Roses are famous for their exquisite, colorful flowers and intoxicating, slightly sweet fragrance. While most types of roses add a wonderful smell to the summer garden, some roses are more fragrant than others. In this article, I’ll explore 25 of the most fragrant roses.
What Do Roses Smell Like?
Like many flowers, the rose primarily releases its scent to attract pollinators. These fragrances are produced when oil-based compounds consisting of alcohols and sugars evaporate from the petals.
Roses that release more oils produce stronger fragrances. The amount of oils released depends on several factors, including ambient temperature and time of day. Roses that have more petals or darker flowers usually produce more oils and, therefore, the most pungent fragrances.
Different types of roses produce fragrances with additional notes. These range from heady, complex scents of musk and spice to sweet, fruity aromas with notes of apple or lemon. Roses that come in different colors also produce different scents.
Pink and red roses produce the heady, slightly sweet fragrance traditionally associated with roses. Orange and yellow roses typically have aromas of fruit, cloves, nasturtium, tea, or violets. Pale yellow and white roses produce scents that smell like lemon, nasturtium, or violets.
Giving your roses the right conditions can help them produce stronger fragrances. Water your roses regularly, position them in full sun, and provide rich, well-draining soils that still hold some moisture. This provides plenty of sunlight and nutrients to help your roses produce strong, fragrant flowers.
The Most Fragrant Types of Roses
1) ‘Chrysler Imperial’ Rose
Chrysler Imperial roses (Rosa ‘Chrysler Imperial) are gorgeous hybrid tea roses introduced in 1952. This rose has velvety dark red double flowers with up to 50 petals. Rosa ‘Chrysler Imperial’ produces a strong citrus-like fragrance.
This long-lasting rose blooms from late spring until fall in USDA Zones 6b to 9b. Rosa ‘Chrysler Imperial’ is a deciduous perennial shrub rose with long flower stems covered in thorns. The flowers are borne on long, vigorous stems.
2) ‘Double Delight’ Rose
Rosa ‘Double Delight’ is an elegant hybrid tea rose with creamy white double flowers that have striking red edges. Each flower can grow up to four inches wide, producing a sweet, strong fragrance. This gorgeous cultivar was introduced in 1977 and has since won several awards.
These perennial shrubs can grow up to 5 feet high and have large dark green leaves. Rosa ‘Double Delight’ grows best in full sun in Zones 5 to 9.
3) ‘Ebb Tide’ Rose
Rosa ‘Ebb Tide’ is a striking Floribunda rose with dark plum-colored double flowers. With up to 35 petals on each flower, ‘Ebb Tide’ produces a rich clove-like scent with additional citrus notes. This captivating rose was introduced in 2001 and thrives in Zones 5 to 9.
‘Ebb Tide’ is a compact shrub rose that grows up to 5 feet tall and approximately 4 feet wide. This bushy rose also has dark green semi-glossy foliage.
4) ‘Evelyn’ Rose
Rosa ‘Evelyn’ is a real showstopper with its large, intoxicating double apricot blooms. This cultivar is a modern English shrub rose introduced in 1991 by renowned rose breeder David Austin and is showcased at some of the best rose gardens in the world. Each flower contains up to 100 petals with a pink tinge at the edges.
Rosa ‘Evelyn’ produces a strong, fruity scent with hints of apricots and peaches. This shrub rose grows up to 5 feet tall and thrives in full sun in Zones 5 to 11.
5) ‘Fragrant Cloud’ Rose
Rosa ‘Fragrant Cloud’ is a stunning hybrid tea rose first introduced in 1963. This award-winning rose has large coral-pink double flowers tinged with orange or red. ‘Fragrant Cloud’ lives up to its name and produces a robust citrus-like fragrance similar to damask roses.
‘Fragrant Cloud’ roses are compact shrubs that grow up to 4 feet tall and approximately 3 feet wide. These roses grow best in full sun in Zones 4 to 11.
6) ‘Fragrant Plum’ Rose
‘Fragrant Plum’ roses are gorgeous Grandiflora roses with large mauve or lavender double flowers. As its name suggests, this cultivar has a potent, fruity scent. The flowers emerge from deep red or magenta buds and may have a purple tinge to the edges of the petals.
Rosa ‘Fragrant Plum’ was introduced in approximately 1990. This fragrant perennial shrub grows up to 7 feet tall and around 4 feet wide. It thrives in hot conditions.
7) ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ Rose
Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ is one of my favorite fragrant roses. This captivating English rose cultivar was introduced in 1986 and is named after British garden designer Gertrude Jekyll.
This repeat-blooming shrub rose has bright pink double flowers with pale pink edges on the petals. Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ has a traditional rose fragrance with a heady, sweet scent. ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ roses grow best in Zones 4 to 8 and can be grown in large pots.
8) ‘Golden Celebration’ Rose
Rosa ‘Golden Celebration’ is another beautiful David Austin rose first introduced in 1992. ‘Golden Celebration’ roses are English shrub roses with large golden yellow double flowers with tinges of apricot. These enormous blooms produce a solid fruity fragrance with notes of strawberry, sweet wine, and tea.
‘Golden Celebration’ roses thrive in hot Zones 4 to 9 conditions. These repeat-blooming roses flower from late spring until fall and grow best in full sun or partial shade.
9) ‘Heritage’ Rose
‘Heritage’ roses are popular English shrub roses that were first introduced in 1984. Rosa ‘Heritage’ produces wonderful soft pink double flowers with up to 70 petals. ‘Heritage’ roses are prized for their myrrh-like scent that has notes of honey, fruit, and carnations.
These repeat-blooming roses bloom from late spring until fall. ‘Heritage’ roses thrive in cooler conditions in Zones 5 to 11. The woody stems of this shrub rose have very few thorns.
10) ‘Honey Perfume’ Rose
Rosa ‘Honey Perfume’ is an intoxicating Floribunda shrub rose with gorgeous apricot and yellow double flowers. These elegant, ruffled blooms produce an intense spicy scent. As the flowers age, they gradually turn white.
These compact roses grow up to 5 feet tall and approximately 3 feet wide. ‘Honey Perfume’ roses bloom from spring until fall and grow best in Zones 5 to 9. This cultivar has been specifically bred to be a more disease-resistant rose plant.
11) ‘Jubilee Celebration’ Rose
‘Jubilee Celebration’ roses are another knockout English shrub rose cultivar produced by David Austin in 2002. These beautiful roses have large coral-pink double flowers with hints of golden yellow underneath the petals. ‘Jubilee Celebration’ roses have a delicious fruity fragrance with strong hints of raspberry and lemon.
Rosa ‘Jubilee Celebration’ is a repeat-blooming rose cultivar that starts flowering in late spring. This gorgeous rose grows best in full sun in Zones 5 to 10.
12) ‘Just Joey’ Rose
Rosa ‘Just Joey’ is an award-winning hybrid tea rose that earned a prestigious All-America Rose Selection in 1994. ‘Just Joey’ roses have large apricot flowers with up to 40 ruffled petals. These gorgeous flowers produce a strong, sweet scent that has fruity notes.
‘Just Joey’ roses are miniature repeat-blooming shrub roses with dark green leaves. This cultivar grows best in Zones 7 to 10, and the blooms look their best in cooler conditions.
13) ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ Rose
Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ is an elegant English shrub rose first bred by David Austin in 2005. The fabulous orange and tangerine-cupped flowers emerge from dark red buds in late spring. ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ roses have a potent fruity scent with citrus, pear, and tea notes.
‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ roses are relatively compact shrubs that grow up to 4 feet high and about 3 feet wide. This cultivar thrives in Zones 5 to 9.
14) ‘Louise Odier’ Rose
‘Louise Odier’ roses are beautiful bourbon roses first bred in 1851. These exquisite roses have stunning bright pink double flowers that produce a strong, fruity fragrance. ‘Louise Odier’ rose flowers are cupped when they first emerge but gradually flatten out.
Rosa ‘Louise Odier’ is a vigorous shrub rose that grows up to 5 feet tall and approximately 4 feet wide. These shrubs have woody stems that are covered in lots of prickly thorns.
15) ‘Madame Isaac Pereire’ Rose
Rosa ‘Madame Isaac Pereire’ is a breathtaking climbing bourbon rose that was first bred in 1841. These heirloom roses have large fuchsia-pink double flowers that emit a rich, spicy fragrance. The outer petals curve backward, giving this rose a distinctive appearance.
‘Madame Isaac Pereire’ roses work best when trained to climb arches or trellises, creating a fragrant garden feature. These roses bloom during the summer and grow best in Zones 6 to 9.
16) ‘Mister Lincoln’ Rose
‘Mister Lincoln’ roses are alluring hybrid tea roses with large, velvety red flowers with high-centered petals. These richly colored flowers produce an intoxicating, sweet damask fragrance. Rosa ‘Mister Lincoln’ was first bred in 1964 and has won several awards, including an All-American Rose Selection in 1965.
Rosa ‘Mister Lincoln’ has dark red foliage that turns dark green and leathery as the plant ages. These stunning roses thrive in full sun in Zones 7 to 11.
17) ‘Munstead Wood’ Rose
‘Munstead Wood’ roses are another fragrant rose cultivar bred by renowned rose breeder David Austin. These beautiful English shrub roses have large, dark crimson double flowers. Rosa ‘Munstead Wood’ roses also produce a powerful, fruity scent with notes of blackberries, blueberries, and damsons.
Rosa ‘Munstead Wood’ is a compact shrub rose that grows up to 3 feet high and about 3 feet wide. These lovely roses are ideal for borders and containers in Zones 5 to 9.
18) ‘Papa Meilland’ Rose
Rosa ‘Papa Meilland’ is a beautiful hybrid tea rose with dark crimson flowers with velvety petals. The blooms emerge from black buds in the spring. ‘Papa Meilland’ roses also produce a heady, sweet old rose scent that lends this cultivar a traditional air.
‘Papa Meilland’ roses were first bred in 1963 and flower throughout the summer and fall. These roses have bright green glossy leaves and grow up to 4 feet tall.
19) ‘Pat Austin’ Rose
‘Pat Austin’ roses are English shrub roses with large copper-cupped flowers. The flowers have hints of coppery-yellow on the outer parts of the petals. These attractive blooms produce a strong tea-like scent with hints of warmth.
Rosa ‘Pat Austin’ was first introduced in 1995 by David Austin and named after his wife. These deciduous perennial shrubs thrive and have gracefully arching stems. ‘Pat Austin’ roses grow best in full sun in Zones 5 to 11.
20) ‘Peace’ Rose
Rosa ‘Peace’ is an elegant hybrid tea rose with large pale yellow double flowers with pink edges. The flowers bloom from spring until fall, producing a sweet, fruity scent. This repeat-blooming rose shrub was introduced in 1945 to celebrate the liberation of France during World War Two.
‘Peace’ roses also have attractive glossy leaves and tall, branching stems. These roses are ideal for Zones 5 to 9 garden borders and grow best in full sun.
21) ‘Princess Alexandra of Kent’ Rose
‘Princess Alexandra of Kent’ roses are glamorous English shrub roses with enormous bright pink double flowers. These deeply cupped flowers contain up to 130 petals. Rosa ‘Princess Alexandra of Kent’ has a tea-like fragrance that develops hints of lemon and blackcurrant as the flower ages.
Rosa ‘Princess Alexandra of Kent’ is a repeat-blooming rose that flowers from late spring until fall. These neat, rounded shrubs grow up to 4 feet high and about 4 feet wide.
22) ‘Scentimental’ Rose
‘Scentimental’ roses are striking Floribunda roses with burgundy double flowers decorated with white splashes. These repeat-blooming roses exude a wonderfully spicy scent. Although Rosa ‘Scentimental’ is heat-tolerant, it produces its best flowers in cooler conditions in Zones 6 to 10.
Rosa ‘Scentimental’ is a compact shrub rose that grows up to 5 feet tall and about 4 feet wide. These roses also have large green leaves with a semi-glossy appearance. ‘Scentimental’ roses bloom from late spring until fall.
23) ‘Scepter’d Isle’ Rose
Rosa ‘Scepter’d Isle’ is a gorgeous English shrub rose with clusters of light pink cup-shaped double flowers. These attractive blooms also have golden yellow central stamens deep within each cup. This David Austin rose emits a strong scent with warm notes of spice.
‘Scepter’d Isle’ roses are repeat-blooming plants that flower from late spring until fall. This striking cultivar grows up to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide and excels as a hedge rose.
24) ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ Rose
‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ roses are elegant climbing bourbon roses first grown in 1843. Rosa ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ has large, flat, pale pink double blooms with a wonderfully blousy appearance. The flowers also produce a strong, sweet tea-like scent.
Rosa ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ is a climbing rose that grows 18 feet tall. It grows best when trained up a fence or trellis. The woody stems have very few thorns.
25) ‘Tiffany’ Rose
‘Tiffany’ roses are exquisite hybrid tea roses with large double flowers. These high-centered flowers have a lovely rose-pink color with yellow and salmon-pink hints. Rosa ‘Tiffany’ flowers are in clusters of three to four blooms emitting a heady, fruity scent.
Rosa ‘Tiffany’ is a moderately-sized shrub rose that grows up to 4 feet high and approximately 3 feet wide. Known for its strong disease resistance, Rosa ‘Tiffany’ grows best in Zones 7 to 9.
Roses (Rosa spp.) are deciduous perennial shrubs or climbing vines from the rose family (Rosaceae). There are approximately 300 species of roses as well as thousands of cultivars.
Roses are divided into three main groups; modern roses, old garden roses, and wild or species roses. Roses are further divided into smaller groups, such as climbing roses, Floribunda roses, and Polyantha roses.
These beautiful perennials have single, double, or semi-double flowers with five petals. Rose flowers come in several gorgeous colors, including pink, red, yellow, and white. Roses also have pinnate leaves with toothed edges and woody stems protected by curved prickles.
Fragrant Roses FAQs:
What is the Strongest Scented Rose?
English roses and old garden roses are two types of roses that usually produce very strong scents. Some of the most fragrant cultivars include the Gertrude Jekyll rose, and Honey Perfume rose.
What Color Roses Smell the Best?
Generally, roses with darker flowers produce stronger fragrances than those with lighter flowers. Darker flowers release more oils, creating a stronger scent.
Can You Make Roses More Fragrant?
While several natural factors influence how strong roses are, you can also influence the fragrance of your roses. Water your roses regularly and position them in full sun to help them produce plenty of fragrant flowers.
Roses are beautiful flowers that have a fantastic range of scents. Roses with darker flowers or more petals allow more essential oils to evaporate, producing stronger fragrances. Some of the most fragrant roses include Fragrant Plum roses, Gertrude Jekyll roses, and Lady Emma Hamilton.
For more, see our in-depth guide on whether you’ll see roses bloom in their first year, common causes of yellowing rose leaves, how to grow roses from seed, the best types of native North American roses, the best types of edible roses, rose plant deer resistance, how to plant climbing roses, when to fertilize roses, and whether roses are toxic to dogs.
Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.