The most fragrant roses: the 20 best scented rose varieties

The most fragrant roses: the 20 best scented rose varieties

Not every type of rose has an aromatic fragrance. Here is a list of 20 types of fragrant roses with a delightful scent.

A rose garden just like in fairy-tales is the dream of every gardener. You might find suitable rose varieties on walks through rosaries and garden centres in summer. Most gardeners are over the moon when they smell the aromatic scent of those beautiful roses (Rosa). Fragrant climbing rose varieties are, for example, wonderfully suited for pergolas or rose arches. Shrub roses or floribunda roses can be planted in beds to form small islands full of fragrance so that when you walk by them, your nose will be filled with their delightful scent. In contrast, hybrid tea roses are some of the best scented roses to keep in a vase. This way, you can extend your aromatic rose garden into your house.

Unfortunately, the selection of highly fragrant roses is not too large compared to the total number of rose varieties. In the following, we will explain the characteristics of scented rose varieties and how the location influences the intensity of the aromatic roses’ fragrance. We will also show you some of the best fragrant roses with different growth habits.

Scented roses: characteristics

There are some rose varieties that do not only look stunning but are also extremely fragrant. Depending on the type of rose, the scent can be fresh and fruity or sometimes sensual and beguiling. The queen of flowers, as the rose is often called, not only attracts many insects with its scent but also makes rose lovers swoon. The essential oils contained in roses have a mood-lifting and stress-reducing effect. For that reason, roses are frequently utilised in the cosmetics industry. Rose oil and rose water are often used as ingredients in perfumes, creams and lotions.

Unfortunately, fragrance has not been the focus of rose breeding over the past decades. As a result, many modern rose varieties have very little or no fragrance at all. Many types of fragrant roses are bred from highly fragrant wild roses. Although these scented rose hybrids tend to grow well, they are sadly very prone to diseases. The most fragrant roses can nowadays be found among the heirloom roses, English roses and hybrid tea roses.

However, it is not just the genes that are responsible for the aromatic scent of roses. The shape of the flower, location and weather conditions also play a crucial role. The more sunny, windless and humid the location, the better the fragrance of the plant. The reason for that is, that under these conditions the plant produces and releases more of its essential oils.

The 20 best scented rose varieties

If you are now looking for some highly fragrant roses for your garden or balcony, the following overview with 20 of the best scented roses might serve as an inspiration.

  • Hybrid tea rose ‘Acapella’: cherry-red, double flowers with a silvery reverse; blooms several times; very fragrant rose with a fruity aroma; upright growth with good ramification; can grow up to 80 to 120 cm; very good leaf health; robust and winter hardy
  • Shrub rose ‘Astrid Gräfin von Hardenberg’: awarded best scented rose variety 2002; medium sized, Bordeaux-coloured, double flowers; blooms several times; intense aroma; bushy growth with overhanging shoots; can grow up to 130 cm; requires a sunny location; medium leaf health
  • Nostalgic hybrid tea rose ‘Augusta Luise’: peach-coloured, double flowers; blooms several times; fruity-sweet scent; upright growth; grows up to 120 cm; good leaf health; tolerant of rain and heat; winter hardy
  • Floribunda rose ‘Blue Parfum’: silver-violet, double flowers; beguiling fragrance; flowers early and richly; blooms several times; bushy growth; can grow up to 80 cm; can be cut and put in a vase; medium leaf health
  • Rambler rose ‘Bobbie James’: numerous creamy-white flowers; intense aroma; vigorous growth; can grow up to 8 to 10 m; suitable for climbing frames and pergolas; good leaf health; winter hardy
  • English rose ‘Constance Spry’: popular shrub rose; pink, double flowers with lighter edges; intense myrrh fragrance; can grow up to 280 cm; unfortunately, this variety is notorious for its’ low leaf health; suitable as a hedge plant
  • Hybrid tea rose ‘Red Parfum de Provence’: red, double flowers; blooms several times; beguiling fragrance; bushy growth; can grow up to 70 cm; good leaf health; suitable for planting in groups; winter hardy
  • Hybrid tea rose ‘Duftgold’: long, beautiful buds; bright yellow, double flowers; blooms several times; strong and aromatic fragrance; compact growth; can grow up to 100 cm; not weather-sensitive; medium leaf health; winter hardy 
  • Hybrid tea rose ‘Duftrausch’: bright violet-pink, double flowers; blooms several times; strong and aromatic fragrance; vigorous, bushy growth; can grow up to 120 cm; good leaf health; can be cut and put in a vase; robust, but requires some winter protection
  • Hybrid tea rose ‘Fragrant Cloud’: coral-red, double flowers; blooms several times; intense aroma; bushy growth; can grow up to 80 cm; good leaf health; was introduced to the Rose Hall of Fame in 1981 
  • Hybrid tea rose ‘Eroica’: numerous dark red, double flowers; blooms several times; very strong, beguiling fragrance; vigorous and upright growth; can grow up to 130 cm; medium leaf health; winter hardy
  • Hybrid tea rose ‘Frederic Mistral’: scented Provence rose variety; large, light pink, double flowers; blooms several times; intense aroma with a hint of lime; vigorous, upright, bushy growth; can grow up to 90 cm; medium leaf health; winter hardy
  • Climbing hybrid musk rose ‘Guirlande d’Amour’: numerous bright white and semi-double flowers in clusters; blooms several times; sweet honey scent; vigorous growth; can grow up to 4 m; very good leaf health; winter hardy; ideal for rose arches
  • Shrub rose ‘Herkules’: soft lavender-coloured, double flowers with nostalgic charm; blooms several times; pleasant pear fragrance; upright and bushy growth; can grow up to 140 cm; good leaf health; winter hardy
  • Heirloom rose ‘Jacque Cartier’: named after the French explorer and sailor; medium sized, pink, double flowers with lighter edges; blooms several times; can grow up to 100 to 150 cm; overhanging shoots; very fragrant rose aroma; medium leaf health
  • Climbing rose ‘Laguna’: pink, double flowers; strong fruity aroma; highly double-flowered umbels; upright and bushy growth; can grow up to 280 cm; good resistance to powdery mildew and black spot disease; winter hardy
  • Damask rose ‘Madame Hardy’: pure white, clustered, double flowers with a green eye; blooms only once; strong lemon fragrance; upright growth with overhanging branches; can grow up to 200 cm; low-maintenance and healthy; winter hardy
  • Shrub rose ‘Rose de Rêsht’: French heirloom variety; bred from damask roses; medium size, bright red flowers; blooms several times; intense, heavy rose fragrance; compact growth; can grow up to 120 cm; good leaf health; tolerant of rain and heat; winter hardy
  • Hybrid tea rose ‘Senteur Royale’: very large, violet-purple, double flowers; blooms several times; intense fruity-sweet fragrance; upright, bushy and compact growth; can grow up to 70 to 100 cm; can be cut and put in a vase; winter hardy
  • Shrub rose ‘Westerland’: a classic among the shrub roses; bright copper flowers; blooms several times; numerous flowers in large umbels; intense fruity fragrance; highly branched, bushy growth; can grow up to 150 cm; very healthy; tolerant of rain and heat; winter hardy


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