A Midwest Pink Rose
(Image credit: Andres Victorero)

Roses are among the most beloved of flowers and are not as hard to grow as some people fear. Growing roses is possible in most gardens, but you do need to choose the right type. Pick the best Midwest roses for your Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, or Iowa garden. 

Growing Roses in the Midwest

Some types of roses are finicky, especially when grown in a colder climate, like in the Midwest. Thanks to selective cultivation, there are now many varieties that are easier to grow and that adapt well to the Midwest region. Even with the right variety, there are certain things your new rose will need to grow well and thrive: 

  • At least six hours of direct sunlight
  • Well-drained, rich soil
  • Regular watering
  • Plenty of space for good air circulation
  • Spring fertilizing
  • Regular pruning

Best Roses for Midwest Gardens

Most Midwest rose bushes that do well in the colder winters and are lower maintenance are shrub roses. Bush roses, like hybrid tea roses and climbing roses will not fare as well, need more care, and are more likely to develop diseases. 

Here are some shrub roses to try in your Midwest garden: 

  • ‘Earth Song.’ This cultivar produces stunning, large pink flowers and grows to about 5 feet (1.5 m.) tall. You’ll get blooms into October. 
  • ‘Carefree Sunshine.’ A cheerful yellow, this flower is winter hardy through USDA zone 4.
  • ‘Good ‘n Plenty.’ For a smaller plant, choose the 2 foot (61 cm.) tall rose, which produces white flowers edged in pink with yellow centers. 
  • ‘Home Run.’Home Run’ is a cultivar that was bred with resistance to black spot and powdery mildew resistance. It’s a smaller shrub with bright red flowers and hardiness through zone 4. 
  • ‘Little Mischief.’ Deer pester most midwestern gardens, but this rose is largely deer resistant. It grows small and works well in a container. The flowers are small and bright pink. 
  • ‘Knock Out.’ This is the original low maintenance rose. It is also resistant to Japanese beetles, the bane of many rose growers. You can now choose many varieties of ‘Knock Out,’ including a miniature version and your choice of colors.
  • ‘Snowcone.’ If you want something a little different, choose this rose with clusters of small white flowers, each no bigger than a piece of popped corn. 
Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.