The Best Roses to Buy in New Zealand

Roses have been a symbol of love, war, politics, and beauty for as long as they’ve been in existence. That existence spans 35 million years, with evidence of fossilised rose petals found in Crete from 1600BC.

It’s clear to see that roses continue to hold their own in the gardening scene, with them the number one preferred flower in the United States. That may be, in part, due to the country’s first president – George Washington – also having the title of being the country’s first rose breeder.

While the flower’s origins in New Zealand are less exciting, that doesn’t make them any less popular. There’s a New Zealand Rose Society, and it’s even a popular female name as well, not to mention featuring in over 4,000 songs. You’ll also be unlikely to wander down any residential street without seeing at least one beautiful rose plant standing proudly in a garden.

However, that doesn’t mean that all varieties are going to be suitable for you, your climate, or busy schedule. Out of all 150 species and thousands of hybrids, sometimes only a handful will ever truly thrive in your garden. If you want the best chance of finding those rose varieties, then read on. Below, we list some of the best roses to buy in New Zealand – and how to care for them.


Paddy Stephens

The Paddy Stephens free-flowering hybrid tea rose got its name from the New Zealand rosarian of the same name. It’s a beautiful, hardy, and disease-resistant flower with orange-salmon petals and a dark green and glossy foliage. It also boasts a slight fragrance which is not overly aromatic, but pleasant all the same.

This is a rose that will thrive in full sunlight and well-draining soil. It also requires organic matter and rose fertiliser to help it reach its full potential. In winter, you will either need to prune it or hire an expert who can, then dead-head it during the flowering season. You’ll see Paddy Stephens in full bloom during spring and through until autumn.

Absolutely Fabulous

As the name suggests, this plant is absolutely fabulous. With butter yellow flowers reminiscent of days gone by, and a beautiful yet unique scent of licorice, it’s a must-have rose in any garden.

Absolutely Fabulous is a neat, self-cleaning flower that takes minimal care and maintenance. It usually has up to 45 petals and loves to sun itself in well-draining soil. As long as you supply it with plenty of organic matter, it will continue to thrive.

Absolutely Fabulous is also an exceptionally heat tolerant breed with blackspot and mildew resistance. Remember to prune it in winter and remove the dead heads during the flowering season. You may also find this is the best variety for borders, garden beds, or stand-alone shrubs.

Alberic Barbier.jpg

 Alberic Barbier

If you can’t think of anything more refreshing then a beautiful apple fragrance filling your nostrils daily, then Alberic Barbier might be right for you. This rose boasts dark green foliage and lovely shades of apricot, yellow, and cream. As the flowering season progresses, the kaleidoscope of colours fades out to a brilliant and stark shade of white.

Alberic Barbier also works well in partial sun, shade, hot climes, and well-draining soil. Talk to an expert about staying on top of fertilising and care, as you’ll need to remember to apply new fertiliser both in early spring and summer.

This disease-resistant and coastal-friendly rose is one that loves to climb – so keep it away from fences and buildings if you don’t want it to take over!

 Class Act

If you struggle to get any plants to thrive due to your cold climate, then Class Act could be for you. This hardy rose thrives in temperatures as low as -20 degrees and is entirely frost-hardy. Therefore, if you live in the likes of Southland, you’ll have no problem getting this rose to adjust to the conditions.

It’s a well-behaved rose with delicate hints of red, lemon, and white. Its fragrance is only mild, but its looks more than make up for its lack of perfume. This rose requires fertiliser in spring and summer but is relatively disease-resistant year-round. You can also plant it in a pot, container, or flower bed.


Flower Carpet Pink

If you want your gardens to make a statement, then Flower Carpet Pink will come to the party. This carmine pink rose is wide-spreading, with large clusters of semi-double flowers throughout the flowering season. Even its glossy, dark green foliage makes a statement.

Flower Carpet Pink is one of the most easy-care shrubs around. It flowers from spring to autumn, requires minimal trimming, and tends to be more of a ground cover shrub than one of height. It doesn’t have a particularly strong aroma, but it’s a rose that loves to flaunts its looks to make up for it.


Whether you’re new to rose care or you’re a seasoned expert, you’ll find it’s a joy to discover all the different rose varieties we have here in New Zealand. The next time you go to add a new one to your collection, choose one with sturdy canes and isn’t one of the last left in a variety. You can then rely on lawn care and gardening experts near you to maintain them to the highest standard.


Klaris Chua-Pineda