17 Beautiful Flowers That Look Like Roses

Many consider roses to be the most beautiful flowers in the world, with different colors representing love, peace, friendship, and even condolence. But, they can be tricky to grow. Especially, if you live in a consistently hot climate or one with severe winters.

But, that doesn’t mean you have to forego the idea of having beautiful, luxurious blooms in your garden. There are many flowers that look like roses. Yet, many are often much harder in less-than-temperate climates.

The following 17 examples make an equally grand statement with multi-layered petals and a rainbow of vibrant colors.

Types of Rose-like Flowers

Roses are assigned specific botanical designations based on growing habits. The primary three are tea roses, floribundas, and grandifloras. The question is, can you get this kind of performance from other flowers? Absolutely!

Tea Rose Types

Ranunculus, dahlia, and double-tulip flowers display lush and complex petal formations, as well as vivid color, as they rise from a single stem.

Floribunda Types

Peony, carnation, camellia, and gardenia varieties present bouquets of fragrant, colorful blooms from the tip of one stem.

Grandiflora Types

Rhododendrons and Cotton Rose Hibiscus do the same, repeating several times over the course of one growing season.

17 Flower Varieties That Look Like Roses

By the time you have finished reading this list, you’ll be completely enamored with not only flowering plants that satisfy the features listed above, but also those that thrive in extreme climates like succulents, and others that bear a remarkable resemblance to wild roses.

Ranunculus

1. Ranunculus (Ranunculus asiaticus)

The ranunculus ‘Persian Buttercup’ is an heirloom variety that produces blooms spanning 5” across, in a myriad of natural colors, on a 2 ft tall shrub.

  • Ideal Position: In hardiness zones 4-8, plant in full sun and well-draining soil and a 6.0-6.5 pH.
  • Care Requirements: Water deeply, yet infrequently, to prevent root rot and fungal/mildew issues. Fertilize with high phosphorus NPK. 
  • Difficulties: Ranunculus are prone to powdery mildew when grown in humid climates.
  • Toxicity: Contains a toxic oil called protoanemonin which can lead to blistering of the mouth and face of humans and pets.
Peonies

2. Peonies (Paeonis officinalis)

This beloved, rose-like flower presents soft, curvaceous petals and multi-layered blooms that grow 2 and 10” across on a 3 ft tall shrub.

  • Ideal Position: Peonies grow in hardiness zones 3-8, morning shade with afternoon sun and nutrient-rich, well-draining soil.
  • Care Requirements: A neutral to alkaline pH is preferred. Natural rainfall is sufficient, except during times of excess heat and drought.
  • Difficulties: Environmental stresses like infertile soil, a lack of light, and drought can lead to a lack of buds and blooms.
  • Toxicity: The ASPCA lists Peonies as toxic to pets, resulting in mouth inflammation and severe intestinal issues.
Carnations

3. Carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus)

Double Carnation varieties are often mistaken for hybrid garden roses. Scalloped petals spiral around clustered stamens and reach 2” across atop a 2 -3 ft tall stem, in zones 5-9.

  • Ideal Position: Full sun is best in cooler climates, while partial shade is preferred in warmer climates.
  • Care Requirements: Once buds are set, regular watering should be increased to support optimum flower formation and healthy foliage.
  • Difficulties: These top-heavy plants may need staking to prevent the bending and breaking of stems and the pest and disease infestations that follow.
  • Toxicity: Carnations can cause gastro-intestinal, if ingested, and dermatological symptoms.
Camellia

4. Camellia (Camellia Spp.)

Camellias are quintessential cottage flowers that bloom right through winter, in zones 7-9. Cupped petals slowly open to a delicate, geometric form that measures up to 7” in diameter.

  • Ideal Position: Tolerant of full sun, partial and even full shade will actually encourage more blooms.
  • Care Requirements: Water these regularly, prune just after flowering stops, and use a well-balanced fertilizer for acid-loving plants.
  • Difficulties: Camellias will begin to yellow and drop buds from a lack of nutrients if their soil pH is higher than 6.5.
  • Toxicity: All camellia varieties are considered non-toxic to humans and pets.
Dahlia

5. Dahlia (Dahlia Spp.)

Double dahlias are spectacular flowers that produce teardrop-shaped petals around a button of yellow stamens, in a variety of vibrant colors and sizes, in zones 8-11.

  • Ideal Position: Dahlias thrive in full sun, preferably in a wind-protected spot.
  • Care Requirements: Optimal blooming and growth require well-draining, loamy soil with a 6.6-7.0 pH and frequent, low-dosage watering.
  • Difficulties: If placed in a shaded spot, more plant energy will be focused toward seeking sunlight by way of taller, weaker growth.
  • Toxicity: These alluring plants may cause mild mouth and intestinal issues in dogs and cats.
Lisianthus

6. Lisianthus (Eustoma russellianum)

Lush layers of pleated petals make the Lisianthus an intriguing alternative to roses, as flowers tower above a 3 ft tall shrub. Especially in small garden spaces, in zones 8-10.

  • Ideal Position: These small-scale dazzlers prefer full sun and perform well in borders with complementary plantings.
  • Care Requirements: Prefers consistently moist, well-draining soil with a 6.5-7.0 pH and a low-nitrogen NPK.
  • Difficulties:  While Lisianthus favors warm climates, it sadly doesn’t do well in sandy, coastal soils that lack the capacity for sufficient moisture retention.
  • Toxicity: All Lisianthus varieties are considered non-toxic around pets and people.
Begonia

7. Begonia (Begonia Spp.)

Double begonias are doppelgangers for roses. With an almost identical flower structure, these will bloom for months, providing rich color in borders and pots.

  • Ideal Position: Position in full sun with morning/afternoon shade and well-draining, airy soil with a 5.2-6.0 pH.
  • Care Requirements: Consistently moist soil if preferred. Fertilize with a triple 10 NPK. Deadhead spent flowers for prolonged blooming.
  • Difficulties: Begonias are sensitive to overwatering and root rot, which results in bud drops and wilting leaves.
  • Toxicity: Begonias contain cucurbitacin B which can be highly toxic to people and pets if ingested.
Double impatiens

8. Double impatiens (Impatiens walleriana)

Double impatiens allow you the same grandeur and beauty in smaller growing spaces, in zones 2-11. Reaching a potential 3ft, in height and blooming from spring to autumn.

  • Ideal Position: Preferring dappled sunlight, impatiens are highly adaptable to most well-draining soil types with a 5.5 and 6.5 pH.
  • Care Requirements: These annuals perform best with weekly watering and a 10-10-10 fertilizer.
  • Difficulties: If overwatered, powdery mildew may appear. Watering at the soil level will keep foliage and flowers dry.
  • Toxicity: Impatiens are non-toxic but do have a bitter taste which can cause upset stomachs in pets.
 Double tulips

9. Double Tulips (Tulipa x)

Double tulips offer the seasonal luster of roses, in a menagerie of colors, that will come up year after year in zones 3-8.

  • Ideal Position: Full sun and different well-draining soil types with a 6.0-6.5 pH will encourage 18” in height.
  • Care Requirements: Minimal water is needed. Drip irrigation may be needed if grown in dry climates.
  • Difficulties: Tulips are prone to wilt in excessive heat. In warm zones, morning or afternoon shade is best.
  • Toxicity: Tulips contain tulipalin which can cause severe oral and intestinal issues, in pets and humans, if ingested.
Gardenia

10. Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides)

Gardenias are well-known for their strong, sweet scent and vintage rose-like appearance that covers 5 ft tall by 4 ft wide shrubs, in zones 8-11.

  • Ideal Position: Full sun can increase blooming. Yet, it can also scorch delicate leaves, so partial shade is ideal. As well as soil with a 5.0-6.5 pH.
  • Care Requirements: A humid environment and 1” of water per week are necessary for vibrant foliage and growth. 
  • Difficulties: A lack of light and inconsistent watering could lead to a trip aphid or nematode infestation.
  • Toxicity: Gardenias are considered non-toxic to people and pets.
Double Anemone

11. Double Anemone (Anemone coronaria)

At first glance, double anemones are indistinguishable from hybrid tea roses. Staying under 12” tall, they’re the perfect choice for adding that wow factor to small gardens in zones 7-10.

  • Ideal Position: In full sun or light shade, anemones prefer sandy soil with a pH of 5.6-7.5.
  • Care Requirements: Water 1-2 times weekly, at the soil level. Fertilize as new, spring growth emerges and again just after flowering.
  • Difficulties: Pests and mildew are common on stressed plants that are over and underwater.
  • Toxicity: Anemones are mildly toxic to people and pets, potentially causing intestinal issues.
Rhododendron

12. Rhododendron (Rhododendron catawbiense)

Rhododendrons and Azaleas are prized for their grandiflora blooming habits on shrubs that span 6 ft tall and wide.

Their colorful single-stem flowers can repeat several times in one season, offering a dramatic backdrop to your landscape as well as providing an excellent candidate for companion planting.

  • Ideal Position: Full to partial sun and evenly moist, acidic soil is preferred in zones 4-8.
  • Care Requirements: Water deeply, once a month, ensuring the root zone is moist down to 8”. Fertilizer at the beginning of spring and summer. 
  • Difficulties: Over-fertilization will result in excess foliage and a lack of blooms.
  • Toxicity: Rhododendrons contain grayanotoxins which can be dangerous for humans and pets.
Cotton Rose Hibiscus

13. Cotton Rose Hibiscus (Hibiscus Mutabilis)

This is a great, warm climate alternative to roses, with strikingly a similar lushness and drought-tolerant growing habit in zone 7-11 gardens.

  • Ideal Position: Full sun will encourage a maturity size of 6-10 ft tall and wide. Loamy, nutrient-rich soil with an alkaline pH, is preferred.
  • Care Requirements: Hibiscus grows best in consistently moist soil and then is fertilized with a low-phosphorus NPK.
  • Difficulties: Insufficient sunlight will cause a lack of blooms. Insufficient watering and fertilizing can lead to disease and pest infestations.
  • Toxicity: The cotton rose hibiscus is listed as non-toxic to people and pets.
Moss Rose

14. Moss Rose (Portulaca grandiflora)

While technically not a rose, this option presents luxurious blooms, is one of the most drought tolerant on this list, and is ideal as a xeriscape ground cover in zones 2-11.

  • Ideal Position: Thriving in full sun and heat, the moss rose is a prolific bloomer in well-draining soil with a 5.5-7.0 pH.
  • Care Requirements: Allow the top 2” of soil to dry out, then water thoroughly. Deadheading will encourage continuous blooming.
  • Difficulties: Root and stem rot and pest infestations are common with over-watering.
  • Toxicity: Calcium oxalate crystals within can be lethal to pets, if ingested.
Rose of Sharon

15. Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)

This second hibiscus variety, with its exquisite 5-petal structure, is a great choice for adding tropical elegance to gardens in colder zones 5-8.

  • Ideal Position: A sunny, protected spot with fertile, sandy, or clay soil that has a 5.5-7.5 pH.
  • Care Requirements: Keep the soil around young plants consistently moist. Water mature plants weekly and fertilize them with a 10-10-10 NPK.
  • Difficulties: If left to dry out, buds will drop and leaves will begin to wilt.
  • Toxicity: Unlike other hibiscus varieties, the rose of sharon can cause vomiting and other intestinal issues, if ingested by pets.
Japanese Flowering Cherry

16. Japanese Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata)

Looking for a tree that erupts with rose-like blossoms? On the Japanese Cherry, clusters of frilly, floribunda flowers line graceful, pendulous branches, in zones 4-9.

  • Ideal Position: Full sun and fertile, well-draining soil will encourage a mature height of 15-25 ft tall with healthy bud and foliage production.
  • Care Requirements: 1” of water per week is sufficient. Fertilize in late winter with a low-nitrogen NPK and prune only after flowering.
  • Difficulties: Browning and prematurely falling leaves are clear indicators of fungal infections caused by overwatering. 
  • Toxicity: Fallen leaves and bloom can be very toxic to pets.
Pink Mountain Rose

17. Pink Mountain Rose (Greenovia dodrantalis)

In dry, desert climates, the Pink Mountain Rose presents plump, spiraling leaves that form a perfect rosette, not unlike a hybrid tea rose.

  • Ideal Position: In full sun, rosettes close in an effort to retain moisture. Partial sun and gritty, well-draining soil with a 6.0-6.5 pH is preferred.
  • Care Requirements: Water deeply when the soil has mostly dried and fertilized with a succulent-specific NPK at half-strength.
  • Difficulties: Fairly free of problems, leaves may begin to brown if roots take on too much moisture.
  • Toxicity: This succulent is toxic and can be harmful to children and pets.

Plant Care for Rose-like Flowers

Such a wide variety of flowers that look like roses come with a range of unique care requirements and environmental preferences. 

Luckily, if you’d like to add a few of these to your garden, many of them have similar needs. Making which ones to grow together is an easy choice. 

For example, you can grow tall dahlias, double tulips, and peonies together with lower-growing double impatiens, begonias, and moss roses because they all prefer moist soil and at least 6 hours of sun, per day.

Most plants thrive in nutrient-rich soil. When supplemental fertilizer is needed, note that some need more nitrogen, while others require more phosphorus and potassium for maximum blooming.

To ensure that your plants absorb these nutrients efficiently, soil pH is critical and should be within each plant’s preferred range. This is typically between 5.0 and 8.0, depending on the variety.

If you have enjoyed this article, why not check out 20 Black Flowers for Natural Garden Elegance?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a flower that looks like a rose but has no thorns?

On a smaller scale, the double Lisianthus “Rosita” resembles a rose more closely than any other cultivar and is commonly called ‘the rose without thorns’.

Is a Ranunculus a Type of Rose?

‘Ranunculus’ is the scientific name for Buttercup flowers and while there is a hybrid garden rose named “Buttercup”, the two are not botanically related. Ranunculus have tissue-thin petals that grow in a very compact formation. Roses have thicker petals with a velvety texture that bloom from atop a tall, sometimes thorny, stem.

Citations

  • ASPCA – Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant – Peony
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Ben's horticultural interest grew when graduating from Hertfordshire University in 1997. Having contributed to numerous publications including Better Homes & Gardens, Garden Design Magazine, and The English Garden. He is also the author of Propagating Houseplants Made Easy.