Iceberg rose bushes are gorgeous, popular, and easy to recognize by their stunning clusters of white flowers and the lovely fragrance of the flowers. These garden roses are easy to care for, do well in many different climates, and are known for their vigorous growth.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the characteristics and history of the Iceberg rose, as well as its different varieties. We’ll also share the best practices for growing these roses in your own garden.
History of the Iceberg Rose Bush
Introduced to the world in 1958, the floribunda Iceberg rose was cultivated and hybridized by Reimer Kordes of Germany. It was created as a cross of the ‘Robin Hood’ and ‘Virgo’ roses. Officially titled the Rosa ‘KORbin’, this lovely cultivar also goes by Fée des Neiges and Schneewittchen.
Climbing Icebergs were introduced in 1968, first in the United Kingdom. They are remarkably similar in look and fragrance to standard floribunda Iceberg roses and make beautiful additions to pergolas, trellises, and fences.
In 2002, Kordes Roses introduced a new hybrid tea version of the Iceberg rose. Although much milder in scent, it’s popular among florists and has the same bright, white-colored blooms as the original Iceberg rose shrubs.
Characteristics of Iceberg Roses
The Iceberg rose shrub can grow up to 4 feet high and 3 feet wide. Its leaves are small, glossy, and bright light green. It’s exceptionally disease-resistant and a repeat bloomer.
The roses are bright white flowers that grow in clusters on stems that can have up to seven roses per stem. Each flower has at least 25 to 30 petals and make excellent cut flowers. The blooms have a scent like fruit and honey.
Varieties of Iceberg Roses
As well as being available in both bush and climbing varieties, Iceberg roses can also be obtained in several different colors. What they all have in common is their exceptional hardiness and disease tolerance.
Blushing Pink Iceberg Roses
As the name suggests, this variety of Iceberg has a light pink tint and looks like its petals have been dipped in watercolor paint. Its semi-double flowers can bloom in white when grown in warmer temperatures and tend more to pink in cooler spaces.
Brilliant Pink Iceberg Roses
These beauties are similar to blushing pink Iceberg roses but have a more saturated and creamy coloration. Like all Iceberg varieties, they bloom continually in season. Their scent is comprised of honey-like top notes.
Burgundy Iceberg Roses
Burgundy Icebergs are the deepest and most glorious shade of brilliant pink, culminating in a dark red or purple.
These lovely flowers show from late spring until late autumn and sometimes even into early winter. Their fragrance is lighter than that of their brilliant white counterparts, but what they lack in perfume, they make up for in looks.
Golden Iceberg Roses
Light lemony-yellow in color, fading to soft white edges, this stunning species is an excellent addition to any garden or landscape. They are just as hardy as other types of Icebergs and bloom continually throughout the flowering season.
How to Grow and Care for Iceberg Roses
Whether you’re an amateur gardener or an expert extraordinaire, growing Iceberg roses is easy and rewarding. They can be grown both in the garden and in containers.
When to Plant
It is best to plant Icebergs in the early spring, after last frosts, or in early to mid-fall, a few weeks before first frosts. Either way, they need time to establish their roots and settle, which they cannot do during cold, dormant months.
How to Plant
By now, you know that selecting a sunny spot for your Iceberg roses is tantamount to successfully cultivating them in your garden. There is some preparation involved in transplanting them from wrapping materials, pots, or other beds.
The soil you intend to plant them in should be of good quality (preferably with a pH level between 6.5 and 7) and loosened to break up compaction. Doing this enables Iceberg roses to root more quickly and efficiently than if they need to push through solid soil.
Soil can be tilled using a spade. You should dig a deep hole, at least as deep as the roots of the rose bush. The soil removed from the hole can be mixed with compost and bone meal before returning it to the ground. Form a mound in the bottom of the rose bush hole before gently placing the plant. Then, fill in the sides around the rose bush firmly, but not too much so.
Water your roses thoroughly.
Growing Roses in the Garden
These gorgeous plants do best when they are planted in beds that receive a minimum of six hours of sunlight per day. They need to be planted in fertile, well-draining soil that is kept moist but never drenched. Keeping a bit of distance between rose bushes allows for air circulation and prevents the spread of diseases.
In the winter months, especially in cooler regions, Iceberg rose bushes can be protected from the cold by layer their bases with mulch or a combination of loamy soil and compost.
This protective layer should be removed in the early spring or as soon as the first signs of new growth and buds appear.
Iceberg roses should be treated to a balanced fertilizer twice per season. The first application can occur in the early spring, and the second once the bushes have started blooming. When fertilizing rose bushes, always make sure you follow the product instructions closely or ask someone at your nursery or garden center for guidance.
Growing Roses in Pots and Containers
Iceberg roses do well in pots and look stunning on sunny balconies and verandas. This is ideal for rose lovers who do not have generous garden spaces or fertile soil.
The first step to successfully growing container roses is to make sure you have a broad and deep pot. Roses need lots of room for their roots, so sufficient depth is vital. Proper drainage is equally important, so make sure your pots have holes in the bottom and add a layer of gravel or small stones to assist with even drainage.
Like garden roses, container Icebergs need at least six hours of sun per day. You can likely get away with as little as four hours, but this may inhibit their growth.
In containers, Iceberg roses can be grown as shrubs or as climbers. They don’t require excessive amounts of water but check the soil regularly to make sure the soil stays moist. When selecting pots, choose ones that are lighter in color. Darker pots absorb heat which can stress a rose’s root system.
As with roses grown in bed, make sure to keep some space between container roses so that they do not crowd one another or infect one another should one of your plants contract a disease.
Iceberg Rose Bush Diseases
Icebergs are most at risk of contracting fungicidal diseases like black spot and powdery mildew. However, these diseases can be kept at bay with a combination of proper care and fungicidal treatments.
Sufficient air circulation, sunlight, sufficient space between bushes, and proper pruning practices discourage the spread of rose diseases. If you notice fungal infections, remove and destroy the infected parts of the plant as a matter of urgency.
Pruning Iceberg Roses
Like most rose varieties, Icebergs should be pruned in the later winter or early spring when new growth has started to show, and they are exiting dormancy. There are several reasons for pruning, including overall plant health, shaping, and inviting reinvigorated growth.
Before you commence with pruning, ensure your shears are clean and sterilized to avoid infecting your rose bushes with any diseases or fungi.
Prune from the inside out, getting rid of weak, diseased, tangled, or dead canes until you have cut the bush back by roughly one-third. This should allow your Iceberg roses to flourish.
During blooming season, Iceberg roses should be regularly deadheaded to make room for new blooms.
If your rose bushes are shaped for landscaping purposes, you may need to prune them more regularly.
Companion Plants for Iceberg Roses
These roses pair well with companion plants like lavender, dianthus, and catmint. Pale green, purple, and silvery colors accentuate the beautiful color of Icebergs. Other benefits of companion plants include deterring certain pests and attracting pollinators like bees.
Creating Bouquets and Decorating with Iceberg Roses
With their stunning color, these roses look amazing as cut flowers on their own in an elegant vase or as part of a bouquet. Smaller flowers like bouvardia and baby’s breath complement Iceberg roses well, but they also look incredible when paired with the bold hues of irises and the lilies.
You can also pair white Icebergs with varieties of deeply colored roses like hybrid teas. For textured looks, consider decorating with a combination of Iceberg roses, succulents, and penny gum.
Iceberg roses, particularly the white varieties, have long been associated with purity, innocence, sympathy, and religion. For this reason, they are great accompaniments to festivals and religious celebrations, as well as weddings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do Iceberg roses bloom all summer?
A: Yes, Iceberg roses are prolific bloomers, and with proper care, will flower all season long, from spring to early winter.
Q: How often should Iceberg roses be watered?
A: This depends on several factors, like temperature and soil density, but as a general rule of thumb, roses should be watered two to three times a week.
Q: What temperatures are best for Iceberg roses?
A: Iceberg roses prefer daytime temperatures of between 64 degrees F and 75 degrees F and nighttime temperatures of 50 degrees F. They are, however, incredibly tough plants and can withstand both hot and cold temperatures in moderation.
Where to Buy an Iceberg Rose Shrub
Rose shrubs can be purchased from Nature Hills.
Where to Buy Iceberg Rose Bouquets
Where to Buy Gardening Supplies
Wrapping Up the Iceberg Rose
The delicate flowers of Iceberg rose belie their hardy natures. They’re some of the easiest roses to grow, making them a dream for beginner rose-growers or busy, seasoned gardeners. Because the Iceberg can be grown in three different forms, it has more versatility in terms of how it’s showcased in your garden. It’s easy to see why they’re loved throughout the rose gardening world.
Do you grow the stunning Iceberg rose in your garden? Is it the floribunda, the hybrid tea, or the climbing version? Tell us all about your experiences with this rose in our comments section below! To learn about other varieties of roses, click here for our rose blog posts.