A Rose By Any Other Name?

Red rose display - Photos by Abbey Rose

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CHARLOTTE – A rose is a rose, but all not roses are created equal.

Roses are beautiful, from the different shapes of the petals to the vibrant colors of each flower. Their sweet little buds develop into winged out petals relaxing in the time as we view the beauty that they display. 

Rose display with multiple types of flowers
Rose display with multiple types of flowers – Photos by Abbey Rose


Roses are known in the flower community as a high-quality flower that can be used in a variety of ways. Most often roses are requested bundled alone or with a few accents of light greenery and a pop of a small flower to bring out the beauty in the display or used in arrangements that highlight a variety of flowers. Roses can be used singularly or with a variety of other flowers because the versatility that they offer is truly amazing. Their beauty can easily be displayed alone or with other flowers. But there is much more to their story.

Roses are a flower of its own kind, and not all roses are the same. Believe it or not, just like cars, not all types of roses are created equal. An amazing social media post was created by one of the local rose shop owners, Suzanne Wolf of Abbey Rose Floral Artistry, Mint Hill Florists, to describe why. She also shares information on the types of roses that are most commonly used during Valentine’s Day.

Vertical pink rose display
Photos by Abbey Rose

“A rose by any other name is, well, it’s a Rose! But, all Roses are not created equal. Just like a car can be bought for $500 to $50,000, it’s all about the quality.

Starting with the basics, height is the most telling regarding quality. 40cm are the least expensive. They’re short and not very impressive. Next is 50cm. Not ideal for a dozen but ideal for mixed vase arrangements. 60-70cm are what you need to expect from a florist dozen. 24” to 28” in height. With mixed greenery and an accent flower, sure to impress! I’ve seen 80-120 cm Roses but not practical in most settings!

We use several red Rose varieties, but on Valentine’s Day, we rely on the gold standard of a Freedom red rose. They are scarlet red, lightly scented, easy to care for, and hardy. They open wide and beautiful and have 45-50 petals on each bloom.

The quality of a rose, even the same variety, varies from grower to grower, and so does the vase life.

Rose colors are amazing! To name a few, paperwhite, cream, beige, yellows, green (with names like Sprite and Kermit), lavender, orange, light pink, hot pink, terra cotta, orange, peach, and mauve. Many bi-color Roses. Spray Roses (several smaller blooms on one stem) in the same colors as full-size Roses.

Every color has up to 20 varieties which vary in shade, petal shape, petal count, scent, and preferred usage.

While you’re reading this, there is a future Booker T Washington working on improving present varieties and creating new ones that are unimaginable!”

Vertical red rose display
Photos by Abbey Rose

Her words that she has uses to describe and explain the differences between roses are simple, yet complex, just like the rose itself.  It is a simple flower but has the history and complexity of century-old artifacts. Actually, the types of roses are based on their history. 

Roses are broken down into three main categories: Old Garden Roses, Wild Roses, and Modern Roses. Today we mostly use the roses that come from the category of modern roses. The terms to describe the different categories are easily broken down by appearance and species age.

Old Garden Roses are known as the “antique” category of roses. They are roses that have been around since before 1867. Typically these flowers are double flower blooms that emit a very strong smell that is notably different than the other types. The difference that sets this category aside from Modern Garden Roses is they only bloom once a year. 

Wild Roses are in a category of a hybrid type of flower. It is the crossbreed of the entire history of modern varieties of roses. They cover the mass variety of flowers that we see in the wild. Most often these flowers are pink; if a red or white is found, is a total anomaly.

Modern Garden Roses include a category of rose that was bred after 1867. This type of rose is set aside from the Old Garden Rose because it continuously blooms and produces a much larger flower. The fragrance from these flowers is not robust, and they are less hardy. They are typical of what florists use because their vase life is most longer.

Within the three categories above there are countless different types of variety of roses. As in all types of items, some are more common than the next. A rose by any other name is always determined by its features. The large varieties can be overwhelming. Each rose flower variety has its own distinct features; the shape of blooms, cane length, and scent, so always remember to “stop and smell the roses!”

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