Varieties of Thorn-Free Roses

Question: I am in love with roses, but not their thorns. I have seen thorn-free roses, but I don’t know their names. Can you suggest some good varieties?

Fortunately, there are a number of roses that have smooth or nearly thornless stems, which can be planted near walkways or front porches without posing a hazard to those passing by.

Several old garden roses with the thornless trait are available, including the pinkflowered hybrid perpetual ‘Paul Neyron’ (1869) and ‘Reine des Violettes’ (1860), a recurrent bloomer bearing violet flowers. ‘Marie Pavie’ is a nearly thornless polyantha with cream flowers (1888). ‘Zephirine Drouhin’ (1868) is a thornless Bourbon rose with fragrant cerise-pink flowers.

The shrub rose ‘Nevada’ (1927) has creamy white flowers, and its sport ‘Marguerite Hilling’ (1959) has pink flowers. ‘Mortimer Sackler’ (2002),  a David Austin shrub rose with rose-pink flowers, is almost thornless and can also be grown as a climber.

Modern fragrant hybrid teas that lack thorns include those in the Smooth series, developed in the 1980s: ‘Smooth Angel’ (cream-colored with apricot centers),
‘Smooth Lady’ (pink), ‘Smooth Prince’ (cerise red), ‘Smooth Satin’ (peach pink), and ‘Smooth Velvet’ (dark red).

This post was excerpted from the May/June 2004 issue of Horticulture Magazine.

Image Attribution: Wikimeida Commons

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Learn more about other varieties of Roses with Horticulture: Roses CD.

Protect your palms from rose thorns and other prickly plants with these Leather Rose Gauntlet Gloves.

Add grace and charm to any conservative or modern garden with a Large Rose Trellis.

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