As the name suggests, the ancestors of these roses came mostly from China.
Arriving in Europe in the days of the sailing ships, the original China roses
excited great interest among the gardeners of that era because they were the
first regularly reblooming roses western gardeners had seen.
These roses do not thrive where winters are cold. China roses have proven
wonderfully well adapted to the southeastern United States, for they
tolerate both humid heat and drought. The individual blossoms of China roses are
not spectacular. They may measure no more than 2 in (5.1 cm) across, though 3 in
(7.6 cm) is the average, and some China roses reach a diameter of 4 in (10.2 cm).
- 'Archduke Charles' Roses (Introduced - prior to 1837)
- The fascination of this China rose lies in its changeable flower
color: the full flowers open with crimson outer petals and
white or pale pink centers that darken gradually to a solid, rich
crimson. The rate of this color change depends on the intensity of
the sun, with the petals darkening faster in strong sunlight. As buds
open one after another on 'Archduke Charles', the same bush may
sport flowers in a selection of different colors.
- 'Ducher' Roses (Introduced - 1869)
- Ducher' is generally conceded to be the only white rose of this
class. In fact, the blossoms are more of an ivory or cream
color than pure white. Traces of pink stain the outer petals of the
round flower buds, which open into small, fragrant double blooms
that are fuller and more elegant than those of most China roses.
'Ducher' reblooms regularly throughout the summer, and because it
is smaller than most members of its class, it works well as a
container plant. The new foliage is purplish red, maturing to a fresh
apple green all season.
- 'Green Rose' Roses (Introduced - prior to 1845)
- Known botanically as R. chinensis viridiflora, this rose is unique in that it is truly
green-and therefore fits none of the standard color
classifications. Its 1 1/2- to 2-inch blooms with narrow; leaf like medium
bright green petals appear singly or in clusters throughout the
summer. Plants grow 3 to 5 feet high.
- 'Hermosa' Roses (Introduced - 1840)
- Hermosa means "beautiful" in Spanish, and aptly describes these fragrant,
high-centered, blush pink double 1- to 3-inch flowers (with 35 petals)
that bloom repeatedly in clusters. Foliage is blue-green on 4-foot plants.
- 'Louis Philippe' Roses (Introduced - 1834)
- This China rose has long since proven its adaptability. Though French by
birth, it arrived in Texas the first year it was on the market and has survived
more than 150 years of that state's weather
extremes. Indeed, 'Louis Philippe' is one of the roses commonly
found around abandoned homesteads in the Deep South.
The cupped double flowers are dark crimson with blush pink
centers, and the petals are occasionally streaked with purple.
Unusually reliable in the recurrence of its bloom, 'Louis Philippe'
commonly flowers from spring to early winter, and even in warm
spells during the cold months.
- 'Mutabilis' Roses (Introduced - prior to 1894)
- 'Mutabilis' is aptly named, for its pointed orange buds open
into single rounds of clear yellow petals that gradually
change to shades of orange, pink, and finally crimson. Flowers of
all these colors will adorn a single plant at the same time, and the
sight of the fluttering, five-petaled flowers perched on the bush has earned
this cultivar the common name "butterfly rose". Even the
foliage is exceptional, as the new growth is bronze in hue.
- 'Old Blush' Roses (Introduced - 1752)
- One of the oldest southern garden roses, this cultivar remains a
favorite. The generosity of its bloom is partly responsible for
this: 'Old Blush' is continuously in flower through all but the very
coldest months. This rose is virtually indestructible and is
commonly found lingering at abandoned home sites long after every
other evidence of habitation is gone. Once established, it can
withstand many weeks without irrigation or rain.
Borne in clusters, the medium-size lilac-pink flowers are slightly
fragrant. If not deadheaded (snipped off as they wither), the
flowers will produce large orange hips.