English roses are some of the most fragrant blossoms available, and they’re now seeing a surge in popularity. Their double blossoms are a cross between old-fashioned roses and modern ones, bringing back the sweet fragrance along with new, lush colors.
English roses have a better habit than many of the older types and fit in among perennials, often becoming the star of the garden. You can find English roses in a variety of colors, from traditional soft pinks and whites to vibrant corals, oranges, and yellows. Petal counts of these roses are substantial–some of the largest you'll find. Many of the English roses also rebloom.
English Rose Care Must-Knows
Along with being prolific bloomers, English roses are fairly low maintenance. They perform best in full sun. This produces the largest and biggest number of blossoms while preventing any foliar diseases. However, English roses do well in part sun, particularly in warmer climates where sheltered afternoon sun keeps them cool during the heat of the day and also helps create the most intense fragrance.
English roses require well-drained soil to thrive. Because some types rebloom and grow vigorously, make sure to amend the soil with rich, well-aged compost and add fertilizer according to package directions.
Pruning English Roses
English roses benefit from regular pruning to keep them looking their best while encouraging healthy flowers. Prune in late winter, just before new growth emerges. A general rule is to prune back your rose back by about one-third of the total height to maintain its current size and shape. You can prune more or less depending on how large you want your shrub to grow. Uneven soil moisture and drought encourages fungal diseases, so remove any dead or dying branches. Pruning also helps with air circulation around your plant, which can prevent powdery mildew and black spot fungus. You can also prune after the initial wave of blossoms to help hasten along a second set of flowers.
More Varieties of English Rose
'Gertrude Jekyll' rose
Rosa 'Gertrude Jekyll' offers rich magenta blooms that unfold from fringed buds on an upright, vigorous plant. The flower fragrance is a rich antique rose perfume. Plants can be maintained as tall shrubs or encouraged to climb to 10 feet. Otherwise, it grows to 5-6 feet tall. This reliable variety is hardy in Zones 5-9.
'Graham Thomas' rose
This variety of Rosa bears warm peachy-yellow blooms that appear in clusters and have the enticing scent of antique roses and a hint of violets. This vigorous variety grows to 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide as a pruned shrub rose or 12 feet tall as a climber. Zones 4-9
Rosa 'Heritage' features huge, pale pink blooms that possess a sweet combination of fruit, honey, and carnation. They appear continuously through the season on the rounded, shrubby plant. It grows to 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide as a shrub or to 7 feet if allowed to climb. Zones 5-9
'Mary Rose' rose
This particular rose is an early bloomer that produces full, ruffled double flowers in a sweet pink permeated with an antique rose, honey, and almond fragrance. The plant forms a dense shrub that grows 4 feet tall and wide. Zones 4-9
'Mary Magdalene' rose
Rosa 'Mary Magdalene' bears apricot-pink petals around a central button in a flower style called a rosette. The double blooms have a sweet tea-rose scent. This variety grows to 3 feet tall and wide. Zones 5-9
'Jean Giono' rose
This Rosa selection is a French-bred variety that produces full, double blooms packed with spice-scented golden-yellow petals with tangerine centers. The foliage is a shiny dark green. The plants grow 4-5 feet tall and are hardy to Zone 5, with winter protection.
'The Dark Lady' rose
Rosa 'The Dark Lady' bears large, crinkled blooms that blend shades of red and violet and unfurl on a plant that spreads slightly and grows to 4 feet tall and wide. Zones 5-9
'St. Swithun' rose
This variety of Rosa bears bowl-shape, frilled blooms in clear pink, redolent of myrrh, that appear on a vigorous plant with climbing tendencies. The canes can be pruned to maintain a medium shrub rose shape or encouraged to climb to 8 feet. The plant is covered with disease-resistant foliage and grows 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Zones 5-9
Rosa 'Othello' features fully double, dusky crimson flowers that repeat throughout the summer and contrast with the dark green foliage. They have a strong, antique rose fragrance. This variety is thorny and very hardy. It grows to 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Zones 5-9
'The Prince' rose
Rosa 'The Prince' produces cupped rosettes of deep crimson that darken to a mysterious shade of dusky purple. They possess a strong antique rose fragrance. The plant is a good repeat bloomer and compact, reaching 2-1/2 feet tall and wide. Zones 5-9