Spray Roses vs. Roses: Key Differences to Know

Written by Nikita Ross
Updated: August 23, 2023
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There’s nothing like the beauty and elegance of roses in a spring garden. With hundreds of species and thousands of cultivars, gardeners have plenty of options to choose from to suit their style and preferences. Many new gardeners are confused about the differences between spray roses and other roses. In this article, we’ll dive into spray roses vs. roses, exploring the key differences and growth needs.

Comparing Spray Roses vs. Roses

Spray RosesRoses
SizeSmall, with blooms no more than 1-2 inches across.Wide range, with blooms up to 5 inches across.
StructureLong stem with clusters of 3-5 flowers.Wide range, with long-stem roses having a single bloom per stem.
Growth EnvironmentRequire full sunlight and high humidity to thrive. Grow in USDA zones 3-10.Wide range from wild species with minimal care requirements to cultivated species with robust care requirements. Grow in USDA zones 3-10.
FragranceRange from mild fragrance to strong fragrance.Range from mild fragrance to strong fragrance.
Disease and Pest ResistanceSusceptible to black spots, aphid infestations, and mildew.Affordable compared to long-stem roses.
UsesTypically used in potted displays, centerpieces, and wedding bouquets.Wide range of uses, from gardens to bouquets.
CostRosa ‘Jilly Jewel,’ Rosa ‘Gourmet Popcorn’Wide range, with some cultivars selling for millions of dollars.
Popular CultivarsRosa ‘Fair Bianca,’ Rosa ‘The Fairy’, Rosa ‘Love’Rosa ‘Fair Bianca,’ Rosa ‘The Fairy,’ Rosa ‘Love’

What Are Spray Roses?

Spray roses are a type of miniature rose named for their unique structure. Whereas the roses we typically see in arrangements have long, elegant stems with a single bloom, spray roses have clusters of small blooms along the stem. This structure has a fountain or spray-like appearance.

 red color rose bouquet, spray rose

Red spray roses in a bouquet.

©Yuliia Bezuglaya/Shutterstock.com

What Are Roses?

When someone refers to roses, they typically mean the taxonomic group as a whole—including spray roses. The Rosa genus produces roses in endless shapes, sizes, colors, and habitats. Spray roses are just a small fraction of the Rosa genus.

Spray Roses vs. Roses: Differences

It’s difficult to make a direct comparison of spray roses vs. roses, as these delightful miniatures are just one subset of the extensive Rosa family.

The key features that set spray roses apart are their size and structure. Spray roses, often referred to as miniature roses, have small blooms. They also feature several blooms on a single stem, whereas popular florist roses (long-stem roses) have a single bloom on each stem.

Another key difference is how spray roses are used. Thanks to their dense, compact growth habits, these delicate beauties are often featured as accent flowers in bouquets or as centerpieces. The “spray” effect also adds dimension to overflowing floral arrangements.

Spray roses tend to be more affordable than other rose cultivars used by florists and event designers. They tend to be less in demand. Furthermore, designers can fill more space with fewer stems due to their cluster growth habits.

Growing and Caring for Spray Roses

Spray roses are generally easy to care for compared to other types of roses.

You can purchase bare-root rose cuttings taken from established plants during their winter dormancy. Alternatively, you can get fully-formed potted spray roses with an established root system.

If you enjoy the challenge of gardening, choose bare root cuttings. Opt for potted spray roses instead if you want to enjoy the appearance without the upfront effort.

Spray roses grow well in USDA zones 3-8. They require full sunlight and lots of humidity to thrive. Be meticulous in pruning them, and consider adding mulch around the roots to trap moisture. Water regularly in the evenings during drought periods to avoid shocking the plants during peak heat hours.

Be mindful of pests—particularly aphids. Try a natural approach to pest control by planting fragrant companion plants, like marigolds. If you notice an abundance of aphids, spray your rose leaves with a hose and apply neem oil.

Yellow miniature roses growing out of a pot near a green garden

Yellow miniature roses growing out of a pot near a green garden

©Nancy Salmon/Shutterstock.com

Growing and Caring for Roses

As roses are such an extensive species, different cultivars have different care needs.

Roses generally perform best in USDA zones 3-8, regardless of their species. Some types of roses (long-stem, for example) require constant care with daily watering, humidity control, and pruning. Wild varieties are more hardy and resilient when left untouched.

Roses prefer full sunlight for optimal growth. While some species will grow in partial shade, most of these pretty petals prefer six or more hours of sunlight for optimal results.

Avoid over-fertilizing your roses, as rapid growth attracts aphids. Prune your roses annually after the growing season has passed.

beautiful velvety red fully blown hybrid tea roses

Beautiful velvety red blooming hybrid tea roses.


The photo featured at the top of this post is ©

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About the Author

Nikita Ross is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering plants, gardening, and yard care. Nikita has been writing for over seven years and holds a Marketing diploma from NSCC, which she earned in 2010. A resident of Canada, Nikita enjoys reading in her library, epic beach naps, and waiting for her Coffea arabica plant to produce coffee beans (no luck yet).

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