A Quick Guide to Thornless Roses
One of the reasons some gardeners never grow roses is because they don’t want to have to deal with the thorns, but now that problem is taken care of by the breeding of thornless roses. A lot of people think flowers are hard enough to take care of without having your skin punctured every time you pick a flower or try to prune a rose bush. True rose lovers, on the other hand, see thorns as a part of the natural human struggle, and think that enduring a few bad skin pricks is nothing when it comes to experiencing the beauty of roses.
If you are one of the people who detests thorns, take a look at some of the newer thornless roses before you give up on roses altogether. Plus, these thornless roses are great to use to teach children how to grow roses. They are also easier for senior citizens to handle and people who are prone to infections who must avoid broken skin.
Smooth Buttercup Thornless roses are floribundas with bright, yellow flowers. They continue to produce blooms throughout the growing season. This rose is part of the Smooth Touch Thornless rose series, which was developed in 1962 by Harvey Davidson of Western Sun Roses. All of the roses are 95-100% thorn free. If a rose is 95% thorn free, it means there are no thorns along the canes but you might find an occasional prickle under a flower.
There are Gallica thornless roses, which have the name of Hippolyte. This is a good rose for northern climates. The canes grow up to six feet high and have small flowers but in large clusters. The color is carmine with violet shades. The Hippolyte only blooms once each season.
If you particularly like yellow roses, check out the miniature thornless roses, named Pacific Serenade. These are recommended as a good rose for children to start out with, as they only grow around three feet high. The rose is disease-resistant and produces clusters of colorful blooms. If you wish, disbudding the plant will produce single-stem roses which can be used for cut flowers.
Zephirine Drouhin is a Bourbon rose which was named after a French rose enthusiast’s wife. These nearly thornless roses are climbers growing up to twelve feet and higher. It is in bloom for the entire season from May to the fall. The blooms are plentiful and a dark pink color. The plant does best in acidic soil and partial sun to full sun. It needs lots of air circulation, so prune this rose well during its dormant phase. Pruning will also help control diseases as this rose is susceptible to rose rosette, black spot, mildew, and rust.
An early fall bloomer, the Banksias Rose is nearly thornless and has yellow flowers the color of butter. The flowers are small but the entire plant is just covered with them. This rose needs to be pruned after it has bloomed and not in the winter, as it produces new buds on wood from the last growing season. If you want no fuss thornless roses, this is the rose for you. It is almost completely disease resistant and it does not even like to be fertilized. It will thrive in full sun in a soil that is well-drained.
The name of this next rose, Tausendshon, means Thousand Beauties and it is a prolific bloomer. Another of the thornless roses, this variety is a cross of the Hybrid Perpetual “General Jacqueminot” with R. multiflora. The rose grows to be around eight feet tall, and the flowers are a deep pink with white center petals. It only blooms once but is very hardy for gardeners in northern climates.