Growing White Roses: Choosing White Rose Varieties For The Garden

White Roses
white roses
(Image credit: apugach)

White roses are a popular hue for a bride to be, and with good reason. White roses have been a symbol of purity and innocence, historically sought after traits in ones betrothed.

When talking white rose varieties, the old ‘albas’ are really the only true types of white rose. All other white rose cultivars are actually variations of cream, but that doesn’t make them any less appealing when growing white roses.

About White Rose Varieties

Roses have been around for millions of years, with rose fossils having been found in 35-million-year-old rocks. During this lengthy period, roses have taken on a variety of meanings and symbolism.

In the 14th century, during the War of the Roses, both warring houses used roses as symbols in their struggle for control of England; one had a white and one had a red rose. After the war was over, the House of Tudor unveiled its new symbol, a red rose embedded with a white rose symbolizing the joining of the Houses of Lancaster and York.

As far as white rose varieties go, they are available as climbing, shrub, floribunda, hybrid tea, tree rose, and even groundcover types of white rose.

White Rose Cultivars

If you are growing white roses and want a traditional white rose variety, try growing Boule de Neige, which is French for snowball, an apt name indeed. Other old white rose cultivars include Mme. Hardy and Alba Maxima.

Looking to grow a climbing rose in white? Try the following:

  • Rose Iceberg
  • Wollerton Old Hall
  • Mme. Alfred Carriere
  • Sombreuil

Hybrid tea white rose types include Commonwealth Glory and Pristine. Poulsen is a floribunda rose with ruffled petals, as is Iceberg. Snowcap provides those with a smaller space the glories of a whiter rose in the form of a patio rose bush.

Shrub white rose cultivars include:

  • Tall Story
  • Desdemona
  • Kew Gardens
  • Lichfield Angel
  • Susan Williams-Ellis
  • Claire Austin
  • Winchester Cathedral

Rambling white rose choices include Rector and Snow Goose.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.