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Polyantha Roses

Polyantha roses are the backbone of many great gardens around the world. Find out about these great small shrubs.


Polyantha roses were first bred in 1875 by Guillot, a Frenchman. It took off in popularity due to its great utility as a shrub. Its origin breed that it was based on was the rosa multiflora. The word means "many blooms" in Greece and definitely applies to this blooming plant! Since then, its popularity took off, reaching the peak of new breeds in the 1930s with the introduction of the Fairy rose. Only a few new polyanthas have been brought out in recent years. All in all, there are about 500 varieties available currently.

Although the Fairy continues to enjoy popularity, the overall breed seems to have been eclipsed by the floribundas and even some of the miniatures.


Some characteristics of a polyantha are a short, shrublike growth. Typically they have many small clustered flowers that bloom repeatedly. They can range in colors from white, pink. red, and yellow and gold, most commonly being pink and red.


They are known for being winter hardy, but seem to fair best in the more temperate climates...not too hot or too cold. They are relatively disease resistant but can get the occassional blackspot.

Deadheading is recommended with easygoing pruning. They work great as small hedges or as standalone shrubs.


Here are a few of the more popular types:

The Fairy: A nice looking pink/purple variety with cool ruffled petals.

Fairy Rose

Cecile Brunner: An orange multi-colored beauty.

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