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Plant Collections

Species Rose Collection

With more than 100 different species and varieties of roses the collection at Melbourne Gardens always has something to offer. Come in spring to see species roses from the northern hemisphere and cultivars bred both here in Australia and overseas in flower. In autumn delight in the changing colour of the foliage and rose hips. In winter admire the varied forms of the rose.

The collection is laid out in a parterre style and if you stand in one of the two main axis you get wonderful views to the city of Melbourne.

Best Viewed

  • November, December


Any of the roses seen growing in the collection are suitable for Melbourne.

Full list of Roses

For a full list of Roses contained within the collection and detailed descriptions please visit

Plant Census

Find out what plants grow at Melbourne Gardens. 

Key Plants

Rosa xanthina

Wild shrub rose with single yellow flowers in spring. An upright bush to 2.5 m.

Rosa x odorata 'Mutabilis'

Plant for its endless flowers and wonderfully healthy foliage. Height to 2 m, ideal informal hedge.

Rosa rugosa 'Roseraie de l'Hay'

Wonderful foliage and wine purple flowers with strong scent. Ideal for hedging or planting in clusters. Height 1.6 m.

Rosa roxburghii Chestnut Rose

Interesting bark as the rose matures. Wonderful pink double flowers and pineapple shaped hips.

Rosa sericea subsp. omeiensis 'Atrosanguinea'

Grow it for the name! and the wonderful translucent red thorns in spring. Single white flowers.

Curator Notes

  1. Species roses should be pruned differently to modern and old fashioned roses. Avoid shortening the canes or creating a vase shape, instead allow the plant to develop their more natural shrubby form. On a yearly rotation remove 1/4 of the old growth from the base and begin pruning two years after planting. Once flowering has finished leave the spent blooms to allow the hips to develop, a feature in summer and autumn.
  2. When selecting roses for your garden be sure to plant varieties that are less susceptible to black spot or disease, reducing the need for spraying in the home garden.
  3. Fertilise in the spring as the new growth is developing and after frosts have passed. A second application may be necessary in late summer. Use an organic fertiliser. Mulch around roses to a depth of 6–8 cm.


Roses have long been represented in Melbourne Gardens. The current collection, planted in the parterre style, was established in 1999. The collection was previously located at C Gate Lawn from the late 1970s.

Please note: The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria takes no responsibility for content published on any of the external websites that are referenced on this page.