Rosa floribunda/cluster-flowered roses

Height: 45-210cm (17 -7ft)

Features: flowers summer to autumn

Soil: rich, well-drained

Site: full sun

At the beginning of this century a Danish rose breeder, Svend Poulsen, crossed polyantha roses with hybrid teas. Initially called Poulsen roses and subsequently hybrid polyanthas, they are now called floribundas or cluster-flowered roses.

Floribundas are perfect for introducing a mass of bright colour to borders and beds almost continuously from early summer to mid autumn. A vast number of floribundas are now available, making them one of the most popular roses for garden decoration.

Floribundas come in a wide range of single colours – from dark reds ‘Matangi’ through to pinks, yellows and white as well as many modern blends, bi-colours and a few multi-colours. They are usually borne in clusters, hence the new name for floribundas cluster-flowered roses.

The flowers are mostly double or semi-double with the eye in the middle clearly visible when they are fully out. Very modern floribundas possess blooms that rival the hybrid teas. The description grandiflora is beginning to be used for this type but is not yet widespread.

Floribundas are bushy and branching. Most varieties reach 75-90cm (2 1/2-3ft) high, though some grow up to 2.1m (7ft), and there are also many dwarf forms.

Grow floribundas on their own in rose beds, as parr of a mixed planting scheme in a border, or as a hedge. The taller varieties can be treated as specimen roses, while the shorter ‘Amber Queen’ ones, with a more compact spreading habit, are extremely useful for ground cover or edging a rose bed.

Popular varieties:

There are many floribunda varieties to choose from. Below is a list of some of the most popular and readily-available ones.

‘Allgold’ has buttercup-yellow blooms which rarely fade, even in the hottest sun. Its growth is particularly healthy and it reaches 75cm (2.5 ft) high.

‘Amber Queen’ has well-formed, fragrant, amber-yellow flowers borne in clusters. It is bushy and makes a good bedding rose, reaching 60-75cm (2-2/2ft) high.

‘Anisley Dickson’ has well-spaced sprays of large, deep salmon-pink flowers. It is suitable for growing in a rose bed, for cutting and for exhibiting. The healthy, free-flowering bushes reach 90cm (3ft) high.

‘Anna Livia’ has perfectly shaped, slightly fragrant, orange-pink blooms borne in large clusters on a bushy plant about 75cm (2/2ft) high. Its healthy foliage and free-flowering habit make it a popular variety which is also good for cutting.

‘Arthur Bell’ has large, golden yellow flowers, sometimes splashed red, which fade to cream as they age.

A ‘Tango’ ‘Melody Maker’ ‘Arthur Bell’

These appear in early summer and last well into autumn. The rain-resistant flowers are unusually fragrant for a floribunda. It has upright growth and reaches a height of 1m (3 1/2ft).

‘Beautiful Britain’ has rich tomato-red flowers carried in well-spaced sprays. It has healthy, upright growth and reaches 75cm (2.5 ft) high, making it a good hedging or bedding rose.

‘Bright Smile’ has well-formed, bright yellow flowers. A 60cm (2ft) high rose, it is best grown towards the front of a border, in a rose bed, or as a low hedge.

‘Bucks Fizz’ has long stems and a profusion of clusters of fragrant, orange-rose, double flowers. The foliage is reddish when young, turning dark green with age. It has vigorous, upright growth and reaches 90cm (3ft) high. It is a good rose for exhibiting.

‘Chinatown’ has large, strongly fragrant, yellow flowers flushed pink. It is vigorous, reaching 1.2-1.5m (4-5ft) high, and it looks most effective in a large bed.

‘Christopher Columbus’ has clusters of semi-double blooms in pale cream-pink striped with rose-red. It has glossy, dark green foliage and reaches 75cm (2.5 ft) high.

‘City of Leeds’ is an easy-to-grow variety with slightly fragrant, rich salmon-pink, semi-double flowers, set against dark bronze-green foliage. The upright growth reaches 75cm (2 1/2ft) high.

‘Elizabeth of Glamis’ (’Irish Beauty’) has large, well-formed, fragrant, salmon-pink flowers which fade slightly with age. Vigorous and upright, it reaches 75cm (2 1/2ft) high. Its popularity is now declining as it dis-likes clay or cold soils. Disease can also be a problem.

‘English Miss’ has large clusters of strongly fragrant, soft pink, camellia-like blooms, appearing in great profusion. The foliage is an unusual purplish colour. Its growth is bushy and it reaches 75cm (2 ¾ ft) high.

‘Evelyn Fison’ (’Irish Wonder’) is an old favourite which bears semi-double, scarlet flowers that are large, prolific and rain-resistant. It has vigorous, bushy growth and reaches 75cm (2.5ft) high. It is good for bedding and cutting.

‘Eye Paint’ is an unusual floribunda, bearing small, single, scarlet flowers with white centres and gold ‘Oranges and Lemons’ stamens. They have no fragrance, but appear in great numbers. A vigorous rose, it reaches 1.2m (4ft) high and looks most effective as a hedge or in a border.

‘Fellowship’ is a vigorous, free-flowering plant which reaches 90cm (3ft) high. The clusters of medium-sized, fragrant, orange-red blooms are set against healthy foliage.

‘Festival’ has clusters of medium-sized, bright crimson blooms with a reverse of pale silver and a centre of gold and silver. It is a compact, bushy plant which reaches 60cm (2ft) high and has luxuriant, shiny green foliage. It is a good low-bedding rose.

‘Elizabeth of Glands’ ‘Fragrant Delight’ has shapely, copper-tinged blooms borne in small ‘Korresia’ clusters. As the name suggests, it has a strong fragrance. It has vigorous, upright growth and reaches 7.5cm (IvitX) high. It makes an excellent bedding rose and is disease- and rain-resistant.

‘Golden Wedding’ has clusters of large, double, clear golden yellow blooms and luxuriant, dark green foliage with good resistance to disease. It is a bushy plant which reaches 75cm high.

‘Hannah Gordon’ has large, double, white blooms edged with pink, reminiscent of the popular climbing rose ‘Handel’. It is a vigorous plant which reaches 90cm (3ft) high and has dark green foliage.

‘Harvest Fayre’ has large clusters of medium-sized, lightly scented, orange-apricot flowers and pale green foliage. It is very free flowering and blooms until the start of winter weather. It is a bushy plant which reaches 90cm (3ft) high. It is good for exhibiting.

‘Iceberg’ has small, perfectly formed, double blooms. These are pure white early in the season, but become flushed with pale pink in autumn. It is a free-flowering rose with a vigorous, branching habit. It reaches 1.5m (5ft) high and needs plenty of space. It is suitable as a hedge, at the back of a bed, and as a specimen rose.

‘Korresia’ (’Sunsprite’) has large, fragrant, double, yellow blooms that retain their colour well. Bushy in habit, it reaches 75cm (2 1/2ft) high. It is good for bedding, as a hedge and for cutting.

‘Lili Marlcne’ has scarlet-red, slightly fragrant flowers in large clusters, which are abundant and resistant to rain, although mildew can be a problem. A vigorous, bushy rose, it reaches 75cm (2.5 ft) high and is suitable for bedding.

Veye Paint’ ‘Fragrant Delight’ ‘Sue Lawley’ ‘Many Happy Returns’ has small clusters of large, open, semi-double, blush-pink blooms. It has shiny, dark green foliage and a shrubby-habit almost as wide as it is high -75cm (2 1/2.ft).

‘Margaret Merril’ has small clusters of beautifully formed, double, white flowers with a sweet scent. The growth is bushy and vigorous and it reaches 90cm (3ft) high. It is a perfect rose for cut flower arrangements, with its exquisite, strong fragrance. It has some tendency to black spot, and rain can damage the blooms.

‘Masquerade’ bears large clusters of flowers that open yellow, turn pink, and then gradually turn red. Deadhead regularly for flowering to continue through the summer. This rose has a vigorous, branching habit and looks best grown en masse, perhaps as a hedge. It reaches a height of 90cm (3ft).

‘Matangi’ has gold stamens and orange-red blooms with petals shaded silvery white towards the centre and on the reverse. The blooms are borne in profusion, either singly or in small clusters. It has vigorous, upright growth and reaches 75-90cm (2.5-3ft) high. Plant as a bedding rose. It is disease- and rain-resistant, but the flowers will not last when cut.

‘Melody Maker’ is a modern-looking floribunda with^ medium-sized clusters of perfectly formed, slightly scented, light vermilion blooms with a silvery reverse. It is a bushy grower, reaching 75cm (2.5 ft) high, with dark green foliage.

‘Memento’ has large clusters of flat, salmon-vermilion blooms which are prolific and resistant to rain, but only slightly scented. It has an abundance of glossy, mid-green foliage. Its growth is vigorous and upright, reaching 75cm (2.5ft) high. Grow it as a bedding rose and for cut flowers.

‘Mountbatten’ bears clusters of golden yellow, double blooms with a ‘Memento’ pleasant fragrance. It is a strong, vigorous rose, reaching 1.2m (4ft) high. Grow it in a border or large bed, or as a hedge.

‘Orange Sensation’ bears numerous clusters of fragrant, bright vermilionorange, double flowers. It has a bushy, spreading habit and reaches 75cm (2.5 ft) high. Though resistant to rain, black spot and mildew can be a problem.

‘Oranges and Lemons’ has large, slightly scented, double blooms which are orange-scarlet with an unusual yellow stripe. The clusters are produced on a robust plant which reaches 90cm (3ft) high and has coppery foliage when young.

‘Piccolo’ has small clusters of medium-sized, semi-double, coral-red flowers. A compact plant, 60cm (2ft) high, it has bronze-green foliage.

‘Pink Parfait’ has salmon-pink and ivory flowers, opening flat to reveal golden stamens. It is prolific, with many hybrid teatype blooms. The growth is vigorous and branching ‘Margaret Merril’ ‘Mountbatten’ ‘Orange Sensation’ and it reaches 90cm (3ft) high. Grow it in a bed or border and for cutting.

‘Queen Elizabeth’ (The Queen Elizabeth’), one of the most popular floribundas, has well-shaped, slightly fragrant, clear pink, double blooms. It has a very vigorous, upright growth and can reach 1.8-2.1 m (6-7ft) high – so plant at the back of a large border, as a hedge or as a specimen shrub. The flowers are rain-resistant and are excellent for cutting, being long lasting in water.

‘Sexy Rexy’ has enormous clusters of perfectly formed, medium-sized, clear pink blooms, which are reminiscent of camellias. A sturdy plant, 75cm (2 1/2ft) high, it has glossy, mid-green foliage. It is a good rose for exhibiting.

‘Sheila’s Perfume’ combines heavy scent and small clusters of large, hybrid teatype blooms which are yellow edged with red. It reaches 75cm (2.5 ft) high and carries healthy, deep green foliage.

‘Shocking Blue’ carries heavily fragrant, double, mauve-tinted magenta blooms of a hybrid-tea shape. The unusual colour makes this variety excellent for use in £Ut flower displays. It grows 90cm (3ft) high, and has disease-resistant, dark green foliage.

‘Southampton’ has slightly fragrant, double, apricotorange blooms which are flushed with scarlet. It has vigorous, upright growth and reaches lm (31.5ft) high. It looks best planted in a border or large rose bed, or as a hedge. It has good resistance to disease.

‘Sue Lawley’ (’Spanish Shawl’) has large, rose-pink petals edged with light pink and white, and a white eye. It has vigorous, bushy growth and reaches 75cm (2.5 ft) high. The flowers are good for cutting.

‘Tango’ has startling blooms of orange-scarlet with a white rim, yellow centre and light yellow reverse. It is a very vigorous plant which reaches 90cm (3ft) high and has glossy, mid-green foliage.

‘The Times’ bears clusters of crimson-red, double flowers. It is free flowering, has a bushy habit and reaches 75cm (2 1/2ft) high. It is also exceptionally resistant to disease.

‘Trumpeter’ bears a profusion of slightly fragrant, bright red flowers. This low-growing, compact rose reaches just 50cm (20in) high and looks best at the front of a border. It has excellent resistance to disease.

‘White Pet’ (’Little White Pet’) is an old variety, with pale-rose buds opening to creamy white. It makes a low, spreading bush, 60cm (2ft) high, covered in dark green foliage.

‘Wishing’ has large, well-formed, peach-pink blooms with a deep yellow base. It is compact and bushy, reaching only 60cm (2ft) high, so it makes an attractive bedding rose.

‘Yvonne Rabier’ carries small, fragrant, double, white flowers, set against bright green foliage. It forms a bushy plant, 45cm (1 1/2ft) high.


Plant container-grown floribundas at any time of year, provided the weather is mild and the soil not too wet. Bare-rooted floribundas must be planted between late autumn and mid spring.

Set each rose 60cm (2ft) apart in rich, well-drained soil. All varieties require a sunny position.

Prune in spring. On established bushes, remove dead and diseased wood and reduce stems by about two-thirds of the previous year’s growth. Hard prune all newly planted roses to help them establish a good root system and encourage healthy growth. Either mulch or hoe frequently to keep the soil around the roses free of weeds. Mulch in mid to late spring, then feed two or three times from mid spring to mid summer.

After flowering, remove the entire cluster of dead flowers, cutting it back to the first leaf.

Propagation: This is best left to the nurseryman.

Pests and diseases: Floribundas are susceptible to most of the common rose diseases. Mildew may attack leaves, stems and flowcrheads, and black spot sometimes develops on the leaves. Rust appears as bright orange pustules in spring, then develops into yellow patches on the leaves in summer, gradually turning black in autumn. The leaves will eventually drop.

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