Rose Variety Iceberg

By David Marks
Iceberg is often claimed to be the most planted rose in the world. Without going round the world and counting every rose it’s impossible to say for certain but I personally believe the claim to be true.

It’s not like some of the heavy flowered roses you now see as recentintroductions but it has a beauty when in full flower that others still cannotmatch.

Early to come into flower, late to stop flowering and an incredibly strong growing rose.


The Iceberg rose was bred
by Kordes in 1958. 

Iceberg rose flower

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Iceberg rose flower

It has won many awards, some of which are shown below:

Royal National Rose Society Gold Medal 1958.
World Favourite Rose 1983.
RHS Award of Garden Merit 1993


By all standards Iceberg is a very beautiful rose bush. Under most conditions it grows to somewhere between 1.2m (4ft) and 1.5m (4ft 9in) high with an average spread of 90cm (3ft). It has a slightly arching form with slender stems. Rose flowers are mostly produced in clusters although you may find the occasional single stemmed rose. 

Iceberg does very well in the UK climate and in warmer climates it can growsignificantly larger than mentioned above.

The flowers are average size for a floribunda, about 5cm / 2in wide. Colour of the flowers is purest white often with a pink tinge at the edges. They have a very slight scent.

As the flower buds develop they have the pointed appearance of a Hybrid Tea rose but when fully opened the flowers flatten out. Iceberg is repeat flowering from mid June through to mid October and produces a larger than normal amount of flowers

The mature foliage is a light green and glossy. Some new foliage is initially a light burgundy colour turning to green after a week or so.


Iceberg is, in most respects. a healthy and quick growing rose. However, black spot is a serious problem for this variety of rose.
It can survive  a large amount of neglect, far more so than most other varieties.


Prune an Iceberg rose as follows:

  • Remove all stems which show any signs of disease or damage. Cut them back to ground level or back to a main stem.
  • Remaining stems should then be pruned back to 30cm / 1 ft from ground level. This will allow you to get a good view of the structure of the rose bush.
  • Now prune the rose bush so that it has five or six stems arranged equally apart roughly in a circle from the centre of the plant. These stems should ideally be growing out from the centre of the bush.
  • Compromise may be required but the idea is to keep the centre of the rose bush open and have the branches growing outwards. This is to allow air circulation to the centre of the plant and avoid infections.
  • When selecting stems, make sure that you remove stems which are touching or nearly touching another stem. Where stems are touching, they will rub off the outer bark and allow infections to enter.
  • Green stems are healthier than browner stems so remove the browner stems and leave the green stems.
  • When selecting the stems to remain, don’t leave spindly stems. You are looking to have five or six stems which are at least the thickness of a pencil, hopefully thicker.

Floribunda rose before pruning
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Floribunda rose before pruning

Floribunda rose after pruning
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Floribunda rose after pruning


Bought online from Crocuson 24 January 2020 with another rose at a cost of £34.97 including postage andpacking (so £17.49 per rose). This price included a seasonal sale discount of£10.

It was delivered with the other rose on 30 January 2020, extremely quick delivery time. The rose was supplied as a containerised plant. A containerised plant is one which has been dug up previously and then placed in a pot with compost.

Ideally they should be planted as soon as possible however, if the weather is not good, they will do fine in the container for a couple of months (keep watered).

Rose variety Iceberg ready for planting
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A containerised Iceberg rose ready for planting

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The plan is to plant this rose in our rose bed during February 2020, we will update you below throughout the life of this rose. 


4th April 2020
Sprayed with Roseclear. Looks to be establishing the bestof all the roses in the rose bed. Surrounding ground covered in cardboard andmulched with very well composted wood chip. Watered twice after planting becauseof the unusually dry weather.

1st June 2020
Sprayed with Roseclear.

15th June 2020
First full flower produced.

10th July 2020
Some small signs of blackspot so sprayed again with Roseclear.

18th July 2020
First flush of flowers is in its last stages however there are still a few blooms on this Iceberg rose. The first flush of flowers lasted just over a month which a very respectable result.

4th August 2020
The leaves are showing more signs of black spot compared to all the other varieties in our rose trial, rather disappointing. Flower production has picked up slightly but most of them are drooping slightly, not as noticeable as the variety
Darcey Bussell but more so than most.

23rd August 2020
The second flush of flowers is still in progress with a very large number of flowers being produced. Although the stems droop slightly more than some other roses the overall impression is of a mass of beautiful white flowers. Black spot still proving to be a problem.

03 September 2020
Black spot has taken hold of our Iceberg rose to such a degree that we will remove this rose soon. It poses a risk to nearby roses next year and despite frequent spraying with Roseclear it has now lost well over 50% of its leaves.

In its time this was a good rose variety but poor resistance to blackspot let it down badly. Not a variety we would recommend.


I will only report for this year where the results are significantly different from the previous year.

1st August 2021
Much to my surprise, hardly any blackspot is present this year. One of the nearby roses, Darcey Bussell is significantly affected but this has not spread to the Iceberg rose. Iceberg has won a reprieve, we had comsidered digging it up but so so far this season it has done extremely well.


HEIGHT: 1.2m (4ft) and 1.5m (4ft 9in)

SPREAD: 90cm (3ft)

ROSE TYPE: Floribunda, repeat flowers in clusters over the summer

FLOWER COLOUR: White often tinged pink at the edges as itages


LEAVES: Light green, glossy

THORNS: Average


USDA ZONES: 8b to 4b

DISEASE RESISTANCE: Good, but black spot ican be a problem

GROWING CONDITIONS: Full or partial sunlight (four hours ormore sun)

SOIL CONDITIONS: Almost all soil conditions except dry or water-logged soils

CONTAINER GROWING: Only suited to very large containers.

BREEDER: Kordes, 1958

AWARDS: Many awards including an RHS AGM


Click here for more in depth reviews of our recommended rose varieties.