Roses in Colorado

Knock Out roses are perfect for midwest gardens in the U.S.
© Molly Shannon/

Written by Larissa Smith

Updated: August 23, 2023

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Roses are timeless flowers and a common addition to bridal bouquets and wedding centerpieces. When you think of a rose, you think of love, compassion, and Beauty and the Beast. So you might think that you can’t grow roses in Colorado due to the cold winter. However, a range of cold-hardy roses can bring your Colorado garden to life with beauty and elegance.

Roses are a staple for gardeners everywhere. They’re also one of the most romantic flowers in the world, but did you know some species can thrive in Colorado? This article will explore the various roses that will make your landscape pop with color.

1. Prairie Rose (Rosa arkansana)

The prairie rose, scientifically known as Rosa arkansana, is a beautiful shrub native to Colorado. This succulent shrub has white to pink blossoms with dark green leaves on prickly stems that stand 2-4 feet tall. They thrive in the wild, and you can find them in ditches, prairies, and roadsides.

The prairie rose flourishes in Colorado’s climate and soil conditions. It is drought-tolerant with a hardiness level of zone 4 through 7. Not only does the prairie rose give a natural beauty to any landscape, but it also provides hips that butterflies and birds can feast on.

Rosa arkansana flower blooming in summer.

Colorado’s prairie rose is a drought-tolerant shrub with beautiful white to pink blossoms.


2. Prickly Rose (Rosa acicularis)

Rosa acicularis, known as the prickly rose, is a hardy plant native to Colorado and other parts of the United States. However, this rose can get found in North America, Asia, and Europe. You can distinguish this rose shrub from other roses through its needle-like thorns and sweet-scented pink blossoms.

The prickly rose thrives in many habitats, including steam banks, wooded hillsides, and rocky bluffs. This is a hardy species that not only adds beauty to the landscape but also supports wildlife. It can provide shelter for wildlife but also provides hips that birds, butterflies, and bees will feed on throughout fall and winter.  

Beautiful little rose (Rosa acicularis )close up photo

The sweet-scented prickly rose thrives globally, supporting wildlife and landscapes.


3. Redleaf Rose (Rosa glauca)

The redleaf rose is an exciting rose species with unique features that make it different from other roses. Its bluish-green leaves and reddish stems combine beautifully, and the delicate pink blossoms offer elegance. Even though this rose is not native to Colorado, it has been introduced to the state and adapted well to its environment.

The redleaf rose is a cold hardy plant that can thrive in various conditions, from full sun to partial shade. It adds beauty to any landscape by attracting pollinators like bees and butterflies with its fragrant blossoms. The redleaf rose’s ability to adapt and grow in different environments shows its versatility, making it a great addition to Colorado gardens.

Rosa glauca rubrifolia red-leaved rose in bloom, beautiful ornamental redleaf flowering deciduous shrub, spring pink yellow white flowers on branches with dark foliage

The redleaf rose is both sturdy and charming in gardens.

©Iva Vagnerova/

4. Woods’ Rose (Rosa woodsii)

Rosa woodsii, commonly called woods’ rose, is a native North American wild rose. The woods’ rose is a species of rose with light pink to deep red blooms in the late spring to early summer and a sweet scent that makes you feel like you’re walking through an enchanted forest every time you step out into your garden.

Woods’ rose can grow to 10 feet tall and is a hardy plant that will survive in several harsh environments. Because of its stunning visual appeal and ability to survive in multiple conditions, this rose is also a popular choice for landscapes.

Close up of pink bloom Woods' Rose (Mountain Rose, Western Rose) Scientific Name is Rosa Woodsii

Woods’ rose has pretty flowers, growing easily in difficult weather conditions.


5. Bristly Nootka Rose (Rosa nutkana)

The Nootka rose is an appealing wild rose grown throughout the United States, including Colorado. This wildflower has vibrant pink flowers that bloom from late spring to midsummer and red-orange hips that appear in late summer and winter. The Nootka rose is well-known for its excellent scent and appearance.

The Nootka rose is a tough plant that can withstand a variety of conditions. They grow 6 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide, making them stand out in gardens as a hedge or barrier around properties. If you want to attract small mammals to your garden, the Nootka rose is the way to go, as they shelter animals such as waterfowl.

A single Rosa nutkana or Bristle rose flower in a green bush with pink flower petals

Nootka Rose has vibrant pink flowers that bloom from late spring to mid-summer.


6. William Baffin Rose (Rosa ‘William Baffin’)

The William Baffin rose is a climbing rose that gets recognized for its hardiness and because it’s easy to grow. It got its name from Felicitas Svejda, a Canadian rose breeder who wanted to honor the Canadian explorer. The rose is a hybrid Kordesii rose cultivar with large pink flowers that bloom multiple times from late spring into winter. In addition, the hardiness level of this rose makes it a great plant that can be grown in Colorado.

With a climbing growth habit, this eye-catching rose bush can grow to about 10 feet tall and 4 feet wide. You will love the William Baffin roses’ ability to survive cold temperatures, including Colorado’s cold winters, and adapt to various environments.

William Baffin rose

The William Baffin rose is an easy-to-grow climbing rose.

©Gerry Burrows/

7. Sticky Cinquefoil (Drymocallis arguta)

Drymocallis arguta, known as the tall cinquefoil or sticky cinquefoil, is a perennial herbaceous rose plant native to North America. This species grows in well-drained soils and can grow at elevations up to 11,000 feet. The sticky cinquefoil has serrated leaves divided into five leaflets and bright yellow flowers that bloom between May and August, attracting pollinators like bees and butterflies.

Due to its adaptability to different climates and ability to grow at high elevations, sticky cinquefoil is hardy enough to grow in Colorado. The plant’s tolerance to various weather conditions and adaptability to different soil types make it a perfect choice for Colorado’s landscape. With its bright yellow flowers and ecological benefits as a food source for pollinators, the tall cinquefoil can be a lovely and environmentally friendly addition to gardens in Colorado.

Silver leaves and yellow flowers of tall cinquefoil (Drymocallis arguta, syn. Potentilla argentea, var. tenuiloba)

The sticky cinquefoil can grow at elevations of 11,000 feet.

©Edita Medeina/

8. Rugosa Rose (Rosa rugosa)

Other common names for the rugosa rose is “beach rose” or “Japanese rose.” It’s a hardy rose native to Eastern Asia and well-known for its big, fragrant flowers in various colors, such as white, pink, and red. In addition, its leaves tend to be wrinkled. Rosa rugosa blooms from late spring to early fall, developing bright rose hips high in vitamin C and can get used in food, teas, and herbal remedies.

The rugosa rose can grow 10 feet tall and is resistant to diseases that may affect other rose species. Rosa rugosa can also grow well at high altitudes and in cold temperatures, which makes it a good fit for Colorado’s environment.

The Rugosa Rose is one of the hardiest roses available today.

The rugosa rose is one of the hardiest roses available today.


9. Henry Hudson (Rosa ‘Henry Hudson’)

Rosa “Henry Hudson” is a hardy hybrid rugosa cultivar that’s part of the same rose hybrids developed by Felicitas Svejda. It gets its name after the English traveler Henry Hudson. This type of rose comes from the Morden Research Station in Manitoba, Canada, as part of a plan to breed roses that survive winter. Rosa ‘Henry Hudson’ is a favorite among rose growers because of its fragrant, semi-double, white flowers that bloom all summer long and its beautiful leaves that turn a stunning red in the fall. The white flowers will have a tinge of pink when the weather turns cold.

Rosa ‘Henry Hudson’ only grow around 4 feet tall with a 2-4 foot spread. The deep green, ovate leaves complement the stunning white flowers and bright red hips that develop in summer and fall. In addition, they are resistant to diseases and pests. This makes them great for areas where those bugs might be prevalent, such as near the woods. They’ll keep their flowers longer than other varieties because insects or diseases won’t destroy the plant.

closeup of a Henry Hudson white Rose



‘Henry Hudson’ can grow beautiful white flowers and bright red hips in the summer.

©Christiane Godin/

Final Thoughts

You know just how special roses can be if you have a green thumb. Of course, there are a wide variety of roses — each one is more unique than the last. But if you live in Colorado, you may wonder if roses will grow well there.

Veteran gardeners know that it isn’t easy to grow roses in Colorado. The weather can change drastically from one day to the next, especially in the winter. But with a little research and some extra effort, you will get rewarded with beautiful blossoms that smell like heaven and bring joy into your life.

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About the Author

Larissa Smith is a writer for A-Z Animals with years of experience in plant care and wildlife. After years spent in the South African bush while studying Nature Conservation, she found her way to writing about animals and plants in her work. She hopes to inspire others to appreciate and care for the precious world around them. Larissa lives in Florida with her two sons, a miniature golden retriever named Pupples, and a colorful succulent garden. In her spare time, she is tending to her garden, adventuring with her kids, and hosting “Real Housewives” watch parties with her friends.

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