Who doesn’t love roses? The look, the scent, the romance…the work?! As beautiful as the plants are, it’s the maintenance issue that tends to scare some home gardeners away. So the folks at Texas A&M University set out to identify the toughest roses on the market. After a five-year study, testing more than 100 roses, they’ve named 15 varieties as being environmentally-friendly – requiring little supplemental irrigation and almost no maintenance (that is, no harsh chemicals).

‘The Fairy’ rose

Summer heat turns the pretty pink blooms of ‘The Fairy’ nearly white.

Photo Credit: Texas Agricultural Extension Service

‘Duchesse de Brabant’ rose

Introduced by a French breeder in 1857, ‘Duchesse de Brabant’ was said to be Teddy Roosevelt’s favorite rose.

Photo Credit: Texas Agricultural Extension Service

‘Marie Daly’ rose

Because of its small size, ‘Marie Daly’ is a great choice for containers.

Photo Credit: Texas Agricultural Extension Service

‘Perle d’Or’ rose

A highly fragrant polyantha, ‘Perle d’Or’ is perfect as a small shrub.

Photo Credit: Texas Agricultural Extension Service

Carefree Beauty rose

Carefree Beauty’s double pink flowers really pop as a perennial border accent.

Photo Credit: Texas Agricultural Extension Service

Rose ‘Mutabilis’

‘Mutabilis’ blooms change color as they age, so this lovely China rose is also known as the “butterfly rose.”

Photo Credit: Texas Agricultural Extension Service

Knock Out® rose

Knock Out® rose is one of the most popular roses in gardens today.

Photo Credit: Texas Agricultural Extension Service

Rose ‘Spice’

‘Spice’ keeps blooming from April to November, and its flowers are often used in floral displays.

Photo Credit: Texas Agricultural Extension Service

Say hello to Earth-Kind® roses.

Evaluated in Texas statewide, these winners were found to thrive in almost any soil type, from the well-drained acid sands of east Texas to the poorly aerated, highly alkaline clays of the central and southwest parts of the state. All showed good heat- and drought tolerance, and they maintained bloom production even through searing summers. And although these beauties aren’t immune to pest problems, their tolerance is so great, gardeners rarely have to use chemical pesticides.

While the plants were tested under Texas conditions, some thrive in Southern climes and are hardy to the northernmost areas of the country, too. So no matter where you live, chances are at least one of these environmentally-friendly roses will fit nicely in your garden. The long-blooming plants (most flower from April-November) cover the gamut – some are old rose varieties, others are “found,” and there are some rather recent introductions, as well.

Rosa ‘Belinda’s Dream’ is a medium-sized shrub rose with double, fragrant, pink flowers. Hardy to Zone 5, this very showy bloomer reaches 5 feet tall and wide and makes a great garden specimen or large-container planting.

Rosa ‘BUCbi’ (Carefree Beauty™) is a moderately fragrant found pink rose with double flowers. Reaching 5 feet tall and wide, this bush’s nice form creates an attractive accent for perennial borders and beds, as well as a striking sea of color in a mass planting. It’s got large hips come fall and is hardy to Zone 4.

Rosa ‘Caldwell Pink’ is a lilac-pink, carnation-style found rose that grows 4 feet tall and wide as a shrub. The foliage turns reddish-purple in fall, making it an attractive small hedge, mass planting or accent. It’s hardy to Zone 6.

Rosa ‘Climbing Pinkie’ is a pink, semidouble, climbing polyantha rose with fragrant blooms. And, oh what flowers – it’s possible for a mature plant to have as many as 800 during the growing season! When used as a climber, this rose’s nearly thornless canes can reach 10 feet long. As a shrub, it’ll grow about 5 feet tall and 7 feet wide. Hardy to Zone 6, the cascading form makes an excellent informal border, or use it as a tall hedge, on a trellis or as a screen.

Rosa ‘Ducher’ is considered the only white China rose available. Its double flowers are a soft ivory-white and may have a hint of pink on the outer petals. The blooms are extremely fragrant! Hardy to Zone 7, the bush can reach 5 feet tall and wide and is wonderful in a container.

Rosa ‘Duchesse de Brabant’ is a very fragrant tea rose with large, very double, rose pink blossoms. The shrub reaches 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Hardy to Zone 7, it works well as a stand-alone specimen or as a colorful accent in a perennial garden.

Rosa ‘Else Poulsen’ is a pink floribunda with semidouble, fragrant flowers. Reaching 5 feet tall and wide, this beauty is best suited as a background planting or as an accent between other perennials and shrubs. It’s hardy to Zone 4.

Rosa ‘Georgetown Tea’ is a found rose with a dark salmon pink center that fades to lilac-pink. This repeat bloomer has a tea rose-like fragrance, and the petals of its double blooms become pointed at the tips to give the open flower a star-shaped appearance. Hardy to Zone 7, the plant reaches 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide with an upright, bushy habit perfect mass plantings or as a garden specimen.

Rosa ‘Marie Daly’ is a pink polyantha dwarf, shrubby rose with semidouble, fragrant blooms. This selection is almost thornless and is great for growing in containers! Hardy to Zone 5, it’s very fragrant and reaches 3 feet tall and wide.

Rosa ‘Perle d’Or’ is a polyantha with pompon-shaped flowers featuring peach centers and white margins. This old French beauty is highly fragrant, nearly thornless and reaches 4 feet tall and wide. It’s hardy to Zone 6 and perfect as a small shrub.

Rosa ‘Radrazz’ (Knock Out®) is a cherry-red, fluorescent, semidouble rose with a light tea rose fragrance. Hardy to Zone 4, it grows 4 feet tall and wide and has pretty orange-red hips in winter.

Rosa ‘Sea Foam’ is a creamy-white groundcover shrub rose with double blooms and a cascading growth habit. It’s very thorny, grows 3 feet tall with a 6-foot spread and has beautiful orange-red hips come fall. Hardy to Zone 4, this beauty makes a good low-growing shrub or accent plant.

Rosa ‘Spice’ is classified as a “Bermuda Mystery rose” because of its unknown parentage (but it’s likely a hybrid tea due to its strong tea rose-like scent). It produces waves of blush pink, double blossoms (good for cutting) on a thick bush that reaches 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Hardy to Zone 7, this one makes an excellent garden plant.

Rosa ‘The Fairy’ is a light-pink, polyantha dwarf, shrubby rose with double blooms featuring an apple fragrance. Summer heat turns the flowers almost white. The shrub reaches 3 feet tall with a 4-foot spread, making it great for a hedge, mass plantings or containers. It’s hardy to Zone 4.

Rosa × odorata ‘Mutabilis’ is a China rose with silky blooms that change from yellow to pink to crimson. Also known as “butterfly rose” for its many flower colors, this beauty is an extremely versatile and vigorous grower reaching 6 feet tall and wide. Hardy to Zone 6, it tolerates partial shade and makes a stunning hedge or mass planting.

We all want to be more environmentally friendly. Now we can do our part and make our gardens shine at the same time! Be kind to our planet – try an EarthKind rose.