Gardening Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day Roses

There is No Rose Without a Thorn … Not!

20180723A Zéphirine Drouhin'.jpg
Rosa ‘Zéphirine Drouhin’ is probably the best known thornless rose. Source:

According to the proverb, there is no rose without a thorn … but that really isn’t true. There are actually quite a few thornless roses, both species and cultivars, so if you love roses, but can’t tolerate their wicked thorns, there is hope for you.

Thornless rose stem. Source:

The advantage of thornless roses is that they can be used in spots where thorns would simply not be welcome, such as near a walkway where they could tear at your visitors’ clothes (or skin!), near a child’s play area or in gardens designed for the visually impaired. And who wants spines on climbing roses you have to constantly attach to their support? Of course, if you’re into flower arranging, flowers from thornless roses are also far easier to handle.

Thornless Roses

The following roses are considered thornless. They may produce a very small thorn occasionally, notably under a leaf, but it’s not going to reach out and grab you!

20180723W Rosa banksiae lutea,
Rosa bankisae lutea. Source:
  1. Rosa banksiae, syn.‘Lady Banks Rose’ (species, white or yellow)
  2. Rosa ‘Bleu Magenta’ (hybrid Multiflora, mauve)
  3. Rosa ‘Chloris’ (Alba, light pink, very fragrant)
  4. Rosa ‘Cinderella’ (miniature, pink)
  5. Rosa ‘Goldfinch’ (hybrid multiflora, light yellow/white, fragrant)
  6. Rosa ‘Hippolyte’ (Gallica, mauve/red blend)
  7. Rosa ‘Irene Marie’ (miniature, orange and yellow)
  8. Rosa ‘Kathleen Harrop’ (Bourbon, light pink, fragrant)
  9. Rosa ‘Lykkefund’ (Climbing, white/light yellow)
  10. Rosa ‘Mme Legras de St. Germain’ (Alba, white, fragrant)
  11. Rosa ‘Mme Plantier’ (Alba, white, fragrant)

    20180723F Smooth_prince
    Rosa ‘Smooth Prince’. Source:
  12. Rosa ‘Smooth Prince’ (hybrid tea, red)
  13. Rosa ‘Tausendschön’ (hybrid multiflora, pink blend)
  14. Rosa ‘Veilchenblau’ (hybrid multiflora, mauve, fragrant)
  15. Rosa ‘Zéphirine Drouhin’ (Bourbon, medium pink, fragrant)

Nearly Thornless Roses

And there are also roses that are almost thornless. Either they only produce thorns occasionally or they only appear on old wood. Nearly thornless roses can be used in the same way as thornless one, in places where thorns would be an annoyance.

20180723C A_Shropshire_Lad
Rosa ‘A Shropshire Lad’. Source:
  1. Rosa ‘A Shropshire Lad’ (David Austin, yellow blend)
  2. Rosa ‘Abradacabra’ (hybrid tea, red striped yellow)
  3. Rosa ‘Aimée Vibert’ (Noisette, white, fragrant)
  4. Rosa blanda (species, white or pink)
  5. Rosa ‘Blue for You’ (floribunda, blue mauve, fragrant)
  6. Rosa ‘Bride’s Dream’ (hybrid tea, light pink)
  7. Rosa ‘Cambridgeshire’ (groundcover rose, red and orange)

    20180723G Cardinal de Richelieu macadee
    Rosa ‘Cardinal de Richelieu’. Source: macadee
  8. Rosa ‘Cardinal de Richelieu’ (Gallica, burgundy purple, fragrant)
  9. Rosa ‘China Doll’ (polyantha, medium pink/light pink)
  10. Rosa ‘Climbing Iceberg’ (climbing floribunda, white)
  11. Rosa ‘Climbing Pinkie’ (climbing polyantha, medium pink)
  12. Rosa ‘Clotilde Soupert’ (polyantha, white)
  13. Rosa ‘Complicata’ (Gallica, pink blend, single)
  14. Rosa ‘Cornelia’ (hybrid musk, pink blend/yellow blend, fragrant)
  15. Rosa ‘Crépuscule’ (Noisette, apricot blend)
  16. Rosa ‘Crown Princess Margareta’ (David Austin, apricot blend)
  17. Rosa ‘Frau Karl Druschki’ (hybrid perpetual, white)
  18. Rosa ‘Geoff Hamilton’ (David Austin, medium pink)
  19. Rosa ‘Ghislaine de Féligonde’ (hybrid multiflora, light yellow/yellow blend, fragrant)
  20. Rosa ‘Golden Border’, syn. ‘Comtesse du Barry’ (polyantha, pale yellow and white)
  21. Rosa ‘Golden Showers’ (climbing, medium yellow)
  22. Rosa ‘Heritage’ (David Austin, light pink, very fragrant)

    20180723D cr-jp-conell
    Rosa ‘J.P. Connell’. Source
  23. Rosa ‘J.P. Connell’ (shrub, light yellow)
  24. Rosa ‘James Galway’ (David Austin, light pink/medium pink)
  25. Rosa ‘John Clare’ (David Austin, deep pink/light red, fragrant)
  26. Rosa ‘Kew Gardens’ (David Austin, white)
  27. Rosa ‘La Marne’ (polyantha, pink blend)
  28. Rosa ‘Lady Hillingdon’ (tea, yellow blend, fragrant)
  29. Rosa ‘Leander’ (shrub, apricot blend)
  30. Rosa ‘Litchfield Angel’ (David Austin, cream)
  31. Rosa ‘Marie Pavié’ (polyantha, pale pink to creamy white)
  32. Rosa ‘Martin Frobisher’ (shrub, pale pink)
  33. Rosa ‘Mlle Cécile Brunner’ (polyantha, light pink)
  34. Rosa ‘Mme Alfred Carriére’ (Noisette, white, fragrant)
  35. Rosa ‘Mortimer Sackler’ (David Austin, light pink)
  36. Rosa ‘Nestor’ (old rose, lilac pink)
  37. Rosa ‘Oceana’ (Hybrid Tea, apricot blend)
  38. Rosa ‘Outta the Blue’ (shrub, mauve)
  39. Rosa ‘Paul Neyron’ (hybrid perpetual, medium pink)
  40. Rosa ‘Pure Perfume’ (shrub, white, fragrant)

    20180723E Reine des Violettes,
    Rosa ‘Reine des Violettes’. Source:
  41. Rosa ‘Reine des Violettes’ (hybrid perpetual, mauve, fragrant)
  42. Rosa ‘Rose-Marie Viaud’ (hybrid multiflora, mauve)
  43. Rosa ‘The Generous Gardener’ (David Austin, light pink)
  44. Rosa ‘The Shepherdess’ (David Austin, pale apricot)
  45. Rosa ‘Thérèse Bugnet’ (hybrid rugosa, medium pink, fragrant)
  46. Rosa ‘Tuscany Superb’ (Gallica, mauve, fragrant)

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

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