Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

The Qualities & Attributes of the Rose Flower

roses rose, rose.. image by Christophe Hamerlik from

Roses are beloved garden flowers that are prized for a range of qualities. Roses are valued for their rich and varied colors, profusion of bloom, velvety petal texture and, in many cultivars, a rich sweet scent. Over hundreds of years of cultivation, hybridization and breeding, roses are available in many hundreds of cultivars and hold a place in the culture as a flower of celebration and love.

Rose Form and Shape

Roses are radially symmetrical flowers with petals surrounding a central complex of several parts holding the reproductive organs. Roses have a minimum of five petals but can be layered to hold more than 60 petals depending upon the species and cultivar. The petals are protected in bud and supported from underneath when in bloom by five green sepals that are narrowly triangular in shape.

Colors and Petal Texture

Rose petals come in a vast array of colors from pure crisp white to deep purple reds that are nearly black and all colors in between, save for blue. Centuries of hybridization have brought not only wide variations in color but also patterning of petals from tipped or graded color to stripes and stippling. Rose petals can vary in thickness by species and cultivar from near tissue thin to a thickness like an absorbent paper towel with a lightly napped surface texture like sheared silk velvet.


Roses are known for their scent, but not all roses have a pronounced or easily detected scent and some have none at all. The fragrance can vary widely in both intensity and nose. Some roses smell light and sweet, while others are more earthy, musky or even spicy. Most roses have several notes to make a unique smell. Rose fragrance also varies among different species and cultivars, and many roses have been bred expressly to intensify their fragrance.

Garden Guides