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What’s Blooming in Paradise: Louis Philippe China Antique Rose

By Staff | Feb 11, 2015

First impression: Dramatic, petite, fairy-tale cherry red and cameo white-kissed flowers in a nosegay to form many blossoms. Small green leaves are an attractive backdrop to the romantic, soft and peony-like petals. I notice the lovely, light-green stems adorned with thorns everywhere. I can’t help but detect whiffs of eye-closing fragrance drifting in the air, attracting all kinds of pollinators. The yin and yang of beauty with a price – the rose, you can see this awe-inspiring bloom at the Botanical Gardens of the Sanibel Moorings.

Upon further investigation: Roses? I had always had trouble making my roses last from season to season here in our paradise garden. I am not even close to being a rosarian, but I can share with you a few tips I picked up from fellow horticulturist, Debbie Hughes. Start with the antique varieties that are on their own rootstock. Antique roses are garden roses that date back to the 19th and 20th century. Most have lived happily without a lot of care in abandoned homes and cemeteries. They seem to flourish even with neglect. Three varieties to try out are Noisette, China, and Tea.

Our star is a tall shrub classified as an antique China rose. This title denotes a rose plant that has the genetic capacity to live for 100 years. Wow, they are also considered one of the heartiest roses in the south and bloom almost year round.

I always recommend grouping roses with other plants; this is a great way to hide their occasional dormant period of not looking so good. I have found the best time to trim up our beauty is during February. I routinely shape and corralled the limbs because I like to create its personality to fit their specific arbor or obelisk in the garden. Don’t forget those gloves; otherwise you will get snagged by the thorns. Fertilize lightly in the fall with a slow release, coated fertilizer. Organic matter will decrease nematodes; I give them all my used coffee grounds. Best flowering when planted in an area that will get 6-8 hours of sunlight. You will appreciate this specific rose’s easy nature and lack of pests and disease. It is a non-native species who, according to fossil evidence, is a mere 35 million years old. Garden cultivation of roses began some 5,000 years ago, somewhere in China; Europe started importing them around the eighteenth century. Our variety Louis Philippe was hybridized by a Texas statesman who collected this rose during his 1834 stint as minister to France and planted it at his home in Lynchburg, Virginia. Days-gone-by people treated roses as treasured objects and even bartered with them as money. Nowadays we are blessed with multitudes of roses to choose from, so we really should make the time to plant and adore them.


* Multiple blooms

* Likes filtered sun

* Easy to maintain/prune

* This variety does well in our plant zone

* Might take up reading Shakespeare

* Pollinator attractor

* Is great for cottage look in a garden

* Great essence for potpourris

* Must have for inspirational prose

* Cold tolerant

* Non-invasive


* Be careful with thorns

* Fast grower and bloomer

* Your garden friends will be envious

* Pollinator attractor

* Non-native

Conclusion: Ooohh la la lip-kissed red blooms bursting, beautiful and intoxicatinglynever ending, in a fairy-tale-like setting. Ahhh – Follow those sprouting of odes to our garden in paradise.

Don’t wanna miss this bloomer!