Right: With their abundant flowers and ease of care, floribunda roses make great choices for any garden. Their range of colors is endless. The red rose in the center is 'Trumpeter'.
The more I look at rose books and roses in the landscape, the more I see floribundas as the best all-around class of roses. The word floribunda means bloom freely. Floribundas come in all sizes, shapes, bloom types and colors.
Floribundas typically grow to 2 or 3 feet high and wide with blooms that measure 3 to 5 inches across. Some have one bloom per stem while others bloom in clusters of 20 or more. Some have the classic hybrid tea form, which is the form most people picture when they think of roses, but the majority take the decorative form, which is more open and doesn’t have the high pointed center. As with most rose classes, some are very fragrant while others are not.
When floribundas bloom, they are usually covered with flowers. Even when they are not in bloom, the plant is full of attractive green leaves. Also, because the plants are relatively short, they do not have the naked bottom section that many other rose bushes have. This is why they are commonly used in forming hedges and beds of color.
Garden Uses for Floribunda Roses
Because of their size, floribundas are very versatile. They fit in all sizes of gardens and can also be grown in pots. Floribundas grown in a pot are great for a focal point of color, but it is in the landscape where they really shine. In Europe, most large rose beds contain floribundas. Popular landscape floribunda roses include 'Iceberg' and 'Simplicity'.
Floribunda rose “trees” are also a sight to behold. They perform very well on “trunks” from 3 to 6 feet, and because they do not produce long canes, they are reasonably well behaved.
Floribundas perform well as climbing roses. One of the best climbing floribundas is 'Climbing Iceberg', which grows to 12 feet or more.
Favorite Floribunda Rose Varieties
Floribundas are proving to be a timeless class of roses — some of the most popular floribundas of today have been around for many years, including 'Iceberg' (1958), 'Angel Face' (1968), 'Margaret Merril' (1977), 'Spartan' (1955), 'Sunsprite' (1977), 'Simplicity' (1978), 'Europeana' (1968), 'Summer Snow' (1938), 'Playboy' (1976), 'Showbiz' (1983) and 'Betty Prior' (1935). Others commonly seen in catalogs and nurseries include 'Marina' (1974), 'Roman Holiday' (1966), 'Evelyn Fusion' (1962), 'Glad Tidings' (1988), 'Redglo' (1971), 'Apricot Nectar' (1965), 'Nicole' (1985), 'Lavaglut' (1978), 'Sexy Rexy' (1984), 'Eyepaint' (1975), 'Dicky' (1984), 'Eutin' (1946), 'Escapade' (1967), 'Sun Flare' (1981) and 'Playgirl' (1986).
The best selling floribunda in the world is 'Iceberg', boasting vigorous growth, winter-hardiness, fair disease resistance, great repeat bloom and a lovely fragrance. Odds are high that white roses seen near roadways or in landscapes are 'Iceberg'.
Personally, I use floribundas for borders, rose beds and in pots. My favorite floribundas include the orange-red 'Evelyn Fison', the red 'Glad Tidings', the deep pink 'Playgirl', the candy pink 'Chuckles', the coral and cream 'Tiki', the yellow 'Julia Child' and 'Katherine Loker' and the coppery 'Singin’ In The Rain'.
Images courtesy of the American Rose Society. Steve Jones is president of the American Rose Society. Learn more about this group and how it can help you grow beautiful roses.
Read about other rose categories.