Information On Iceberg Roses: What Is An Iceberg Rose?

Information On Iceberg Roses: What Is An Iceberg Rose?

By: Stan V. Griep, American Rose Society Consulting Master Rosarian, Rocky Mountain District

Iceberg roses have become a very popular rose among rose lovers due to their winter hardiness as well as their overall ease of care. Iceberg roses, with their beautiful flushes of fragrant blooms set against attractive foliage help them to be an eye catching beauty in the rose bed or garden. When we talk about Iceberg roses though, things can get very confusing in a hurry, so let me explain why.

Types of Iceberg Roses

The Original Iceberg Rose

The original Iceberg rose was bred by Reimer Kordes of Kordes Roses in Germany and introduced in 1958. This white blooming floribunda rose bush has a strong fragrance along with being very disease resistant. Iceberg rose’s white blooms are so bright it is hard to capture them well in a photo. The Iceberg rose’s winter hardiness is well known, too, which has led to her popularity.

The New Iceberg Rose

Around 2002 the “New” Iceberg rose was introduced, again from Kordes Roses of Germany by Tim Hermann Kordes. This version of the Iceberg rose was considered a florist’s rose and hybrid tea rose, but still a beautiful white rose. The fragrance on new Iceberg roses is considered to be mild when compared to the original. There is even a polyantha rose that was introduced around 1910 in the United Kingdom that carried the name Iceberg. The polyantha rose, however, does not appear to be related to the Kordes Iceberg rose bush.

Climbing Iceberg Roses

There is also a Climbing Iceberg rose that was introduced around 1968 in the United Kingdom. It is considered to be a sport of the original Iceberg rose from Kordes Roses of Germany. Climbing Iceberg roses are also extremely hardy and carry the same fragrant white blooms. This climber blooms on the old wood only, so be VERY careful about pruning this climber. Pruning it too much will mean the loss of the current season’s blooms! It is highly recommended not to prune this rose bush at all for at least two years of its growth in your garden or rose bed and, if it must be pruned, do so sparingly.

Colored Iceberg Roses

From there we move on to some Iceberg roses with pink and deep purple to deep red colorations.

  • Blushing Pink Iceberg rose is a sport of the original Iceberg. This Iceberg rose’s petals have a wonderful light pink blush to them almost as if painted by a famous artist. She carries the same amazing hardiness and growth habits as the original Iceberg floribunda rose bush and will, at times, produce flushes of white blooms, especially during the hot summer temps.
  • Brilliant Pink Iceberg rose is similar to Blushing Pink Iceberg rose except that she has a more pronounced pink coloration, kind of a creamy pink in some temperature conditions. Brilliant Pink rose Iceberg carries the same hardiness and disease resistance as all of the Iceberg roses do. This Iceberg rose’s fragrance is a mild honey like fragrance.
  • Burgundy Iceberg rose has deep purple blooms with a slightly lighter reverse in some rose beds, and I have seen this Iceberg rose have deep dark red blooms in other rose beds. Burgundy Iceberg rose is a sport of Brilliant Pink Iceberg rose.
  • There is even a blended yellow blooming Iceberg rose known as Golden Iceberg rose. Introduced in 2006 and a floribunda rose as well, this Iceberg rose’s fragrance is moderate and pleasing and the foliage is glossy green just as a rose bush should have. Golden Iceberg roses do not appear to be related in any way to the other Iceberg roses listed in this article; however, it is said to be a very hardy rose bush in its own right.

If you are looking for consistently hardy and very disease resistant rose bushes, the original and related Iceberg rose bushes really need to be on your list. Truly excellent rose bushes for any rose lover.

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"You don't want to be the slave of some plant, do you?" Allen Paterson was director of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton when he asked me that years ago. I'd inquired if, for the winter, I needed to tip over and bury my new rosebushes, as some books advised. His instant response was: "Heavens, no. Do what's convenient for you. If they die, they die. Next year you plant something else."

That's good advice for gardeners who want to grow a few nice rosebushes in their yards but don't want to be slaves to them. And happily, the top rose breeders now want these gardeners' business. Canada's Explorer and Parkland roses have become international successes because they're winter-hardy and easy to grow. And Europe's biggest rose nursery, W. Kordes & Sons, in Germany, whose hybrids sell across Canada, won't put a new rose in its catalogue until it has survived several years in open fields near the North Sea, unprotected from cold, diseases and wildlife.

Still, choosing 10 roses can be tough. Here's how I made my selections.

Hardiness. All but one are cold-hardy to at least Zone 5.

Resistance to mildew, common pests and diseases.

Availability. Most are available through several mail-order suppliers and should also be readily available in large garden centres.

Variety, in both shrub form and colour. Obtaining colour variety is trickier than you'd think. Very hardy roses are almost always pink. Hardy reds are tough to find, and yellows are next to impossible (there's a weakness gene that comes with the yellowness), so the yellow 'Sunsprite' is more exceptional than its modest looks suggest.

My list includes no hybrid tea roses. Why not? Hybrid teas, the darlings of rose society competitions, look great in vases and photographs but less great in gardens – they're all legs and very finicky. As well, many hybrid teas lack fragrance. Most of the selections here come up smelling like a rose.

Page 1 of 3 – Discover the first 5 rose varieties that will thrive in your garden on page 2.

1. John Cabot (Shrub/climber, 2 m high x 2 m wide)
Introduced to the market 20 years ago, this was the first of the great Explorer roses hybridized by Felicitas Svejda for Agriculture Canada. A sprawly shrub easily trained as a climber, 'John Cabot' produces fragrant multipetalled, 7.5-centimetre-wide flowers, first and most prolifically in June, then sporadically until freeze-up. Field-tested in Ottawa since 1970, it's resistant to mildew and black spot and hardy to Zone 3. It also tolerates the Prairies' high summer temperatures well.

2. Ballerina (Hybrid Musk, 120 cm high x 120 cm wide)
As enchanting as its name suggests, 'Ballerina' begins the season dense with mop-headed clusters of small (three centimetres across) blossoms, then keeps them coming, a bit less densely, all season. It prefers full sun but will tolerate light shade as well as such other hardships as polluted city air and heavy or stony soil. As its category suggests, 'Ballerina' has a seductive musky fragrance. Close cousin 'Mozart' is more vibrantly red. 'Ballerina' is hardy to Zone 5 if planted in a sheltered spot rather than an exposed one where winter winds are bad.

3. The Fairy (Polyantha, 60 cm high x 120 cm wide)
'The Fairy' is a vigorous, low-growing landscape rose known for its dense, cushion-forming habit and impressive spread, which can be more than double its height. Not quite a ground cover, but close, it's ideal for small gardens. It's also the world's favourite polyantha (dwarf) rose thanks to its season-long production of small (2.5 centimetres across) blossoms. It rarely gets sick and is reliably hardy, unprotected, to -15ºC, or to Zone 5. Gardeners who live in areas colder than Zone 5 should mulch well and preferably plant it near a south-facing stone or brick wall for the reflected heat and shelter from north winds .

4. Morden Blush
(Shrub, 90 cm high x 90 cm wide)
Of the winter-hardy roses bred at Agriculture Canada's Morden (Man.) Research Station, 'Morden Blush' is best for those places that not only have severe winters but hot summers. It is, therefore, the Morden hybrid that's most widely sold in southern Canadian garden centres but its lightly fragrant blossoms can also be found in places as cold as Zone 2. After a big early show, the flowers repeat throughout the season.

5. Iceberg (Floribunda, 120 cm high x 120 cm wide)
In 1983 the World Federation of Rose Societies voted this the world's favourite rose - for good reason. Given diligent deadheading, a bush will produce wave after wave of bloom in clusters of three to seven flowers, each one about 7.5 centimetres across. Nearly thornless, somewhat shade-tolerant and only mildly susceptible to black spot, its main drawback is a relatively weak fragrance. Cold-hardy to Zone 4, 'Iceberg' keeps flowering until frosts get serious.

Page 2 of 3 – Find five more rose varieties that thrive in Canadian gardens on page 3.

6. Lavaglut (Floribunda, 120 cm high x 120 cm wide)
Remarkably heat- and cold-tolerant for a red rose, 'Lavaglut' has been known to survive winters to -35ºC in Estonia but has also been recorded blooming at 42ºC in California and Texas. The American Rose Society gives it a very high rating for its pest and disease resistance as well as for the fact that its large, velvety flowers last well, even in high heat. 'Lavaglut' is also marketed under the names 'Lavaglow' and 'Intrigue'. It's generally hardy to Zone 4 with protection.

7. Sunsprite (Floribunda, 60 cm high x 60 cm wide)
'Sunsprite' is outstanding among modern hybrids for both its fragrance and, for a yellow rose, its hardiness and disease resistance. The Kordes family, who bred it, call it 'Friesia', a name that sometimes appears in catalogues, too. It blooms in profusion throughout the season, though its cousin 'Sun Flare' is often used in places where summers get hot since 'Sunsprite' prefers cooler climes. It's hardy to Zone 5 with protection.

8. Grusse an Aachen (Floribunda, 75 cm high x 45 cm wide)
Long unclassified, 'Grusse an Aachen', which means "Greetings to Aachen," is a precursor to David Austin's popular English roses. It's also regarded as the first floribunda (large clusters of ever-blooming flowers) and one of the world's current favourite garden roses. The blossoms, up to 10 centimetres across, open creamy white, then shift to salmon. Spring and fall produce big flushes against dark green foliage, but flowers appear throughout the season, sweetly but subtly fragrant. Fungus-resistant and hardy to -15ºC (Zone 5), it blooms with as little as four to five hours of direct sun daily.

9. Stanwell Perpetual (Old garden rose, 150 cm high x 180 cm wide)*
The oldest rose listed here, 'Stanwell Perpetual' has enchanted garden visitors for more than 160 years, especially in spring, when its blossoms all but smother the bush. A great hedging rose with lots of thorns, it has a rich scent in flower even its leaves are scented, smelling of dill when wet. Flushes of bloom repeat through October. Hardy to Zone 3, it withstands frosts to -25ºC. It may attract beetles and black spot but is generally trouble-free.

10. Zéphirine Drouhin (Bourbon, climber, up to 2 m in height)
With its almost thornless canes and climbing habit, this is the best rose for growing on pergolas and trellis gates, where skin or fabrics might brush against a plant. These structures are also ideal for showcasing its fine fragrance. ‘Zéphirine Drouhin' has major flushes of bloom in spring and fall, with smaller ones between. It's slightly susceptible to mildew and black spot. Though it's hardy in Canada to Zone 6, wrap climbing canes in burlap for winter unless they're very well sheltered.

Shopping tips: Buy Canadian Canadian growers use hardier rootstock. If possible shop in person and choose the healthiest plants. Plant so the graft to the rootstock is at least five centimetres below soil level – not above it, as English and American gardening books recommend. After hard winters, prune away deadwood.


First developed around 1940, these hybrids combine the free-flowering nature and compact habit of polyanthas with the vibrance and color range of hybrid teas. Flowers are smaller than hybrid teas, but are borne in profuse clusters on bushy plants, creating a striking effect in the landscape. These are suitable in mixed cottage-style borders, massed along a slope for erosion control, as privacy hedging, or in containers. The easy-care nature and hardiness makes these a good choice for beginning gardeners.



Compact bushy habit, 2-5 feet tall and 2-4 feet wide

Bloom time:

Repeat or continuous bloom from early summer to fall


Flowers are white, yellow, pink, gold, lavender-blue, burgundy, apricot, orange, red or bicolored green foliage

‘Cinco de Mayo’ (pictured), ‘Iceberg’, ‘Bonica’, ‘Amber Queen’, ‘Sunsprite’, and ‘Julia Child’

Hybrid teas, which are a cross between tea roses and hybrid perpetuals, became the first modern rose type when introduced in 1867. The wide range of flower colors and large fragrant blooms, which are each borne on a long single stem, make these a favorite of seasoned gardeners, exhibitors, and florists. Hybrid teas can be higher maintenance and more susceptible to pests and diseases than other types. Plant in a mixed border, mass planting, container, or as a stand-alone accent.



Upright bushy habit, 3-8 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide

Bloom time:

Repeat or continuous bloom from late spring to fall


Flowers are white, yellow, pink, gold, lavender-blue, burgundy, apricot, orange, red, bi- or multi-colored green foliage

‘Double Delight’ (pictured), ‘Peace’, ‘Mister Lincoln’, ‘Fragrant Cloud’, and ‘Just Joey’.

These taller shrub types, which were introduced in the 1950s, are a cross between hybrid teas and floribundas. They are characterized by clusters of 5-7 large, showy blooms on robust stems. Use in a mixed border, as hedging, or as a striking focal point in the landscape. Makes an excellent cut flower.



Upright bushy habit, 3-8 feet tall and 2-5 feet wide

Bloom time:

Repeat bloom from late spring to fall


Flowers are purple, red, orange, white, pink, or yellow green or blue-green foliage

‘Dick Clark’ (pictured), ‘Gold Medal’, ‘Tournament of Roses’, ‘Mother of Pearl’, 'Octoberfest’, and ‘Cherry Parfait’.

Photo by: Maxal Tamor / Shutterstock

Developed in the late 19th century, these exceptionally tough roses are similar in stature to floribundas, though smaller, with a dense growth habit and clusters of 1- to 2-inch blooms that are rarely fragrant. Though most are shrubs, some are climbers. Use as edging along a pathway, at the front of a mixed border, as hedging, or in containers. Virtually carefree and disease-free.



Compact, spreading or climbing habit. Shrub forms grow 2-4 feet tall and wide. Climbers such as ‘Cecile Brunner’ can reach up to 10 feet tall and 3-6 feet wide.

Bloom time:

Repeat bloom from early summer to fall


Flowers are white, pink, red, apricot, lavender, or crimson green foliage

‘The Fairy’ (pictured), ‘China Doll’ ‘Marie Pavie’, ‘Cecile Brunner’, ‘Perle d’Or’.

Shrub roses are an easy-care alternative to more fussy hybrid teas. This diverse group includes hybrid musk, Kordesii, and English roses. The informal sprawling habit makes these a good choice for larger landscapes, mixed borders, mass plantings and slopes. Learn more about growing shrub roses.



Mounding, bushy, spreading or groundcover habit, 1-20 feet tall and 1-15 feet wide

Bloom time:

Bloom time varies according to variety. These include one-time bloomers from late spring to early summer, as well as repeat and continuous bloomers that flower from late spring to frost.


Flowers occur in nearly every color except green, blue, or black green, blue, or purple-tinged foliage.

Oso Easy® (Double Red, pictured), Knockout®, Flower Carpet®, ‘Hansa’, ‘Carefree Delight’, ‘Buff Beauty’, and ‘Distant Drums’.

These are the romantic vining types that are seen growing up pergolas and arbors and trained along fences. Unlike true vines, they don’t climb on their own and need careful training and sturdy support. These include Noisette and climbing forms of hybrid tea, Bourbon, floribunda, grandiflora, and tea roses. Climbers are best used as screening and to provide vertical interest in the landscape.



Climbing spreading habit, 6-12 feet tall (or long) and 3-4 feet wide

Bloom time:


Flowers are pink, white, yellow red, orange, lavender, purple, burgundy and apricot green foliage

‘Eden’ (pictured), ‘Cl. Iceberg’, ‘Fourth of July’, ‘William Baffin’, ‘Zephirine Droughin’.

Photo by: bkel / Shutterstock

Bred for their compact size and diminutive one-inch blooms, the name is somewhat deceiving, as some varieties can grow as large as floribundas. Profuse flower clusters occur on sturdy plants in shrub or climbing forms. Suitable for small spaces, raised beds, rock gardens, as pathway edging, and as a stand-alone accent in a container.



Compact, upright, spreading or climbing habit. Shrub forms grow to 1-3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Climbers can reach 3-6 feet tall.

Bloom time:


Flowers are white, pink, red, burgundy, yellow, orange, and lavender green foliage.

‘Rainbow’s End’ (pictured), ‘Lavender Delight’, ‘Tiddly Winks’, ‘Hot Tamale’, ‘Gourmet Popcorn’, and ‘Angel Wings’.

Though not officially recognized as a separate class, English roses are among the most popular with home gardeners. These hybrid shrubs or climbers combine the full-petaled flower form and intense fragrance of old roses with the wider color range, repeat bloom and disease-resistance of modern roses. Also known as David Austin roses for the breeder who introduced them in the 1960s, these do best in milder regions with cooler summers. Use in a mixed border, containers, as hedging, or a stand-alone focal point. Makes an excellent cut flower.



Upright, bushy or climbing habit, 4-12 feet tall and 3-5 feet wide

Bloom time:

Repeat or continuous bloom from late spring until fall


Flowers are white, pink, apricot, yellow, red, coral, burgundy, orange foliage is green or blue-green.

‘Graham Thomas’ (pictured), ‘Abraham Darby’, ‘Heritage’, ‘Mary Rose’, ‘Lady of Shalott’, and ‘Gertrude Jekyll’.

More rose types:

  • Rambling rose: Larger than climbing roses, growing up to 20 feet high and 15 feet wide, ramblers have flexible stems and are easy to train. Starting in late spring to early summer, ramblers produce massive amounts of flowers in their single, but long-lasting, bloom.
  • Patio rose: A compact form, combining miniature and floribunda characteristics, suitable for containers or small spaces. These can include hybrid tea, floribunda, or grandiflora types.
  • Landscape rose: Sometimes referred to as groundcover rose, this is a catch-all phrase that includes old and new shrub roses that are virtually maintenance-free.
  • Tree rose: Also known as standards, this refers to any type of rose (usually hybrid tea or floribunda) that is trained into a tree form through grafting.

Container Roses

Container roses are typically available in 2-quart sizes or larger and come with established foliage that may or may not have blooms. While bareroot roses should generally be planted in early spring, container roses allow you quite a bit more flexibility in planting time, from spring all the way through fall in many zones. Fall can be a good season to plant container roses because it allows them enough time to establish themselves before cold or freezing temperatures arrive.

Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla)

Anne Green-Armytage / Getty Images

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Anne Green-Armytage / Getty Images

Lady's Mantle evokes English flower borders. You always see it spilling over pathways, with its chartreuse flowers languorously bending toward the ground. It can bring the same charm when planted under roses.

Easy To Grow Roses For Coastal Gardens

There are easy to grow roses like e. g. Rosa rugosa and the rugosa hybrids or for example the Flower Carpet Roses. These are very healthy and disease resistant and need very little care. They also stand up to coastal weather conditions like no other rose.

Other roses like Floribundas, Hybrid Teas or Patio roses can be grown in coastal gardens if you have a place for them that is reasonably sheltered from wind. These rose varieties though need more care, pruning and are more prone to fungal diseases like mildew and blackspot especially if you live in a damp climate.

The following list of rose varieties will help you choose rose plants for seaside gardens. These rose bushes are suitable for being grown without protection from wind and maritime exposure. They are also frost hardy and need very little maintenance.

Watch the video: The Beautiful Climbing Iceberg Rose - Some Quick Facts