By Stan V. Griep
American Rose Society Consulting Master Rosarian – Rocky Mountain District
Iceberg roses have become a very popular rose among rose lovers due to their winter hardiness as well as their overall ease of care. Iceberg roses, with their beautiful flushes of fragrant blooms set against attractive foliage help them to be an eye catching beauty in the rose bed or garden. When we talk about Iceberg roses though, things can get very confusing in a hurry, so let me explain why.
Types of Iceberg Roses
The Original Iceberg Rose
The original Iceberg rose was bred by Reimer Kordes of Kordes Roses in Germany and introduced in 1958. This white blooming floribunda rose bush has a strong fragrance along with being very disease resistant. Iceberg rose’s white blooms are so bright it is hard to capture them well in a photo. The Iceberg rose’s winter hardiness is well known, too, which has led to her popularity.
The New Iceberg Rose
Around 2002 the “New” Iceberg rose was introduced, again from Kordes Roses of Germany by Tim Hermann Kordes. This version of the Iceberg rose was considered a florist’s rose and hybrid tea rose, but still a beautiful white rose. The fragrance on new Iceberg roses is considered to be mild when compared to the original. There is even a polyantha rose that was introduced around 1910 in the United Kingdom that carried the name Iceberg. The polyantha rose, however, does not appear to be related to the Kordes Iceberg rose bush.
Climbing Iceberg Roses
There is also a Climbing Iceberg rose that was introduced around 1968 in the United Kingdom. It is considered to be a sport of the original Iceberg rose from Kordes Roses of Germany. Climbing Iceberg roses are also extremely hardy and carry the same fragrant white blooms. This climber blooms on the old wood only, so be VERY careful about pruning this climber. Pruning it too much will mean the loss of the current season’s blooms! It is highly recommended not to prune this rose bush at all for at least two years of its growth in your garden or rose bed and, if it must be pruned, do so sparingly.
Colored Iceberg Roses
From there we move on to some Iceberg roses with pink and deep purple to deep red colorations.
- Blushing Pink Iceberg rose is a sport of the original Iceberg. This Iceberg rose’s petals have a wonderful light pink blush to them almost as if painted by a famous artist. She carries the same amazing hardiness and growth habits as the original Iceberg floribunda rose bush and will, at times, produce flushes of white blooms, especially during the hot summer temps.
- Brilliant Pink Iceberg rose is similar to Blushing Pink Iceberg rose except that she has a more pronounced pink coloration, kind of a creamy pink in some temperature conditions. Brilliant Pink rose Iceberg carries the same hardiness and disease resistance as all of the Iceberg roses do. This Iceberg rose’s fragrance is a mild honey like fragrance.
- Burgundy Iceberg rose has deep purple blooms with a slightly lighter reverse in some rose beds, and I have seen this Iceberg rose have deep dark red blooms in other rose beds. Burgundy Iceberg rose is a sport of Brilliant Pink Iceberg rose.
- There is even a blended yellow blooming Iceberg rose known as Golden Iceberg rose. Introduced in 2006 and a floribunda rose as well, this Iceberg rose’s fragrance is moderate and pleasing and the foliage is glossy green just as a rose bush should have. Golden Iceberg roses do not appear to be related in any way to the other Iceberg roses listed in this article; however, it is said to be a very hardy rose bush in its own right.
If you are looking for consistently hardy and very disease resistant rose bushes, the original and related Iceberg rose bushes really need to be on your list. Truly excellent rose bushes for any rose lover.