Plants - Roses

Growing white roses

Judith Adam
Photography by
Tracy Cox

Light up your garden with delicately tinted, go-with-anything white roses


Finding a place in the garden
Turning beauty to practical purpose, white roses bring light and buoyancy to gardens, especially in the white-on-white border with other roses, perennials and grasses. Imagine clusters of the snowy white, double floribunda Iceberg (R. ‘Korbin’, 1 x 1 m, Zone 5)—whose petals won’t spot in summer showers (most white roses require deadheading of rain-marked flowers)—leaning into a thick clump of variegated cream-and-green ‘Morning Light’ maiden grass (1 x 1 m, Zone 6), which provides architectural presence even in snow. A skirt of ‘Becky’ shasta daisies (1 m x 60 cm, Zone 5), with sturdy stems that don’t need staking, could tie the threesome together. These plants are practical, lasting choices with a long period of bloom.

Regardless of your planting scheme, white roses make an enhancing backdrop for colourful perennials and summer annuals, as well. Close to windows and sitting areas, smaller remontant (or reblooming) shrub varieties such as the oyster white, double-and-quartered Fair Bianca (R. ‘Ausca’, 1 m x 60 cm, Zone 6) will ensure a white petal presence throughout the growing season. Climbers such as the pure white, double-flowered ‘White Dawn’ (2.5 m, Zone 4) drape fences and arbours, softening architectural forms with drifts of bloom. Larger, summer-blooming antique roses such as the white, single-flowered ‘Nevada’, with its yellow stamens, can lighten corners, form a boundary hedge or make arching displays at the back of a wide border. In fact, choosing white roses as the central frame for a collection of ornamental plants might well be the brightest idea in your gardening plans.

Shown: 'Great Maiden's Blush'


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