Hardy Roses


Can you please give me names of rose bushes that can stand Canadian winters, and are 4-6 feet in height and have a good resistance to disease.


Thank you for your query on hardy roses.

There are so many different types of roses and as you are aware different types of roses possess various levels of winter hardiness, and sadly not all of them are winter hardy in Toronto. The rule of thumb for Toronto’s hardiness zone is: zone 6a south of the 401 and zone 5B north of the 401. When you are shopping for roses and reading the plant labels, keep in mind that the hardiness zones listed are almost always USDA zones; to arrive at a rough Canadian equivalent, add one zone to the listed zone.

Unlike hybrid teas, grandiflora and floribunda roses, which are all produced by grafting: a rose with the desirable characteristics onto a rose of lesser ornamental value making them less hardy than own-root roses. The Canadian series of extra-hardy shrub roses, including the Explorer, Parkland, Canadian Artists and  49th Parallel series, are almost always sold growing on their own roots which makes them more suitable to our colder climate.

Without knowing what colour of rose you are looking for, it is difficult to recommend a specific variety. That being said, the following series of roses are all hardy in our zone and are all disease resisitant.

The Explorer and Parkland series of rose varieties were specially developed to survive the Canadian winters by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) at Morden Research Station in Manitoba. They are hardy down to -35 C with only snow as protection, are disease resistant, flower repeatedly throughout the summer, require only minimal pruning and come in a variety of colours and sizes.

The 49th Parallel series was developed by the Vineland Research & Innovation Centre in Ontario (Vineland) in partnership with the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association They are all disease resisitant and hardy in Canada along with the Canadian artists series  which were developed by a consortium of Canadian rose growers. Along with being extremely hardy they are also disease resisitant. The Canadian Rose Society is an excellent reference with a number of fact sheets on proper planting, pruning, and general care of your roses.

Heres to a very floriferous summer!