Translated into English, Centifolia denote “hundred petaled. In fact, all centifolia roses are full whose petals are packed tightly. As far as the size of the flowers is concerned, they vary from small pompoms measuring 1 inch (2.5 cm) across each to large flowers measuring about 4 inches (10.2 cm) across each.
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A centifolia rose measuring about 3 inches (7.6 cm) across is considered to be an average. Earlier, centifolia roses were commonly known as “cabbage roses”. Centifolia roses have a propensity to be remarkably cold hardy and they are capable of resisting diseases as well as pests. When grown in the form of shrubs, usually their form is loose as well as open.
However, often they are compact and the shrubs do not grow beyond a height of 3 feet (0.9 meters). The spread of the shrubs is also similar. Like albas, centifolias also bloom only once in a season, usually in the beginning of summer.
During their blooming season, centifolias fill the gardens with their sweet fragrance. Findings by plant cytologists, who studied the R. centifolias chromosomes, in recent times, have proved beyond doubt that the centifolias are a complex hybrid and not a true species, as people believed earlier.
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It seems that centifolias have their ancestry in R. gallica, R. moschata, R. phoenicia, R. damascene and R. canina. The late Dr C. V. Hurst announced that centifolias were among the youngest rose groups that were developed 300 years back in Holland.
This is contrary to the belief, which has its base on references to the 'hundred-petaled roses' dated back to 300 BC, that this rose group is among the oldest. Centifolias roses, when provided with support, can be managed without much difficulty.
When the weather condition is good, these roses are rewarding as they bear extremely beautiful, wonderfully perfumed and flowers whose appearance is like cabbage. The foliage of centifolias is coarse and has a darkish green color. However, the canes of this group of roses are very thorny.
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'Cabbage Rose', also known as R. centifolia, bears very double blooms having a clear pink hue. The flowers of this rose are heavily fragrant. In fact, this variety of rose that is composed of several petals and have a globular form have often been portrayed in the painting of old European masters.
Each flower of 'Cabbage Rose' measures about 3 inches across and are borne on long stems. The flowers may appear singly or even in clusters. The flowers create a stunning show in summer, but they do not repeat bloom.
The foliage of this rose is gray-green and coarse. The canes produce abundant of thorns. 'Cabbage Rose' has an arching and lax habit and their size is moderate, which makes them effective as a garden shrub. Moreover, this rose is exceptionally hardy.
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'Centifolia Variegata' possess the ability to endure heat as well as humidity that prevails in the south-eastern during the summers. Similar to nearly all centifolia roses, this cultivar has a somewhat open and rangy habit.
'Centifolia Variegata' rose is ideally suited for growing in the form of a pillar rose. Alternatively, the plant can be trained to grow along a low wall or a horizontal fence.
This rose bears large, heavily scented flowers that open with a creamy white hue along with pink stripes. As the flowers mature, the color fades to white with lilac hued stripes.
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When the flowers of 'Fantin-Latour' open, initially they have a pale blush pink and are cup shaped. However, as the flowers mature, they become flattened. Each flower of this centifolia cultivar measures about 2 inches to 3 inches across and is packed with as many as 200 petals, which give them the characteristic appearance of centifolia roses.
While the blooming period of 'Fantin-Latour' is relatively short and they do not repeat bloom, the excellence of the flowers actually makes up for their brief flowering season. The flowers have a very subtle fragrance.
The leaves of this rose have a dark green color and the canes are almost without thorns - very smooth. The plants of 'Fantin-Latour' produce arching canes that grow up to a height of 5 feet and they do not spread much.
This rose does well when grown in garden beds or borders where their flower display is really amazing during the latter part of spring. 'Fantin-Latour' is an exceptionally hardy rose. On the other hand, its ability to resist diseases is just average.
Introduced - 1800
'Petite de Hollande' bears rose pink double blooms. The flowers appear in clusters and each flower of this cultivar measures about 1 ½ inches in diameter. When the flowers are fully open, they have a cupped shape revealing the darker centers.
The flowers have a very sweet fragrance. Keeping in view the flowers' dainty scale, the leaves are also diminutive. In addition, the leaves are glossy and coarsely toothed. The plants of 'Petite de Hollande' grow at a moderate rate.
They have a bushy habit and are compact. 'Petite de Hollande' rose is well suited for growing in small gardens as well as containers. In addition, they can also be trained to grow on fences and trellises. The plant is hardy as well as resistant to rose diseases.
Introduced - 1789
'Rose de Meaux' rose bears very small flowers whose color varies from medium pink to pale rose. The blooms of this cultivar are pompom type double flowers. The plants are in bloom in summer and do not repeat bloom.
Each flower of 'Rose De Meaux' rose measures about 1 ½ inches across each and with frilly and fragrant petals. The leaves of this rose are also small, in tune with the general size of the plant. The canes produce plentiful straight thorns.
'Rose de Meaux' plants have a bushy, upright and compact habit. This rose is suitable for growing in small gardens. Alternatively, you may tuck the plans into a small space. This rose is also an excellent selection for growing in containers.
However, it is important to note that this rose requires rich soil and can be rather temperamental. This rose is susceptible to black spot.
Introduced - prior to 1838
The flowers of 'Rose des Peintres' are very double and fragrant. This rose bears radiant pink flowers, often having button-eye centers. Each flower of this centifolia cultivar is packed with as many as 200 petals.
Like several older roses, the flowers of 'Rose des Peintres' also have a memorable fragrance. When translated 'Rose des Peintres' means a “rose of painters'. It has been named so because several portraits of this rose appeared frequently in the Dutch paintings of the 18th century, especially the paintings of Jan van Huysum.
This is another shrub that can be trained well to grow on a fence or pillar. While this rose is rather more sensitive to cold compared to 'Centifolia Variegata', it is a good rose to be planted in gardens in the cold north.