Hardy Roses To Grow: Types Of Roses That Are Hard To Kill

Close up of a pink Portland rose
Close up of a pink Portland rose
(Image credit: David O'Brien)

Are you looking for rose bushes that need minimal care for your garden? There are actually many hard to kill roses that can be easily grown with little to no effort. Learn about such rose bushes in this article.

Roses That are Hard to Kill

Whenever the topic of hardy roses to grow comes up, there are a few that instantly come to mind. They include the Home Run roses, the Knockout rose bushes, and the Morden/Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) roses. All of these are bred to be hardy rose bushes and have proven themselves in some tough climatic conditions, not to mention pretty bad soil and care conditions, making them ideal roses for beginner gardeners.

Most of the hardy types are considered shrub or climbing rose bushes. The best choices for easy care roses that are hard to kill are those that are grown on their own roots, otherwise known as own root roses. These roses can die back all the way to the ground and whatever comes back up is true to that desired rose, whereas grafted rose bushes that suffer severe dieback can have the top part die off and the hardier rootstock take over.

Hardy Roses to Grow

A strong focus has become roses that are truly low maintenance, easy to grow and hard to kill, even disease resistant. Here are some to look for, keeping in mind that some of these may be marginal in the harshest of climates but stand a better chance of being successful in difficult conditions than other rose bushes:

  • Dr. Griffith Buck series of roses, aka Buck roses
  • Home Run series (by Weeks Roses)
  • Knock Out series of roses (by Star Roses & Plants)
  • Canadian Explorer and Parkland series of roses (by Morden Roses/Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, or AAFC)
  • Meilland series roses (by The House of Meilland, France)
  • Easy Elegance series (by Bailey Nursery)
  • Drift series (by Star Roses & Plants)
  • Earth Kind roses (which have had extensive research done by Texas A & M University)

Some of Old Garden roses (OGR) can be very hardy as well. Types to look for include:

  • Alba
  • Bourbon
  • Hybrid Perpetual
  • Polyantha
  • Portland
  • Rugosa roses

The history of these roses is rich and long and they typically require much less extensive care than the more recently developed hybrid varieties. There are also the Flower Carpet groundcover series of roses from our Australian friends at Tessalaar Roses (Anthony & Sheryl Tessalaar), which are highly acclaimed for being easy to grow with limited care and disease resistance.

Enjoy the beauty of roses in your garden with groupings of those mentioned in this article. The reasons not to grow and enjoy roses have pretty much been eliminated. Even if you have a deck or patio, simply grow them in containers.

Stan V. Griep

Stan V. Griep contributed to Gardening Know How for many years. An American Rose Society Consulting Master Rosarian in the Rocky Mountain District, he served as Gardening Know How's in-house expert on all things roses.