2018 Roses of the Year

02/26/2018 | Ken Lain, mountain gardener Flowers, Landscaping, Plant of the Week, Press Release, Roses, Shrubs

2018 Mountain Rose of the Year Collection

by Lisa Watters-Lain, the mountain gardener

The mountains of Arizona are famous for our easy-care roses. Because of the dry air and alkaline soils we just grow a better, brighter, more fragrant rose without the disease and insect issues that plague gardens in California and the humid southern states. Every landscape and garden deserves at least one rose bush whether in the ground, raised beds, or in containers

Winners of the mountain roses for 2018 are those with fragrance, ease of care, long bloom cycle and fadeless colors. The roses described below are by no means the only roses you’ll find here at Watters Garden Center this year, but they are the winners. Although I do have personal favorites, roses are shown in alphabetic order so not to influence your own choice. Enjoy this years list of mountain best roses for 2018.

Chihuly (Bright yellow blushing to orange and finishing deep red) floribunda – Buds of pure yellow swirl open to reveal blushes of bright orange. As the flowers age, deep reds appear for the grand finalé. Deep green leaves and dark red new growth provide the perfect backdrop for the clusters of ever flashy flowers. Showy but well-behaved, this clean blooming machine will add sparkle to any spot in the landscape.

Coffee Bean (Smoky red-orange inside & shiny rust-orange outside) miniature – This caffeinated cutie percolates in the garden, popping up one shapely bud after another set of thick glossy green leaves. The well-formed flowers open to reveal a bright eye that lights up in the landscape.

Daddy’s Little Girl (Rich rose pink with a lighter reverse) miniature – is well-behaved in the garden yet tends to be a show-off. Her tidy, compact habit is a natural addition to gardens with limited space or a patio pot. Be prepared for a parade of plentiful plush-pink buds with just a pinch of cream on the petals reverse. Perfectly proportioned green leaves make her pretty as a picture. Consistently cute in all gardens.

Diamond Eyes (Velvet black-purple with a white eye zone) miniature – Mysteriously novel black-purple that alone draws the eye. But wait until you get a whiff of the strong clove spice perfume. That’s a killer combo that will seduce even the large rose lovers to try this little gem. Her sparkling white ‘eye’ lights up each velvety blossom, making the unique color illuminate against the background of glossy green leaves.

Dream Come True (Yellow blushed ruby-red ) grandiflora – this clean, vigorous bush pumps out loads of long-stemmed scrumptious yellow blooms edged in ruby red. Each eye-catching flower changes from yellow to an all ruby finish, giving this bush a multi-colored display that’s genuinely dreamy in every way.

Drop Dead Red (Dark red velvet) floribunda – This killer color is genuinely a stop them dead in their tracks kind of red that is certain to lure its owner to linger. And it is that color red to the very finish.

Firefighters (Dusky velvet red) hybrid tea – this intensely fragrant long stem rose in vibrant red is the epitome of the classic rose that comes to mind. You’ll love this vigorous bushy plant that provides armloads of buxom blossoms. Each plant sold Watters Garden Center contributes towards a fund to honor our brave heroes that have fallen in the line of duty.


Gourmet Popcorn (Crisp bright white) shrublet – profusions of fat buds and fragrant, fresh blooms pop open in large cascading clusters. Proven as a consistent performer that is clean and mountain hardy.

Hope for Humanity (Velvety deep saturated red ) shrub rose – Big sprays of blooms give loads of color, set against broad green leaves. Vigorous red flowers are a fitting reminder to honor the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Red Cross.

Lava Flow (Deep velvety red ) floribunda – Lavaglut, German for lava flow, erupts with large glowing clusters of deep velvety red flowers that continually flow from a blanket of glossy green leaves. This hardy bush takes the heat, covered in ruffled flowers atop a well-behaved upright plant.

Let Freedom Ring (Bright light red ) hybrid tea – Many think the pinnacle of a rose is a long stem red flower topped with scrumptious big buds. This striking trophy-stealer was lovingly created by WWII veteran and hybridizer, Ernest Earman of Virginia, and now available here in Arizona.


Love Song (Clear clean medium lavender) floribunda – Big, bold, beautiful blooms can nearly cover this sultry siren. Her lovely lavender flowers just seem to last and last without turning a lurid gray. Underneath all that beauty is a chubby plant clothed in vibrant green leaves. It’ll be love at first sight, and you’ll want to break out in song.

Marilyn Monroe (apricot washed with green that opens to pure creamy apricot) hybrid tea – you will love this shapely rose named to honor an American legend. The extraordinarily creamy color holds perfectly from the long pointed buds to the big buxom bloom. A gown of deep green leaves graces these long stem roses you just have to smell.



Miss Congeniality (White Edged in Pink) grandiflora – The camera loves her picture-perfect buds and flowers of everlasting pure white graced in pink. Her pleasant personality will be the center of attention in the garden and creates a warm and friendly atmosphere when displayed in a vase. Not only is she stunning in appearance, but she can defend herself from diseases as well.

Oranges ‘n’ Lemons (Brilliant orange striped yellow) shrub rose – Stripes of pure yellow splashed onto bright orange will stop even the most finicky rose buyer in his tracks. Mahogany red foliage grows all season, maturing to an intense green. This bush is so vigorous the fountainous habit that can be trained as a climber as well.


Outta the Blue (Magenta blended with yellow age to shades of lavender) shrub rose – Pictures cannot capture the spicy scent or the full array of colors this beauty offers. All on just one gorgeous green plant! She bears free flowing clusters of hardy roses that don’t stop all season long.

Purple Splash (Wine-purple speckled & striped with white) large climber – Set these splashy colors against the bright Granny-green foliage and you have a killer combo for any fence, wall or trellis. Vigorous, clean and free-flowering, it repeats blooms readily.


Purple Tiger (Novel purple & white stripes) floribunda – Not just every flower, but every petal is a varying masterpiece of amazing purple, lavender & white stripes, streaks, flecks, dots & dashes. Plus there’s a powerful perfume of citrus blossom and rose.

Sexy Rexy (Double Clear coral pink) floribunda – The most prolific producer of perfect pink blossoms you can place in a pot or raised bed. This sexy producer creates vigorous, rigorous leave with clamorous blooms in glamorous coral pinks. She’s just plain pretty.

Shockwave (Eye-searing hot yellow) floribunda – The flowers hold their searing yellow tones to the very end, dropping away from the well-behaved plant just in time to welcome the next round of bloom. Tidy enough to tuck into a landscape, lend an accent to a container or top a rose tree.

Smokin’ Hot (Fiery Orange Overlaid with Purple) hybrid tea -You can see the smoky purple overlay on the fiery orange unique to this rose alone. This rose isn’t all about flames and smoke; it’s an intense bouquet factory.

Take it Easy (Velvety dark red with a lighter pink reverse) shrub rose – You won’t have much work in the garden after planting this new rose. The healthy green foliage is the perfect background to showcase teaming flower clusters that follow. The plant’s healthy vigor and self-maintaining habit are other reasons you can Take It Easy this year!

Twilight Zone (Scrumptious deep velvet purple) grandiflora – Big fat buds open to extreme double flowers of deep velvet purple overlaid with a wisp of smoke. You will find the scents of clove and citrus fill the gardens. This years winner of Watters ‘Most Fragrant Rose Award’.


Watercolors Home Run (Yellow gold blushing in pink) shrub rose – Nearly always in color with its flowing gold clusters. Well behaved habit, profuse flower production that is naturally disease resistant is the perfect lineup in the garden this year. Enjoy the Seventh-inning stretch and let this rose be the MVP of your garden!

White Licorice (Lemon chiffon suffusing to white) floribunda – This color packs a powerful punch of unique fragrance in aromatic flavors of sweet licorice & lemon that makes a gardener tingle with delight. This bouquet producing plant has wonderfully formed buds that open into wavy wonders atop sturdy stems.

View all of the 2018 rose winners at Pinterest.com/WattersGardenCenter.

There you have it, the roses you’ll find mountain gardene rs talking about in 2018. With 700+ roses showing at Watters Garden Center this summer, the variety of fragrances and colors are bound to provide the right rose for every garden.

Feeding roses with Watters ‘Flower Power 54’ water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks produce HUGE blooms! Twice a week watering will keep your roses fully plumped and thriving.

Plant roses now and enjoy fresh roses the rest of the year.

2 Replies to “2018 Roses of the Year”

  1. I have some small own root roses in 1 gallon pots that I’ve been overwintering in an unheated greenhouse. They’ve handled the cold just fine. I’m wondering when to plant them in my rose bed here in NW Prescott (near Williamson Valley Road)?

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