Modern shrub roses

Myriad varieties of enduring colour

Whether on their own or among complementary species, modem shrub roses can set the summer-time tone of a whole garden, or give detailed interest near a patio or favourite path.




Plant containerized roses in spring.

Cut back damaged, dead or diseased shoots.

Prune according to type.



Flowering begins. June-August:

Water roses if conditions become very dry.


Among modern shrub roses only the rugosas are notable for the appearance of their hips.



Repeat f lowerers will give a second flush of slightly smaller blooms.

November is the best time to plant bare-root roses, giving them a chance to get established before the onset of winter.



Most shrub roses are hardy. Protect newly planted individuals from frost by earthing up (banking up soil) or mulching (covering the soil).


Among the modern shrub roses, the rugosas have the most attractive foliage. It is bright green, heavily veined (rugose) and appears early in spring. The leaves are very resistant to disease and turn to an attractive yellow colour in autumn.

M odern shrub roses are a varied group, combining the strengths of many of the old roses with new features from recent hybrids. The majority are repeat flowering.

The mixed parentage of the modern shrub rose has led to a variety of appearances and care requirements.

Repeat-flowering varieties

Cluster-flowered (flori-bunda) varieties like ‘Chinatown’ and descendants of such groups as the rugosas and the hybrid musks sometimes flower almost continuously in summer. This is also true of ground-cover varieties such as ‘Surrey’, ‘Rosy Cushion’, ‘Red Blanket’ and ‘Bonica’.


Roses will not thrive in soil which has previously grown roses. Choose a new area or replace the soil to a depth of 50cm. Incorporate organic matter (compost or well-rotted manure) and add a little bone meal. Position plants to give ample room when fully grown. Once-flowering varieties

Shrub roses which are not repeat flowering make such a good show that they are worth growing anyway. They include ‘Nevada’, ‘Fritz Nobis’, ‘Constance Spry’, ‘Marguerite Hilling’ and ‘Fruhlingsgold’ which blooms in May.


‘Constance Spry’, ‘Fritz Nobis’, ‘Fruhlingsgold’, ‘Fruhlingsmorgen’, ‘Maigold’, ‘Marguerite Hilling’, ‘Nevada’, ‘Pink Bells’, ‘Red Bells’, ‘Scintillation’, ‘White Bells’

Rugosa shrub roses, ‘FJGrootendorst’, ‘Hansa’, ‘Pink Grootendorst’, ‘Roseraie de 1’Hay’,

Modern shrub roses


Warm, sunny or partial shade. Airy but not exposed to wind. In groups or as single specimens.


Shrub roses prefer almost neutral soil (pH 6.5). They need well-drained soil in order to thrive.


Cut back dead or diseased wood in spring, and thin out slightly if necessary. Find out the group which your shrub rose belongs to and prune accordingly.


Shrub roses are susceptible to the fungal diseases of mildew, rust, black spot and canker. These attack more readily if plants are inadequately fed or are neglected in other ways. Fungi will spread less easily if plants are well spaced out. Treat attacks of mildew, rust and black spot with a spray of systemic fungicide, repeated at 3-4 week intervals. Wood affected by canker should be cut out and destroyed. Spray greenfly with insecticide or soap solution.

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