You probably don't think about roses for a shade garden. However, if your garden doesn't quite get the 5-6 hours of full sun usually recommended for growing roses, you may still be able to grow select varieties. No rose will thrive and bloom without some sun, but there are roses that will do just fine with a little shade.
According to Steve Hutton, President of the Conard-Pyle Company, introducers of Star Roses. “In general the roses that flower the most, like floribundas and shrub roses,... will do better in the shade... Anything less than six hours of sun will sacrifice some blooms. But, if you pick a rose that has prolific flowers with big blooms you will have a perfectly happy plant." And pale petaled beauties that can look washed out in bright sunshine seem to glow in partial shade.
No rose will be happy and bloom in full shade, but here are some top rosarian picks for great roses able to perform in partial shade.
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Anthony Meilland™ 'Meitalbaz'
Anthony Meilland is a deep, rich shade of yellow that doesn't fade and will glow in shade. A pleasant, mild fragrance and a second bloom in late summer add to its appeal. Anthony Meilland is a bushy, mounded plant ideal for borders, hedges and in the landscape in mass plantings. USDA Hardiness Zones 6 - 9
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Ballerina (Hybrid Musk, 1937)
Dainty, five-petaled blooms of pink and white grow in clusters on this beloved hybrid musk shrub, a class noted for their disease resistance, fragrance and shade tolerance. A ballerina can bloom well into the fall and has the bonus of attractive hips. A ballerina can also be trained as a beautiful small climber, to six feet. USDA Hardiness Zones 5 - 10
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Carefree Wonder™ 'Meipitac'
Carefree lives up to its name, adapting to almost any conditions. While the blossoms are exceptional in appearance, the sheer quantity of flowers makes the bush a delight in the garden. Carefree Wonder is a repeat bloomer with single blooms of pink with white edges. USDA Hardiness Zones 4 - 9
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Eden Climber™ 'Meiviolin' (aka 'Pierre de Ronsard')
Eden Climber is a large, old-fashioned looking rose with large, double blooms in pastel shades of pink, cream and yellow. Eden Climber has a pleasant scent and looks and smells wonderful along a fence. It is one of the most floriferous climbers, with equally attractive deep green foliage. USDA Hardiness Zones 5 - 9Continue to 5 of 18 below.
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F. J. Grootendorst
It's hard to beat the hybrid Rugosas for toughness and dependability. F. J. Grootendorst is a classic carefree grower. Clusters of double, bright red blossoms are offset by small puckered leathery leaves. Although the original F. J. Grootendorst is red, it has produced sports in pink and even white. They all make a great specimen plants, easily growing as tall as 6 feet. USDA Hardiness Zones 5 - 9
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Fair Bianca® ‘Ausca’
David Austin scored again with this English rose. Fair Bianca has densely petaled pure white blooms with a spicy scent. A compact 3 ft. tall bush, Fair Bianca packs all of the great features of David Austin roses: pest resistance, cold hardiness and heat tolerance. Blooms heavily in mid-summer and then sporadically through fall. USDA Hardiness Zones 4 - 9
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Considered a modern climber, Golden Showers was named an ALl American Rose Selection (AARS) winner in 1956. Its name comes from the bright yellow blossoms that seem to flower continuously. With a honey-like fragrance, the blossoms make excellent cut flowers. Grows 6 - 8 ft. tall and looks equally nice against walls or structures. USDA Hardiness Zones 5 - 9
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Gruss an Aachen
This compact floribunda is covered with buds that open as clusters of salmon pink double flowers and fade to creamy white. Bloom profusely over a long period and doesn't seem to mind partial shade at all. A favorite since its 1909 introduction, Gruss an Aachen grows to about 2 feet wide by 3 feet tall, making it a nice choice for a border or hedge. USDA Hardiness Zones 5 - 9Continue to 9 of 18 below.
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Ice Meidiland® 'Meivahyn'
Ice Meidiland is billed as "The perfect rose for busy people". It is one of the new, easy-care ground cover roses. The first ground cover roses tended to be real sprawlers, but the latest crop is more well behaved and also more pest resistant. Beautiful white, pompom-shaped blossoms are shaded with a soft pink. USDA Hardiness Zones 5 - 9
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Iceberg roses have long been the standard to which other floribundas are measured. Iceberg was inducted into the World Federation of Rose Societies Hall of Fame in 1983 and remains a garden classic today. It lives up to the category floribunda with lots of icy-white buds that open into double rose blossoms. USDA Hardiness Zones 5 - 9
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Knock Out® 'Radrazz'
By far the most shade tolerant of roses is this 2000 All-America Rose Selection winner and 2004 American Rose “Member’s Choice” winner. Knock Out® Rose 'Radrazz' is incredibly disease resistant and easy growing. It is also drought tolerant; surviving and even thriving in the most devastating of dry summers. Humidity... bring it on. It is highly resistant to black spot. The cycle of bloom and growth is never ending and provides a show of brightly colored cherry-red blooms from early... spring until well into the hard frosts of winter. USDA Hardiness Zones 4 - 9
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Marmalade Skies® 'Meimonblan'
Marmalade Skies, an everblooming floribunda and a 2001 All-America Rose Selections award winner, is a tangerine blooming machine. Blooming won't be quite so abundant in partial shade, but it shouldn't disappoint. This compact, everblooming plant is ideal for low borders, or as a specimen in any landscape. Blooms early summer through fall USDA Hardiness Zones 5 - 9Continue to 13 of 18 below.
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Mary Rose® ‘Ausmary’
Dark pink buds open to full, paler pink rosettes with a soft honey fragrance. Mary Rose is a David Austin English Rose and is a great repeat-flowering, shade tolerant, disease resistant specimen. Makes a nice, bushy shrub , growing up to four feet. USDA Hardiness Zones 6 - 10
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Beautiful, disease resistant and fragrant, New Dawn is a near perfect rose. New Dawn was inducted into the World Federation of Rose Society Hall of Fame in 1997. The double pink, fragrant flowers fade to soft pink and stay attractive for a long season. Expect New Dawn to bloom in the spring and again in late summer. USDA Hardiness Zones 5 - 9
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Passionate Kisses™ ‘Meizebel’
Passionate Kisses is a relatively new rose that first attracted attention because of its name. As if a rose needed to advertise being romantic. A continual blooming floribunda, Passionate Kisses has salmon colored blossoms that light up in partial shade. Staying compact at about 3 1/2 to 4 ft., its a good candidate for borders and containers. USDA Hardiness Zones 5-9
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Some rosarians say this is the best shade tolerant rose there is this side of Knock Out® . Glossy green foliage offsets the large, orange-scarlet, semi-double blooms. Playboy's flowers pass through shades of yellow and orange on their way to the deep red of the fading blooms. A 1989 Gold Medal winner, Playboy has very good disease resistance. Its heavy blooming and medium, rounded habit make it a great rose in the border or landscape or planted as a hedge.USDA Hardiness Zones 4-9Continue to 17 of 18 below.
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Seafoam, is a floribunda with a mounding ground cover or landscape rose, that can also be trained as a climber. The persistent mass of white blooms gave rise to its name. It is extremely cold hardy and adaptable. Works great as an edger or in mass plantings. USDA Hardiness Zones 4 - 9
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Zepherine Drouhin (aka Zephirine Drouhin)
Zepherine Drouhin is known as the thornless climber, making it not just beautiful but easy to work with. Canes grow 8 - 10 ft. long and can be easily trained and trellised. Deep cerise-pink blooms and an old fashioned rose fragrance have kept this Bourbon climber growing in gardens for decades. Although it accommodates shade, it is prone to fungal problems in high humidity. USDA Hardiness Zones 6 - 9