Podcast: Let's Argue About Plants

Episode 4: Roses—Love ’em or Hate ’em?

April 28, 2017

Every variety is not created equal, so discover which options are not only beautiful but also disease-resistant.

Is there any group of plants more loved—and hated? In this episode, Steve and Danielle come to terms with their feelings about this quintessential garden plant. Are there varieties that really are disease resistant? Which ones actually smell like a rose should? Perhaps we can change your mind with one that has fernlike foliage or beautiful red hips the size of a quarter. Or can anything make you love these often-reviled shrubs? Tune in to find out.

Expert: Ritchie Steffen, curator at the Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden in Seattle

Some may shy away from rugosa roses because of their tendency to self-sow in a small part of the country, but the fragrant ‘Hansa’ rugosa rose (Rosa rugosa ‘Hansa’) has stayed put in Danielle’s garden for many years.
One plant that Steve and Danielle won’t argue about is ‘Graham Thomas’ rose (Rosa ‘Graham Thomas’), a climbing wonder that is stunning and disease resistant. Its awesomeness has made it one of the only roses they’ll plant.
Steve and roses don’t always mix, but the editor of Fine Gardening does give props to yellow Lady Banks rose (Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’) for its overwhelming number of early summer blooms and its tough nature.
Our hosts have a thing for yellow roses, especially Father Hugo’s rose (Rosa hugonis), which has a plethora of single blooms in early spring and unique light green, fernlike foliage throughout the season.

Featured plants

  • Rosa ‘Graham Thomas’
  • Lady Banks rose (Rosa banksiae)
  • Father Hugo rose (Rosa xanthina f. hugonis, syn. Rosa hugonis)
  • Rosa rugosa ‘Hansa’

Bonus plant we wish we had mentioned: Rosa glauca (it has attractive bluish foliage)

View Comments


  1. jessireiss 07/07/2017

    I can't believe this is a thing. I know that some people think roses are too difficult. But hate? Those blooms are exquisite! I have collected over 20 roses and sure some get black spot but its the lower leaves and I could have plucked them. It doesn't effect the blooms. I don't even spray in my garden zone 5 Nebraska. I don't love all roses (bleh to the single petaled or carpet varieties). Now, Japanese beetles appeared last year but I found a great hormonal lure trap (tanglefoot) and it's fantastic. Lady of Shallot (Austin), Climbing America, Disneyland, Hot Cocoa, Above All climbing, and Pinktopia shrub are my favorites so far. Calypso has red stems (!) with deep dark leaves. I hate getting bouquets of roses (they aren't cool varieties and they are dead! Give me something I don't have, give me a LIVE plant).

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