Ah, the rose. No other flower conjures up such passion, sentimentality
and delight. No one is sure exactly what it is about this flower that inspires
such adoration, but my guess is it’s the fragrance. While some modern hybrid
roses aren’t fragrant, there are still many varieties with an intoxicating
scent that will knock your socks off.
Choosing the rose with the best fragrance is impossible because
fragrance is a matter of personal preference. However, there are some varieties
that many agree are incomparable when it comes to an alluring aroma.
Here is a list of my favorite fragrant roses. I have personally grown
some of them; others are rated as very fragrant by organizations such as the
American Rose Society. Try at least one of these jewels in your garden this
Top Fragrant Roses
All of the roses listed below are hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8, unless
Delight.” This 3- to
4-ft.-tall, disease-resistant, hybrid tea rose features cream-colored flowers
with strawberry-red edges.
Roses. This group of modern
roses combines the strong growth and everblooming characteristics of modern
roses with the fragrance and flower shape of old-fashioned roses. While many
English roses are fragrant, some of the most heavily scented are Heritage
(blushed pink with lemon fragrance) and Gertrude Jekyll (pink with
old-fashioned rose scent).
Cloud. This 3- to 4-ft.-tall
hybrid tea rose features a coral-orange flower with a strong citrus fragrance.
Lincoln. This 4- to
6-ft.-tall hybrid tea rose is a standard in many gardens for its classic
burgundy-red flowers, strong growth habit and heady old-fashioned rose
fragrance. Mr. Lincoln is hardy to USDA zone 5.
Roses. Old-fashioned roses
are those grown prior to 1867. These feature unique plant and flower shapes.
Most only bloom once a season. There are a few types that feature an intense
fragrance. Felicite Parmentier (blushed pink with a sweet perfumed scent),
Souvenir de Malmaison (dark pink with spicy/fruity scent, hardy to zone 6) and
Madame Hardy (white with a lemon scent) are some of the best.
Sunsprite. This 2-ft.-tall and wide floribunda rose is
one of the hardiest, featuring lemon-yellow flowers with a strong, sweet
Hybrid tea rose.
Photo courtesy of the
National Gardening Association.
Where and How to Plant
Plant fragrant roses where they will be enjoyed indoors and out. Place
them near windows or doorways so the fragrance wafts into the house during the
day. Outdoors, place them close to pathways and gathering areas.
Plant, after all danger of frost has passed in your area, in a full-sun
location, with good airflow around the plants to reduce disease. Dig a hole in
well-drained, fertile soil and amend it with compost. In cold areas, plant
deeply enough so the graft union (the bulge at the bottom of the stem) is 4
inches below the ground. In warm areas, plant so the graft is at or above
Charlie Nardozzi, a nationally
recognized garden writer, book author, speaker, and radio and television
personality, has appeared on HGTV, PBS and Discovery Channel television
networks. He is the senior horticulturist and spokesperson for the National Gardening Association and chief
gardening officer for the Hilton Garden Inn.