See also: Complete List of Garden Roses
I chose eight. I always choose eight. I've seen a lot of roses over a lot of years. These are the ones I would plant if my life depended on their success. They are for the most part resoundingly disease resistant. They are not just tough. They are also beautiful.
Dr. Robert Basye's masterpiece, Belinda's Dream is stunning from bud through bloom. Belinda's Dream has excellent disease resistance. Outstanding heat tolerance. The flowers are large, to 5". It's not perfect: Belinda's Dream has a lot of petals and may ball in cool, damp climates.
A worthy rose to start our list. Learn more.
Highly disease resistant shrub rose developed by Dr. Griffin Buck (Iowa State University), Carefree Beauty is highly disease resistant and blooms from Spring through to frost. They say it gets to three feet. Don't believe it...I've seen it to six on an extremely old rose at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.
Extremely winter hardy. Learn more.
The first old rose on the list of disease resistant roses, Fru Dagmar Hastrup is also the first single form. A hybrid Rugosa rose discovered in 1914, Fru Dagmar Hastrup is an exceptional garden rose.
Extreme cold hardiness to Zone 3 and ridiculously healthy at all times. Learn more about Fru Dagmar Hastrup.
Many, many people are tired of Knock Out roses. I understand. Like many plants before (see Stella de Oro), Knock Out roses are a victim of their success. They will seemingly grow anywhere, in any condition.
My love of this rose is unabashed. I grow it in every garden I have (read here on why you might pay attention to this fact). Handles some shade...can get aggressive. Palest pink blooms cover New Dawn in Spring with a sprinkling of blooms the rest of season. Brutal thorns.
Learn more about New Dawn.
If one hangs around long enough, it's not terribly hard to find disease resistant pink roses. Yellow and apricot and such are more difficult. Perle d'Or handles heat exceptionally well, and with this comes a requisite for good air circulation.
Perhaps the most beautiful of all the single form roses, Rosa gallica Complicata is an old rose dating back to before the 19th century.
Very strong grower that blooms once per season...bloom period can last to six weeks.
Learn more about Rosa gallica Complicata.
I had to include a rose native to America in this list: Rosa palustris, common name swamp rose, is native to the eastern United States.
When I evaluate roses, I look at the leaves. All of the roses on this list exhibit healthy and attractive leaves, including Rosa palustris.
Learn more about swamp rose.