter blooms often used for massing, edging and hedges.

Miniature & Miniflora
These classes have increased in popularity due to their novelty and versatility. They can be used for edging beds, growing in containers and rockeries or even for taking indoors as temporary pot plants for decoration. The height of the average plant is about 15 to 30 inches, and flower form and foliage are indeed miniature versions of both hybrid teas and floribundas.

Miniflora roses are a new classification adopted by the ARS in 1999 to recognize another step in the evolution of the rose, intermediate bloom size and foliage falling between miniatures and floribundas.

Shrub (Classic & Modern)
Shrubs are easily characterized by their sprawling habit. There are five popular subdivisions within the class: hybrid kordesii, hybrid moyesii, hybrid musk, hybrid rugosa and shrub. They can grow from 5 to 15 feet or more in every direction given the correct climate and growing conditions. Noted for their hardiness, they are usually vigorous and produce large quantities of clusters of flowers.

The unique group of roses hybridized by David Austin (often called English Roses) belong to this class. They resemble old garden roses in shape and form but are recurrent bloomers and often have fragrance.

Large Flowered Climber, Hybrid Gigantea, Hybrid Wichurana
These varieties are dominated by their growth habit, long arching canes with the ability to climb up fences, over walls, and through trellises, arbors and pergolas if properly trained and tied. These varieties offer a wide range of flower forms, shapes and colors.

Rose Classes
classes & colors

There are 38 classes of roses representing the old garden roses to modern roses, climbers, ramblers, floribundas, grandifloras, miniatures to centifolias to bourbons to musks, the list goes on.

Rose Colors

        Species (Sp)
       Alba (A)
       Ayrshire (Ayr)
       Bourbon & Climbing Bourbon (B & Cl B)
       Boursalt (Bslt)
       Centifolia (C)
       China & Climbing China (Ch & Cl Ch)
       Damask (D)
       Hybrid Bracteata (HBc)
       Hybrid China & Climbing Hybrid China (HCh & Cl HCh)
       Hybrid Eglanteria (HEg)
       Hybrid Foetida (HFt)
       Hybrid Gallica (HGal)
       Hybrid Multiflora (HMult)
       Hybrid Perpetual & Climbing Hybrid Perpetual (HP & Cl HP)
       Hybrid Sempervirens (HSem)
       Hybrid Setigera (HSet)
       Hybrid Spinosissima (HSpn)
       Miscellaneous OGRs (Misc. OGR)
       Moss & Climbing Moss (M & Cl M)
       Noisette (N)
       Portland (P)
       Tea & Climbing Tea (T & Cl T)
       Floribunda & Climbing Floribunda (F & Cl F)
       Grandiflora & Climbing Grandiflora (Gr & Cl Gr)
       Hybrid Gigantea (HG)
       Hybrid Kordesii (HKor)
       Hybrid Moyesii (HMoy)
       Hybrid Musk (HMsk)
       Hybrid Rugosa (HRg)
       Hybrid Tea & Climbing Hybrid Tea (HT & Cl HT)
       Hybrid Wichurana (HWich)
       Large-Flowered Climber (LCl)
       Miniature & Climbing Miniature (Min & Cl Min)
       Miniflora & Climbing Miniflora (MinFl & Cl MinFl)
       Polyantha & Climbing Polyantha (Pol & Cl Pol)
       Shrub (S)

There are 18 different color classes from yellow, to pink to red to mauve to russet, but there is one color that does not exist in roses? There is no BLUE rose. It is not in the genes of roses.

w - white, near white & white blend
ly - light yellow
my - medium yellow
dy - deep yellow
yb - yellow blend
ab - apricot & apricot blend
ob - orange & orange blend
op - orange-pink & orange-pink blend
or - orange-red & orange-red blend
lp - light pink
mp -  medium pink
dp - deep pink
pb - pink blend
mr - medium red
dr - dark red
rb - red blend
m - mauve & mauve blend
r - russet

rose colors
Award of Excellence

In 1973 the American Rose Society Board of Directors established the Award of Excellence to recognize new miniature and miniflora rose varieties of superior quality and marked distinction. Since the inception of the Award, there have been 137 AOE winners.

Miniflora Rose Hall of Fame
mini hall of fame

Since its creation in 1999, the Miniature and Miniflora Rose Hall of Fame has honored those miniatures and minifloras that have stood the test of time in commerce for at least 20 years, recognizing excellence and longevity. Since 1998 there have been 51 miniature or miniflora roses inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Members’ Choice Award
Member's Choice

American Rose Society “Members’ Choice Award” honors the rose introduced within the past five years with the highest garden rating score in Roses in Review, a survey open to participation by all members of the ARS. Fragrance Award was added for 2018, designated by the F following the year.

2004      Knockout  S, red blend, single, 1999
2005      Gemini  HT, pink blend, 25-30 petals,1999
2006     Bees Knees  Min, yellow blend, full, 1998
2007    Hot Cocoa  F, russet, full, 2002
2008     Not Awarded
2009    Julia Child  F,  medium yellow, full, 2005
2010    Home Run S, medium red, single, 2004
2011    Cinco de Mayo F, russet, double, 2007
2012    Joy Min, pink blend, double, 2007
2013    Easy Does It  F, orange blend, full, 2008
2014    Randy Scott  HT, white, full, 2007

2015    Dick Clark  Gr, red blend, full, 2009  
2016    Cooper  MinFl, medium red, double, 2008
2017    Oh My!  F, dark red, double 2011
2018    Daddy Frank  Min, dark red, double, 2009
2018F    Neil Diamond  Hybrid Tea, pink blend, very full, 2013
2019    South Africa  Gr, deep yellow, double, 2015
2020F    Olivia Rose Austin  S, medium pink, double 2015
2021    Ring of Fire, Min, yellow blend, 60 petals, 1987
2021F  Violet's Pride, F, mauve, full, 2016
2022    Peggy Martin, HMult, medium pink, full, 2018
2022F   Sweet Mademoiselle, HT, pink blend, full 2018

Rose Activities
Rose Activities
  1. Plant a rose bush! Need help? Go to to learn more.

  2. Take roses to nursing homes, hospitals, banks and your local library. You’ll brighten someone’s day! Encourage your local library to have a rose book display.

  3. Give roses to show your love or friendship. Roses are a favorite gift to receive.

  4. Give a gift of a rosebush for a longer-lasting gift. There are so many different kinds of roses to choose from with an endless variety of colors, including stripes.

  5. Visit a botanical garden or a rose garden. You might find inspiration to start your own rose garden or plant a community garden!

  6. Take photos of your roses and share with friends in cards, notes and letters. Share with the ARS on our many social media platforms and be sure to tag us, #roses, #nationalfloralemblem:,

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