Roses are the world’s most beloved ornamental flowering plants. Humans have cultivated roses from as early as 500 BC. Most species are native to Asia, but others are native to Europe, North America, and northwestern Africa.
In the family Rosacea, the genus Rosa contains over 300 different species. Rosa glauca grows natively in central and southern Europe, and Rosa rubiginosa comes from western Asia and Europe. Both these species are beautifully scented and have been widely cultivated for their fragrance.
These woody perennial shrubs are hugely variable in shape and size. They range from compact, miniature roses that are 10 inches tall to upright shrubs, bushy hedges, and climbing ramblers that reach over 20 feet. Most roses are deciduous, but some Southeast Asian species are evergreen.
There are over 35 000 different cultivars of roses that have been created. Roses are grown in zones 4 to 11. Almost all roses can grow in zones 7, 8 and 9.
In hot climates, some roses may not always get the cold they need to bloom reliably. Roses are incredibly hardy to extreme conditions, tolerating temperatures of -40°F to over 100°F. When they get six to eight hours of full sun per day, they grow their best.
They enjoy rich, well-draining soil. Feed them lots of compost to encourage vigorous blooming. They can tolerate drought but thrive and flower abundantly with frequent watering.
Roses flower for a long time, from spring all the way through to the fall. They start off at tight little buds, and open to unfurl their velvety petals. Flowers are usually white, pink, red or yellow in color.
Some cultivars of roses are double flowering, and the center is not visible. Single flowering roses have only 5 petals and a yellow center. Roses with open centers attract many pollinators.
Throughout history, the rose has been a symbol of love, war, beauty and even politics. They have historically been cultivated ornamentally and used in perfume for its heady fragrance. Some varieties of roses are fragrant, while others are not.
Some roses are grown for their fruit, rosehips.
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Paeonia officinalis is another quintessential garden flower. Peonies share many qualities with roses – they are both aromatic, with beautiful, big blooms. The color and shape of their flowers are similar, in hues of pink, white, yellow and red.
Like roses, the petals are lobed and densely ruffled. They bloom from early spring all through summer. These herbaceous perennials are native to western North America, Asia, and Europe.
Peonies are widely cultivated in zones 3 to 8. They can be cultivated from bare-root plants, like roses. They grow best in full sun, planted in well-draining soil.
For buds to form, they need a cold winter. Prune back old foliage as plants require good air circulation as they are susceptible to fungal diseases, like botrytis. Generally, Peonies are resilient, low-maintenance plants. They grow to around 3 to 4 feet tall.
Calmellia sasanqua is one of the many species in the genus of flowering evergreen shrubs, Camellia. They can also grow into small trees over 60 feet tall. Camellia sinensis is widely farmed to produce tea leaves.
These plants are native to eastern and southern Asia and have been cultivated in Japanese and Chinese gardens for centuries. They were introduced to European gardens around 1739. Today there are thousands of commercial and ornamental cultivars.
They are grown in zones 6 to 9. Camellia flowers closely resemble roses and peonies. They have big, silky petals in pink and white tones.
There are single and double-flowering varieties. Different varieties bloom at different times of the year. If one grows a variety, there can be Camellia flowering year-round.
Camellias enjoy growing in acidic soils (pH -) with lots of organic matter. They do not require heavy watering and can be quite drought tolerant. Plant them in shade or partial sun for best results.
Like roses, Camellias are low-maintenance landscape shrubs.
3. Azaleas or Rhododendrons
Part of the genus Rhododendron, which in Ancient Greek translates to “rose tree”, Azaleas or Rhododendrons are evergreen flowering shrubs. Rhododendron ferrugineumis also called the snow-rose or alpenrose. Native to North America, Asia, and eastern Europe, they are grown in zones 3 to 9.
Like roses, they have a long flowering season, blooming from spring to summer. They produce clusters of showy, trumpet-like blooms in pink, white, red, yellow, and violet. Azaleas grow anywhere from 1 to 25 feet tall, depending on how you train and prune them.
They are best grown in dappled shade, acidic soil (pH around 5), rich and well-draining. They must be watered well while in flower and benefit from lots of mulch.
Ranunculus is a genus of herbaceous perennials that are known for their beautiful, rose-like flowers. They are native to North America, Europe, Asia, and northwestern Africa. As woodland flowers, they grow in moist, partly shaded areas.
Wild species have small, yellow flowers that have a single layer of petals. Cultivated hybrids are bred to have big, showy blooms, with many layers of flowers, like peonies and roses. Before the flowers open, they look like coiled up ribbons.
This is why buttercups are sometimes called “ribbon roses”. They come in reds, pinks, white, and yellow. Buttercups are popularly grown as cut flowers.
Bulbs are planted in the spring, and they flower in late spring and throughout summer. Ranunculus can be grown in zones 4 to 11, but they are not cold hardy, so they should be taken in over winter in cold climates. They enjoy growing in well-draining soil, in full sun to partial shade.
5. Japanese Anemones
Japanese anemones, Anemone hybrida, are members of the Ranunculaceae family. Contrary to what their name suggests, they are native to China. These herbaceous perennials have big, open flowers that look similar to poppies, buttercups, peonies, and roses in white and pink hues.
There are double and single flowering varieties. Like roses, they make wonderful cut flowers and bloom from summer all the way through to the fall. Plants grow 3 to 4 feet tall.
Anemones are grown in zones 4 to 9. Their corms are planted in the spring in rich, moist, well-draining soil. Anemones prefer sun or part-shade.
They take about two years to establish and thereafter grow abundantly, needing to be split every 3 years or so.
Dianthus caryophyllus, or carnations, have been widely cultivated over the last 2000 years. They are native to the Mediterranean. These herbaceous perennials produce frilly rosettes of flowers in pink, purple, white, red, and yellow all through summer.
The petals have serrated edges. Carnations’ tall, straight stems (about 15 to 18 inches tall) and fragrant blooms make them a favorite cut flower for florists. They symbolize love and good luck.
Carnations are grown in zones 3 to 9. They like to be grown in full sun and tolerate most soil types with good drainage. One must water them thoroughly but allow the soil to dry out between watering.
7. Wild Dahlia
Dahlias are native to Mexico, so they grow well in hot, humid climates. Dahlia sorensenii, the wild dahlia, is a flowering perennial. The blooms have lavender-pink petals and a yellow center, similar to wild roses.
They grow to over 4 feet tall, and the long stems make them excellent cut flowers. Unlike roses, dahlias are grown from bulbs. Bulbs should be planted in spring to flower in the late summer and fall.
They are grown as annuals in zones 7 to 10 but may perennialize in very hot climates. Dahlias grow well in full sun and require moist but well-draining soil.
Native to China and Japan, Gardenias are evergreen shrubs (or small trees) that share many characteristics with roses. These hardy perennials’ blooms are large, showy, and intensely scented. They flower for weeks in late spring and summer.
Petals are creamy-white to buttery yellow in color. Cultivars that can grow in zones 6 to 11 have been developed. Gardenia Grandiflora grows to around 8 feet tall.
They like to grow in acidic soil with good drainage. Keep the soil moist because gardenias do not tolerate drought.
Hydrangea macrophylla, like roses, are a classic garden plant that is used as cut flowers. They are native to Japan and China and are grown in zones 5 to 11. Hydrangeas produce masses of umbellate inflorescences in pink, white, purple, red, and blue.
They are deciduous shrubs that bloom during summer and lose their leaves in winter. Plant them in the shade or partly shaded areas, in moist soil with good drainage. In acidic soil, the flowers are blue, and in alkaline soil, they are pink.
Hydrangeas grow into large bushes, 6 to 10 feet tall and wide. You may also like: 100+ Plants and Flowers that Start with “B”
10. Busy Lizzy
Impatiens walleriana, Busy Lizzy, or double flowering impatiens are native to East Africa. These herbaceous flowering annuals bring a bright burst of color to the garden in late spring, summer, and fall. They are widely grown in zones 2 to 11 and are winter hardy in zones 10 and 11.
They like to grow in shady areas, in fertile, moist soil that drains well. The double flowering impatiens closely resemble rose flowers. They bloom in shades of red, pink, purple, and orange.
They grow up to 2 feet tall.
11. Double Zinnia
Zinnia marylandica are native to South America. Zinnias have been widely cultivated as garden flowers, and double flowering varieties have rosy blooms. Unlike roses, they are annuals that can easily be grown from seed.
They grow in zones 2 to 11 and can tolerate poor soil conditions. They need well-draining soil and a moderate amount of water. They quickly grow into clumps of green foliage, around 20 inches tall, and shoot up large, pink blooms in summer all the way through fall.
12. Rose of Sharon
Although the large, funnel-shaped flowers of Hibiscus syriacus do not resemble roses, these large flowering shrubs make a structural statement in the garden, as roses do. In summer, they produce masses of pink, red, white, and yellow flowers that have a striking pink center. Hibiscus likes to grow in full sun or partly shaded areas.
It can tolerate poor soil conditions and drought but thrives in rich soil with heat and humidity. They are native to China, India, and other parts of East Asia and are cultivated in zones 5 to 8.
13. Tuberous Begonias
Native to southern Africa and South America, tuberous-rooted begonia species have been widely cultivated. Begonia × tuberhybrida is a hybrid cultivar that produces showy, big blooms that resemble roses in pinks, reds, orange, yellow, and white. The petals are thick and waxy.
Rich soil with lots of compost to ensure adequate drainage. Grow best in the dappled shade rather than full sun or shade. Best grown in zones 9 to 11, these cool-weather plants do not enjoy heat and humidity.
They are mostly grown as annuals and are quite high maintenance. Tuberous begonias flower from summer to fall. They do not grow nearly as tall as most roses, generally reaching 1.5 feet tall.
14. Double tulips
Hybrid tulips that have wider, more open, double-petalled blooms have been cultivated in nurseries. Originally, tulips are native to Eurasia and the Mediterranean. They are grown in zones 3 to 8 and bloom dramatically in spring.
Double tulips, Tulipa x hybrid, blooms in red, white, pinks, yellow, orange, and bicolor. The large blooms closely resemble roses or peonies. Unlike roses, they have long, straplike leaves and are cultivated from bulbs.
They grow up to 22 inches in height when grown in full sun. They enjoy rich, well-draining soil and regular watering.
15. Oriental Poppy
Papaver orientale is a herbaceous perennial native to eastern Europe and Asia. Poppies have been cultivated for over 3000 years! Their large, dramatic flowers resemble roses and look exquisite together in a cut arrangement.
They are best cultivated by sowing seeds directly into the ground in the location they will grow. Seeds must not be transplanted. Choose a sunny spot with good drainage.
They bloom from late spring to mid-summer, producing masses of bright orange, red, pink, purple, and white flowers. After flowering, oriental poppies die back and lie dormant over the heat of summer. They start slowly growing again in the fall, forming a clump of foliage over winter.
In spring, their growth increases and they shoot up flower spikes.
Magnolia virginiana, more commonly called magnolia or sweet bay, is a flowering evergreen tree. Native to the low-lying coastal regions of the eastern United States, magnolia is grown ornamentally as an architectural garden plant. They grow in zones 5 to 10.
It has beautifully citrus-scented flowers that resemble white roses and bloom in early summer. Like roses, they produce fruits. These are bright red, attracting many birds. They can grow up to 50 feet tall.
Magnolias like to grow in acidic soil that is moist and well-draining. They enjoy full sun to partial shade. For the first few years, they will require regular watering, but once they are established, they are drought tolerant.
17. Weigela bush
Weigela is a flowering deciduous shrub native to East Asia. These ornamental plants are grown in zones 4 to 8. They grow 6 to 10 feet tall and enjoy full sun to partial shade.
Weigela Bush likes to grow in rich, composted soil that is moist with good drainage. Weigela florida blooms from spring into summer, producing masses of small, pink, or yellow flowers. Like roses, these big shrubs make a statement but are low-maintenance and easy to care for.
They attract many pollinators to the garden.
Eustoma grandiflorum is also known as Lisianthus, or the prairie gentian. This herbaceous perennial is native to North America. Lisianthus has large, elegant, rose-like blooms in pinks, white, pale green, blue, and purple. The flowers appear in spring and stay all summer long.
They make fantastic cut flowers and are sought after for bridal bouquets. Plant them in a sunny position, in moist soil with good drainage. They grow up to 3 feet tall.
Lisianthus is grown as an annual but is hardy in zones 8 to 10.
19. Shrubby Cinquefoil
Potentilla fruticose, or shrubby cinquefoil, is a deciduous shrub native to Northern Asia, Europe and the northern United States and Canada. They grow in zones 3 to 7. It is in the same family as roses and produces small, yellow flowers that closely resemble wild roses.
Like roses, they are low maintenance shrubs that put on a colorful show from late spring to fall. Cinquefoil grows 2 to 4 feet tall.
20. Flowering quince
Chaenomeles japonica, the flowering quince, is a deciduous shrub native to Southeast Asia. They belong to the Rosaceae family, and the pink, red and white flowers closely resemble wild roses. Like roses, they have thorns and produce small fruits.
They are popular ornamental shrubs in gardens that grow up to 10 feet in height and width. They make great hedges and barrier plants. Plant them in full sun, in loamy, slightly acidic soil with good drainage.
Flowering quinces are low-maintenance plants, like roses.
21. Japanese Flowering Cherry
Prunus serrulata, the Japanese flowering cherry, is native to China, Japan, and Korea. They are cultivated in zones 4 to 9. These deciduous trees are famous for their breathtaking display in late winter and early spring when they are covered in pink and white blossoms.
When you look closely, the individual flowers are rose-like in shape, especially double flowering varieties. Ornamental cherry trees grow 15 to 25 feet tall and are relatively short-lived, reaching about 20 years. They grow in zones 5 to 9.
Plant them in full sun or part shade, in moist soil with good drainage. They are low-maintenance showstoppers, like roses.
22. Chinese Bush Cherry
Prunus glandulosa, the flowering almond or Chinese bush cherry, is native to China. These dwarf trees grow to 5 to 12 feet in height. They bloom in the spring, producing masses of pink or white rose-like blossoms.
In autumn, the leaves turn bright orange. A member of the Rosaceae family, they are relatives of roses. Flowering almond trees grow in zones 4 to 8.
They grow well in full sun, in fertile soil with good drainage. Water them regularly until they have settled.
23. Ornamental Apple
Malus sargentii, the ornamental apple tree, is native to Japan. This compact tree only grows to 20 feet tall and is perfect for small gardens or for growing in containers. It forms a bushy shrub that is great for a hedge.
In spring, ornamental apple blossoms appear in great masses of red, pink, and white. The little flowers resemble roses when you look closely. In the fall, the foliage turns a fiery red, and in winter, they bear little fruits and attract loads of birds.
They can be grown in any type of soil, full sun or part shade. These low maintenance little trees only need a prune occasionally to keep them in shape. They are resilient and cold hardy.
Feed them with an organic fertilizer in spring and compost them in the fall.
24. Ornamental Pear
Pyrus calleryana, the ornamental pear tree, is a non-fruiting, deciduous tree that produces masses of white rose-like little flowers in winter and spring. They are a member of the Rosaceae family, so are related to roses. Ornamental pears grow in zones 4 to 8.
They can grow in a variety of soil types, can tolerate dry, hot conditions but thrive in moist, well-draining soil. In the autumn, the foliage turns from green to purple, red, and bronze. Depending on the cultivar, they grow 20 to 40 feet tall.
Chrysanthemum indicum is widely cultivated and has over 20 000 different varieties! The “single” type chrysanthemums’ blooms are somewhat rose-like and make fabulous cut flowers. Many-petalled, pink, white, red, and yellow flowers bloom in the fall.
They can also be grown as annuals. Native to East Asia and northeastern Europe, chrysanthemums are grown worldwide in zones 5 to 9. These herbaceous perennials grow in small bushes, about 3 feet tall and wide.
They like to grow in sunny areas and are suited to a wide range of soil conditions. They enjoy moist, well-draining soil.