An Antique Rose is generally considered to be a rose that was introduced before 1867, when the modern Hybrid Tea Roses were introduced. Most Old Garden Rose collectors embrace any rose that is more than seventy-five years old or display characteristics of the Antique Rose. Some of those characteristics would include the wonderful fragrance that these roses offer, their ease of cultivation, and the beauty that they lend to the landscape. Many modern hybrids lack the great perfume scent that Antique Roses carry. Also, Antique Roses often make great specimen plants, holding their own in the landscape with little care. Antique Roses are known to have attractive, healthy foliage with little incident of disease throughout the year. The flowers of Antique Roses are more muted or subtle in color than those of most modern roses. We like to think that if they were an attractive woman they would flirt subtly, leaving more to your imagination, where a modern rose lays it on thick with their showy, rich colors. Should one choose to "get to know" an Old Rose better they would find that they have a lot to offer.
The hardest part of growing Antique Roses is the decision of which ones to select for your
garden. Your first priority is to determine the USDA hardiness zone that you live in before
making this decision. The zones indicated by the description of the rose in our online rose
catalog are provided as a guideline to help you select roses that will perform well in your
area. The next detail for selection would be size. Often customers visiting our nursery have
several roses in mind for an area find out that one rose will more than fill the area. No
doubt, you were drawn to them by their beauty and ease of cultivation, but their historic
background is just as interesting. Because of their beauty, fragrance and form they have been
indispensable in gardens for centuries. Whether you chose a bush, rambler, climber or a
smaller specimen you are sure to enjoy your Old Garden Rose.
Modern rose rustlers attest to the constitution of Antique Roses by "rustling" up roses on old
homesteads and in cemeteries that have been all but forgotten. Although they will withstand
neglect, they will flourish if planted and maintained properly. Locate your Antique Rose in
a sunny location that will receive six hours or more of direct sunlight each day. If you have
to choose between morning or afternoon sun, choose the morning location. There are shade
tolerant varieties, however even they require at least four hours of sunlight daily. Keep in
mind that shade tolerant does not indicate shade preferred, roses grow larger faster and
bloom more profusely when in a sunny location.
Begin by enriching your sight with organic material such as humus, peat or composted
manure. Never plant your Old Garden Rose in a mix entirely of these products. A good
ratio is 3 parts of garden sight soil to 1 part organic material thoroughly mixed into the
planting area. This will continue to insure proper drainage, which is essential to good root
development. Pay close attention that the bottom of the hole does not allow for air pockets
by being concave or convex in design, a flat bottom is best. Air pockets afford burrowing
insects a home and may "hollow out" even more during periods of drought causing problems
or even death to the rose. Of course, roses can be maintained in large pots if you desire.
When planting them in containers select a pot initially twice as large as the root ball and
fill it with a premium, well draining, potting mix.
We like to mulch around the base of our roses to insulate the roots from the extreme
temperatures of summer and winter. Several inches of mulch applied twice annually will help
to eliminate weeds, water stress and heat or cold stress.
Once established your Antique Rose will prove very drought tolerant. However, when
establishing your roses please water them deeply several times a week. After the first couple
weeks you may water them deeply every five to seven days or as the weather dictates. Of
course, it is always best to water during the morning hours.
One of the attributes of Antique Roses is their disease resistance. This does not mean that they
are completely disease free. During the fall and early spring, when we are experiencing heavy
fog, old roses may be affected by black spot and/or powdery mildew. They rarely become
completely debilitated by disease. They usually shed any infected leaves and continue to
grow. Should you choose to spray to keep all disease in check we suggest using wettable
sulphur or baking soda at the rate of 1 ounce of sulphur or baking soda to 1 gallon of water in
a hose end sprayer applied in the early morning. Neem oil products have proven themselves
to be very effective in retarding black spot and repelling insect pests. Please pay close
attention to label instructions when using oil based products, such as neem oil, as they may
burn the rose if applied improperly.
Another way to keep Old Garden Roses healthy and productive is by feeding and pruning
them. There are many commercial rose fertilizers to choose from on the market today. Many
fertilizers are systemic and help to repel insects while nourishing your rose. Always follow
package guidelines for fertlizer application rates. Pruning is they key to a nicely shaped and
vigorous rose bush. During early spring, usually mid to late February in the Southeast, prune
back approximately 1/3 of your rose bush. Throughout the growing season roses will
benefit from the removal of spent blossoms. This process encourages more blooming and
foliage growth. Fall, being late September in the South, marks the time for another good
pruning. Again, removing a considerable amount in the fall will encourage prolific spring
growth and blossoms.
Antique Roses are so very rewarding and sure to delight anyone that chooses to include them
in their landscape. Thank you for allowing us to share our roses with you and for sharing them
with others as well. Should you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact us.