Francis Meilland roseThe tallest roses are Grandiflora roses. They tend to grow from 6 to 8 feet tall. Many other types of rose bushes grow tall, including climbers and ramblers, as well as some Hybrid Tea roses. Why do you want a tall rose? Do you want to create a backdrop for shorter plants that you’ll plant in front of the rose bush? Maybe you want roses that you can cut as long-stemmed roses. Or maybe you just want to know about the tallest rose ever found! For those of you interested in the tallest rose, see the Guinness World Records site.

Why Do You Want Tall Roses?

The first question to answer is why you want tall roses in the first place. Are you looking to plant a rose bush that will grow over a wall or a trellis or archway? In that case, look for ramblers and climbing roses.

If you want tall roses as a backdrop to lower growing plants, search for Grandiflora roses that will reach a height of anywhere from 8-10 feet. If you are fond of roses that produce a single bloom on a single stem, look for tall-growing Hybrid Tea roses. Some Hybrid Teas can grow up to 7 feet tall.

Location, Location, Location

Even though you can find many roses that CAN reach lofty heights, the vitality of a rose is often influenced by where you plant it. Most roses need at least 6 hours of direct sun every day during the bloom season. This is especially true if you plant a vigorous and tall variety.  Like all roses, tall roses need well-drained soil. Also, if you live in a dewy climate or use overhead watering, you’ll need airflow around and through the bush to help dry leaves in the morning. Of course, all roses need to be fertilized and pruned to remove deadwood and spent flowers.

For example, a Queen Elizabeth rose here in Portland, Oregon, given good sun, good soil, and plenty of water in the summer, easily reach 6 to 7 feet.  An older variety like Munchen can top 8 feet. The same variety in San Diego, California or Duluth, Minnesota might not reach those heights. Why not? Because, in San Diego, the soil composition will be sandier, with a possibility for higher pH, high summer temperatures, and potential water restrictions.  In Minnesota, the growing season is shorter, soil composition may be heavier with a lower pH, and higher humidity than in the Pacific Northwest. These conditions can impact the size and health of your roses.

Climbers and Ramblers

Sally Holmes climbing roseTo grow a rose bush that spreads out over a fence or wall, an archway or pergola, search out climbers and ramblers that thrive in your location. Climbers tend to be repeat bloomers, while ramblers often bloom once a season. If you want mainly foliage, then look for ramblers. Most people, though want an abundance of blooms throughout the season. If that’s true in your case, seek out climbers. Your local extension service or rose society can help you identify the right rose for your project.  Cécile Brunner (actually a tall hybrid tea) is very popular, along with Lady Shallot, Sally Holmes, and Eden, among others. The Gardenista blog has a wonderful post on a handful of lush climbers. No matter what, make sure the variety you choose will thrive in your zone.

Tall Rose Bushes

Here are a few links to tall roses on our site and others. As mentioned in other posts, check with your local nurseries, rose society, and extension service for more information about roses that do well in your zone.

Climbers and ramblers

In our garden, we have a variety of climbers that do well:

The Australian site, has a nice listing of climbers by subcategory. Keep in mind that not all of these will necessarily do well in your location. Check with your local rose society or state extension service.

Grandiflora roses

Under the right conditions, many Grandiflora roses can reach 5 feet or more.

Hybrid tea roses

Many hybrid tea roses will easily reach 4 to 5 feet, and some grow higher, giving you those lovely single-stemmed roses.

More information

For more information on getting started with roses, here’s a Growing Roses 101 guide from the site Gardener’s Path.