Created in 1954 with the introduction of the rose ‘Queen Elizabeth’, the Grandiflora class represents the first true melding of hybrid tea and floribunda characteristics. From its hybrid tea parent the Grandiflora inherits flower form and long cutting stems; from the floribunda side comes increased hardiness and prolific, clustered blooms. Most Grandiflora roses, although not all, are taller than either hybrid teas or floribundas.
As shrubs, the size and vigor of the Grandi floras have varied widely from cultivar to cultivar – those included here are time – tested favorites that have shown themselves to be outstanding, reliable garden shrubs. In general, they flourish wherever hybrid teas do, which means that Grandi floras are best reserved for the Southwest, Northwest, Mid-Atlantic states, and those parts of the Rocky Mountain West, the Midwest, and the Northeast where winter temperatures do not drop below -10°F (-23° C). In Canada, they thrive only in the southeast and the coastal regions of the maritime provinces and British Columbia. Grandiflora roses are likely to prove disease prone in the Southeast’s combination of heat and humidity though they should remain healthier at the higher altitudes of the upper South.
- ‘Aquarius’ Roses (Introduced – 1971)
- Considered by many to be one of the very best Grandiflora roses, ‘Aquarius’ flowers freely from spring until frost, producing small sprays of up to five double blooms that are lightly fragrant. Buds are dark pink, opening to blended medium pink-and-white 4-inch flowers with high centers. Foliage is large and leathery.
Plants are urn-shaped, upright, and vigorous. They are well suited to beds and borders, and flowers are ideal for cutting. This rose is extremely disease resistant.
- ‘Arizona’ Roses (Introduced – 1975)
- Like the colors of a desert sunset, the flowers of ‘Arizona’ rose are a warm blend of bronzy orange and golden yellow. The high-centered blooms have 25 to 30 petals, are 2 to 4 inches across, and have a strong, sweet fragrance. Tall, upright plants grow 5 to 6 feet high and have glossy, bright green, leathery leaves that contrast nicely with the flowers. However, they are stingy bloomers and are somewhat winter tender.
- ‘Camelot’ Roses (Introduced – 1964)
- ‘Camelot’ rose is long lasting both in the garden and as a cut flower. The cup-shaped flowers are 3 1/2 to 5 inches across with 40 to 55 petals. Blooms are coral to salmon-pink with a spicy fragrance, and appear in sprays. The bushy plants grow 5 to 6 feet tall, with large and glossy, dark green, leathery leaves that have good disease resistance. Plants are also fairly wintering hardy.
- ‘Earth Song’ Roses (Introduced – 1975)
- The late Dr. Griffith Buck bred roses specifically for disease resistance and cold hardiness, and in ‘Earth Song’ he achieved a remarkable success. ‘Earth Song’ has overwintered successfully for almost a decade at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, where winter temperatures regularly drop to -30°F (-34°C). Often the cold there has killed back its canes, but because Grandi floral flower best on new growth, ‘Earth Song’ bounces back from such natural pruning to flower satisfactorily by early the following summer.
Its blossoms open into classic high-centered hybrid tea buds, then spread their petals into large 4 – 4 1/2 in (10-11.5cm) cups of rich red. The foliage is handsome; dark and glossy.
- ‘Gold Medal’ Roses (Introduced – 1982)
- The deep yellow flowers of ‘Gold Medal’ are flushed and edged with orange-red. High-centered double blossoms appear singly or in clusters on long stems and are 3 1/2 to 4 inches across; they bear a fruity fragrance. Blooming in abundance throughout the season, this is one of the last roses to quit in the fall. Leaves are dark and glossy, and canes have few thorns.
Plants are tall, bushy, and upright. They take well to pruning but prefer to be pruned high. The bush is suitable for beds and borders, and its flowers are excellent for cutting and exhibition. Plants are disease resistant.
- ‘Love’ Roses (Introduced – 1980)
- Actually, ‘Love’ is a Grandiflora that could easily pass for a hybrid tea. This rose is a compact shrub that bears high-centered buds resembling those of a hybrid tea. These buds open into bright red blooms with a flamboyant difference: the back of each petal is silvery pink, giving the blossoms of ‘Love’ a hand-painted look.
- ‘Montezuma’ Roses (Introduced – 1955)
- Urn-shaped buds of this rose open into high-centered, 3 1/2 – to 4-inch, slightly fragrant flowers that are a reddened coral-orange. Blooms have 30 to 35 petals and a light tea fragrance. Bushy, compact, slightly spreading plants are 4 to 5 feet tall and clothed in abundant dark green, leathery, semi-glossy foliage.
- ‘New Year’ Roses (Introduced – 1982)
- The 20-petaled flowers of ‘New Year’ rose are a blend of gold and terra-cotta. Individual blooms, which have a slight fruity fragrance, are 2 to 3 inches across and are produced in sprays on compact, 3-foot plants. The leaves are large, dark green, and glossy with fair disease resistance. As with many Grandiflora roses, winter hardiness is better than average.
- ‘Olé’ Roses (Introduced – 1964)
- Large, long-lived, ruffled flowers with luminous hues are bright orange-red, an exciting color reminiscent of a bullfight. Blooms have 40 to 50 petals, are 3 1/2 inches across, are high centered or cupped and have a slight fruity scent. Bushy, 4-foot plants are covered in shiny foliage.
- ‘Pearlie Mae’ Roses (Introduced – 1981)
- Another one of Griffith Buck’s hardy, prairie-bred roses, this shrub was named for the singer Pearl Bailey, and appropriately so, for ‘Pearlie Mae’ is a fine performer and a real trouper. Of vigorous growth and with a tendency to sprawl, this bushy Grandiflora bears deep pink buds in clusters of one to eight that open to 4 in (10cm) blossoms of golden yellow tinged with salmon. The leathery green foliage is dark olive green and persistently healthy, making this a fine choice for a specimen shrub or accent shrub in a flower border. ‘Pearlie Mae’ is also an outstanding source of cut flowers.
- ‘Pink Parfait’ Roses (Introduced – 1960)
- This prolific bloomer is a blend of light and medium pink, with the petal edges darker than the bases. The 2- to 3-inch flowers with 20 to 25 petals have a slender, high-centered form. Slightly fragrant, the blooms are produced singly or in sprays on long, slender cutting stems. The bushy plants, which are disease resistant and very winter hardy, grow 3 1/2 to 5 feet tall and have leathery, semi-glossy foliage of medium green.
- ‘Prima Donna’ Roses (Introduced – 1983)
- Long, slender buds open into high-centered blooms of deep fuchsia pink shaded in lavender. The 3 – to 4-inch flowers have 25 to 30 petals and a slight fragrance. They are produced singly early in the season and in small sprays later on. Plants are long stemmed and have medium to dark green, shiny leaves that stay disease free. Bushy, spreading plants grow 4 to 5 feet tall. Despite its name, ‘Prima Donna’ rose is not fussy and grows as well in a greenhouse as it does in a garden.
- ‘Prominent’ Roses (Introduced – 1971)
- Known as ‘Korp’ in Europe, ‘Prominent’ rose has fluorescent orange-red flowers. The blooms are a small 2 1/2 to 3 inches wide, with a classic high-centered form. The slightly fragrant flowers with 30 to 35 petals may appear singly or in sprays. Plants reach heights of 3 to 4 feet and have dull, leathery, dark green leaves.
- ‘Shining Hour’ Roses (Introduced – 1989)
- One of the few yellow Grandiflora roses, this one is a gleaming yellow that does not fade in the heat. The 4-inch blooms, which have 25 to 30 petals, are high centered or decorative in shape, with a moderate fruity fragrance. The shiny, disease-resistant leaves cover rounded, 3- to 4-foot plants.
- ‘Shreveport’ Roses (Introduced – 1981)
- Named for the Shreveport, Louisiana, home of the American Rose Society, this variety has oval, pointed buds that open into high-centered flowers borne on small sprays. The very double, 4-inch flowers (with 50 petals) are a blend of amber and orange, with a slight tea fragrance. They are long lasting and, therefore, excellent as cut flowers. The leaves are large, dark green and shiny, and the canes are covered with small, downward-facing thorns. The vigorous 5-foot plants are disease resistant and winter hardy.
- ‘Sonia’ Roses (Introduced – 1974)
- ‘Sonia’ rose has well-formed, shrimp pink flowers that are 3 to 4 inches across and have excellent substance, making them long lasting when cut. Blooms have 30 petals and a very fruity fragrance. The foliage is dark green, shiny, and leathery, covering compact, 3- to 4-foot plants. ‘Sonia’ rose will grow equally well in a greenhouse or a garden.
- ‘Tournament of Roses’ Roses (Introduced – 1989)
- Flowers of ‘Tournament of Roses’ are shades of pink and beige with a darker pink reverse that fades to coral pink with age. The double blooms are high-centered, 4 inches across, and lightly fragrant. They usually appear in small sprays of three to six flowers. Leaves are large, glossy, and dark green, and canes bear large prickles.
This rose is moderately vigorous and has an upright habit. This rose performs best maintained as a 5-foot shrub, although it will grow taller if allowed, and is suitable for beds and borders. Flowers are borne freely and are long-lasting, but may not be ideal for cutting because stems can be short or weak. It is highly disease resistant.
- ‘Queen Elizabeth’ Roses (Introduced – 1954)
- This was the founding rose of its class, the very first Grandiflora, and it remains one of the best. ‘Queen Elizabeth’ sets a high standard for any kind of rose, with its disease resistance, hardiness, and abundant, almost continuous bloom. Its large, double, medium pink flowers appear singly or in small clusters and range in form from high-centered to cupped. Because all the flowers in a cluster commonly open at once, this shrub is also a convenient source of cut flowers: a single bush of ‘Queen Elizabeth’ can fill a vase. A tall, narrow shrub, ‘Queen Elizabeth’ should be set at the back of a border so that it won’t block the view.
- ‘White Lightnin” Roses (Introduced – 1980)
- This variety has medium-sized, 3 1/2 – to 4-inch flowers that usually appear in sprays. The blooms have 26 to 32 petals of pure, clear white. Flowers are cup-shaped, with a lively lemony fragrance. The bushy plants grow 3 to 4 feet tall and have dark green, glossy foliage.