9 Eye-Catching Roses That Thrive In North Carolina

Carolina Rose
© Brookgardener/Shutterstock.com

Written by Em Casalena

Updated: August 23, 2023

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Roses are one of the most sought-after flowers across the globe and are often used in landscaping, bouquets, and flower arranging. Despite their widespread appeal, many of those who live in North Carolina’s coastal districts might believe roses are unsuitable for their local settings. Nevertheless, rose enthusiasts in North Carolina, either along the coast or deep in the state, can take advantage of lovely blooms all season long with a little preparation and labor.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the native wild rose species that grow in sunny North Carolina, as well as some other rose varieties that can grow well in the state’s hardiness zones.

Carolina Rose

Botanical Name: Rosa carolina

Also known as the pasture rose, this lovely little native flower is a native of eastern North America. It is a deciduous wild shrub found throughout the state of North Carolina and beyond. It is a single-petalled wild rose that has clusters of five-petalled, delicate pink blooms with a golden center. By late summer, the green hips of this flower become a rich crimson hue.

The Carolina rose is a wild species that is said to be a very low-maintenance shrub, much less temperamental than hybrid roses while also being a little less spectacular. The Carolina rose can be found in glades, along highways and railways, in large woodlands or forests, and on damp soils near streams and swamps in its natural habitat. Carolina roses are normally planted either in the fall, at least six weeks before the first winter frost, or in the spring, following the final frost. It is a strong, quick-growing shrub that sucker-pollinates easily.

Rosa carolina, or the Carolina rose, growing in a garden surrounded by greenery

The Carolina rose (pictured) is a very common wild rose in North Carolina.

©Kimberly Boyles/Shutterstock.com

Tahitian Sunset Rose

Botanical Name: Rosa ‘Tahitian Sunset’

Due to their extreme hardiness across North Carolina, hybrid tea roses are a fantastic choice for homes along the ocean’s coast. This group of roses has a lengthy blooming season, lasting from spring until the first frost, so you have plenty of time to appreciate its bright displays. Its flowers are normally enormous, producing just one bloom per stem.

One popular variety of hybrid tea rose is the Tahitian Sunset. This variety’s magnificent five-inch flowers, which have 25 to 40 petals each, have high-centered orange-yellow buds that completely open to a stunning shade of peachy apricot pink with yellow hues. The Tahitian Sunset rose is a feast for the senses because of its strong licorice scent. Moreover, this variety has great blackspot resistance and superb dark green, semi-glossy leaves. This cultivar will likely produce large plants that grow to a height of five feet and a width of three feet. This cultivar of hybrid rose can be cultivated in USDA hardiness zones seven through 11 both inside and outside of North Carolina.

Perfect Moment Rose

Botanical Name: Rosa ‘Perfect Moment’

The Perfect Moment rose is another fantastic hybrid tea rose variety that grows well across all hardiness zones in North Carolina. The Perfect Moment rose has several stems and grows in an erect, spreading habit. Although its texture fades into the environment it is planted in, it can be effectively adjusted by one or two trees or bushes nearby.

Bright red, orange, and yellow colors emerge as these big, showy buds unfold. They often feature large, slender buds. The Perfect Moment rose also has robust disease resistance in its broad, dark green foliage. These roses are in bloom from spring until October. They work well as border plants, accent plants in the landscape, and container plants. It is recommended to trim this shrub in late winter when the threat of frost or really cold weather has gone. This shrub will need occasional maintenance and upkeep. It is an excellent option for luring bees into your yard as well!

Mardi Gras Rose

Botanical Name: Rosa ‘Mardi Gras’

Another good rose group that thrives in North Carolina is the floribunda rose group. Compared to hybrid tea roses, floribunda roses have fewer blossoms, but they produce more blooms per stem. Typically, this form of rose has modest growth, thick branches, and petals that range in color from white to red.

A highly unique variety of floribunda rose called the Mardi Gras rose can be seen in gardens all around North Carolina. From late spring and late fall, the Mardi Gras rose blooms profusely in steady waves. The blooms are combined with brilliant pink, orange, and yellow and are produced in stunning clusters of apricot-orange to red buds. The 20-petal, four-inch double flowers offer a mild, spicy scent that isn’t too overpowering. A single snip of the blossoms creates a stunning bouquet, making them perfect for cutting and floral arrangement. This medium-sized shrub is bushy, rounded, and disease-resistant. This rose is adaptable and looks absolutely gorgeous in landscapes, flowerbeds, hedges, and borders.

Miniature Roses

Botanical Name: Varies

Miniature roses are smaller in height than most of their relatives, as their name implies, which makes them ideal for use as accent flowers in your North Carolina yard. They have grown in popularity significantly over the past decade or so, most likely as a result of their minimal maintenance care needs in addition to their small size.

The most common variety of miniature roses called “knock-out” roses are now a common sight in North Carolina settings. If given sufficient care, these miniature rose bushes will bloom until the first frost in a range of eye-catching hues. Its exceptional resistance to sea spray and severe winds makes them a fantastic choice for coastal areas as well.

White and fuchsia miniature roses growing out of a pot

Miniature roses (pictured) are a popular option for smaller gardens or rose pots.


Multiflora Rose

Botanical Name: Rosa multiflora

The multiflora rose has been included on this list because it is a naturalized rose species in North Carolina. That being said, we don’t necessarily recommend growing this species in your yard if you live in the state. This naturalized plant has actually become extremely invasive in North Carolina!

Southeast Asia is the original home of the invasive perennial plant known as the multiflora rose. The multiflora rose was brought to the United States in the 1860s and employed in the horticulture business as a decorative garden plant and easily accessible rose root material for rose breeding operations. By the 1930s, it had been widely planted throughout the Midwest and northeastern states, including North Carolina, thanks to the USDA’s support for initiatives to minimize erosion, improve the habitat for wildlife, and act as a natural deterrent to roving farm animals.

The hazards aren’t worth it, even if the multiflora plant does boast a lovely white bloom. Conservationists were alerting people to the threat that this plant posed to untamed natural regions in the 1960s. Regrettably, no one listened to their warnings. It is now considered a noxious plant in several states because it has escaped cultivation and spread onto both private and public properties.

Dream Come True Rose

Botanical Name: Rosa ‘Dream Come True’

Grandiflora roses can also do quite well in North Carolina’s climate. This rose group was created from the cross-breeding of hybrid tea roses and floribunda roses. On top of tall stalks, grandifloras often carry somewhat large clusters of blooms. Compared to floribunda roses, the blossom size of grandiflora roses is a little bigger. These flowers do well as garden attractions and as cut flowers for bouquets.

The Dream Come True rose is a popular cultivar of grandiflora rose grown by many North Carolina gardeners. With its beautiful, golden flowers accentuated with ruby red at the tips of its petals, the Dream Come True rose is an incredible joy to have in the garden. It produces long-stemmed, long-lasting flowers against matte green leaves and is a perennial bloomer. The Dream Come True rose elegantly matures to all ruby-red and has huge, four-inch blooms with more than 40 petals. It also has a light, tea-scented fragrance that isn’t too harsh on the senses.

Heart o’ Gold Rose

Botanical Name: Rosa ‘Heart O’Gold’

The Heart o’ Gold Rose is another excellent cultivar of the grandiflora rose group. The Heart o’ Gold rose is a grandiflora rose that blooms continuously. It has huge four-inch flowers with more than 38 petals on long, sturdy stems. It lives up to its name with its vivid pink buds that open gradually to expose a brilliant golden core that becomes even more brilliant as it ages, leaving just its hot pink margins. All of your arrangements will benefit from the beautiful, fruity solid aroma that the Heart o’ Gold rose has to provide. Give it a few years to establish itself, and you’ll be rewarded with bushels of roses with long, gorgeous stems. Just keep in mind that its fragrance can be very strong, even in very large gardens.

Zephirine Drouhin Climbing Rose

Botanical Name: Rosa ‘Zephirine Drouhin’

A climbing rose is any rose that can climb up trellises, walls, and fences because of its long stems and vining growth habit. Climbing roses, which can reach heights of up to 20 feet and produce a beautiful display of color and scent when trained to grow vertically, differ from regular rose bushes in that they grow upright. In North Carolina, several types of climbing roses are resilient and hardy in the state’s climate ranges.

The Zephirine Drouhin climbing rose was first released in 1868 and has been a fan favorite ever since. It is a romantic, incredibly fragrant, vintage rose that is still one of the most beloved climbers in North Carolina today. The loose, double flowers in vibrant cerise-carmine reach their peak in the spring and fall and offer a great mass impact. Each bloom is roughly four inches around, grows from a tall pointed bud, has 20 to 24 vibrantly colored petals, and is scented strongly and evocatively of tangy berries. If you include the Zephirine Drouhin rose in your landscape, you will cherish its beauty and richness of bloom since no modern rose has been able to match it in terms of performance, deep raspberry fragrance, and season-long generosity. If you live in North Carolina and need a climbing or vining rose, this is definitely the variety to choose from.

With so many beautiful roses that are native to and grow well in North Carolina, those who live in the Old North State will have plenty of options when it comes time to start planting. The Carolina rose, in particular, is an excellent rose species to grow due to the fact that it is a native plant in the area. If you have the time and patience to dedicate to your roses, growing a rose garden in North Carolina is actually very easy!

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About the Author

Em Casalena is a writer at A-Z Animals where their primary focus is on plants, gardening, and sustainability. Em has been writing and researching about plants for nearly a decade and is a proud Southwest Institute of Healing Arts graduate and certified Urban Farming instructor. Em is a resident of Arizona and enjoys learning about eco-conscious living, thrifting at local shops, and caring for their Siamese cat Vladimir.

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