A Dozen Wonderful Apricot Roses

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Does the color apricot bring to mind warm summer days, soft colors, and fuzzy textures? Abundant fresh fruit from the tree? Descriptive terms like light orange, soft pastel peach or pale sunset doesn’t really capture the warmth of the color. The American Rose Society (ARS) color classification uses apricot & apricot blend to cover a wide range of shades within this category, from the very pale apricot in ‘Apricot Nectar’, to a brilliant, nearly orange color in ‘Cathedral’. Yet the perennial favorite ‘Just Joey’, a rose that I would describe as a classic apricot colored rose (at least in our climate), is actually classified as an orange blend by the ARS.

Most of the rest of the world does not use this color category, and the roses on this list would  likely be classified as orange. Old rose varieties include reds, pinks, whites, some purple (mauves) and yellows, but not this color. If you look for the “meaning” of different colored roses, you’ll find pretty consistent terms for most rose colors, but none for apricot roses. Orange roses are said to indicate desire, enthusiasm and fascination, while a peach rose can signify either sympathy or gratitude. Whatever the meaning of the color of apricot, it is a great one, and if you don’t have some apricot colored roses in your garden now, you may want to add one now.

Name Type Color ARS Rating Year Introduced
Jean Kenneally Miniature Apricot blend 9.2 1984
Royal Sunset Large-Flowered Climber Apricot blend 8.9 1960
Buff Beauty Hybrid Musk Apricot blend 8.4 1939
Leander Shrub Apricot blend 8.4 1983
Gruss an Coburg Hybrid Tea Apricot blend 8.3 1927
Westerland Shrub Apricot blend 8.3 1969
Ambridge Rose Shrub Apricot blend 8.1 1992
Apricot Nectar Floribunda Apricot blend 8.1 1965
Autumn Sunset Shrub Apricot blend 8.1 1986
Loving Touch Miniature Apricot blend 8.1 1983
Apricot Drift Shrub Apricot blend 8.0 2010
Marilyn Monroe Hybrid Tea Apricot blend 8.0 2001

By Nanette Londeree, Master Rosarian
Photos from left: ‘Westerland’, ‘Marilyn Monroe’; photos by author
Updated December 2019

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