Damask rose Rosa x damascena

A classic shrub rose

The glory of the damask rose is its scented white or pink flowers. They appear in a single burst in midsummer, usually in clusters. It is a hardy plant, but needs a certain amount of care and good soil to thrive.




Carefully cutout dead or diseased shoots. Apply rose fertilizer. The plants send out new shoots now.



The flowering period lasts for a few weeks. Water in long dry spells.


After flowering, shorten side shoots.



Bright red hips ripen on some damasks.


Cover the soil with well-rotted garden compost or farmyard manure.



The damask rose is hardy throughout

Britain and no special winter protection is necessary.

The foliage

The leaves are made up of five to seven leaflets. They are oval in shape and serrated. The upper surface is plain with a grey-green shimmer, and the underside is soft and furry, unlike the stems, which are protected by robust, hooked thorns.


The damask rose is not a species but a natural hybrid. X was created from 2 wild roses, and which crossbred naturally.

Damask roses were grown extensively by the Romans for their scent and for rose oils.

The summer-flowering damask rose is characterized by a shrubby, often spreading, habit of growth, usually with arched or overhanging branches.

The flowers grow in clusters, and are semi-double to double. Many varieties have a wonderful scent. The range of colours extends from white to pink. The display lasts only from June to July.

Later in the season when the flowers are over, some varieties have prickly, bright red fruits, which provide interest.


‘Trigintipetala’, also known, Believed to commemorate the, ‘Omar Khayyam’: Named as the rose of Kazanlik’: The, Wars of the Roses. The, after a famous Persian poet, most important variety for, flowers are semi-double the flowers are semi-double rose oil. The pink flowers are, white or pink or both and strongly scented. The very strongly scented ‘Celsiana’: Heady scent, with, petals curve inwards, and the ‘York and Lancaster’, also, large, semi-double, pink, plant grows to a height of known as ‘Versicolor’:, flowers, and crinkled petals 100-150cm.

Damask rose


Sunny to partial shade, ideally alone as a specimen by a terrace or in the lawn. Looks good in front of a backdrop of dark trees or among other shrubs.


Fertile garden soil, humus-rich, sandy-clay, not too light. The ideal pHis6.5.


After flowering, cut back side shoots. Unlike bedding roses, there is no need for more drastic pruning.


Damask roses are robust if planted in the correct location. But, like other roses, they are often plagued by aphids. At the first sign of infestation (stalks and buds covered with a host of tiny red-brown or green insects), spray with a jet of water or a systemic insecticide.


To enjoy the damask rose to the full, plant it close to your favourite spot in the garden or next to the patio. When choosing a variety, take into account that some have a wide spread, and so may need a lot of space.

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