Fragrant Cloud not Fragrant!

DustyRoseAZMay 4, 2012

Several years ago I had a couple of Fragrant Cloud bushes with fragrance so heady it would knock your socks off. This year I bought a couple of bushes at Lowes, well-tagged as Fragrant Cloud, but you can stick your nose right in them and barely pick up a scent. What went wrong?

Is there something about soil or watering or fertilizing that would affect the fragrance strength?


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seil zone 6b MI

A lot of things can affect fragrance. Weather and soil do but it could also be the roses themselves. You hear about people getting a dud bush now and then. Maybe you got ones with less scent. I know a lot of people think that the newer Peace roses aren't as pretty as the originals because they've been cloned so long now that they've been weakened. But truthfully, my FC has never been very fragrant for me either.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 3:47PM
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I had Fragrant Cloud several years ago, as I recall it was sort of an odd salmon color. Sometimes roses are mislabeled, what color are your blooms?

Also the sense of smell varies greatly from person to person. I have a Don Juan climber and my wife just raves about the scent, for me, I hardly get anything from smelling it.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 5:12PM
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That's probably because what was labeled as "Fragrant Cloud", a rose many would have heard of because of its fragrance, and whose name alone would sell it to someone unfamiliar with the rose is probably Gypsy. They appear similar to many people but Gypsy isn't fragrant. You'll also find Camelot labeled as FC. The contract budders have lists of names with roses which resemble the right roses, but frequently aren't. I've already encountered Cherry Parfait as Double Delight. They CAN look very similar, but Cherry Parfait isn't fragrant and it IS healthier, easier to grow well and easier to produce. Kim

Here is a link that might be useful: Gypsy

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 5:27PM
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musaboru(Inland Calif.)

I don't grow Fragrant Cloud, but here's my two cents on another rose. Sheila's Perfume in cool weather barely holds scent to my nose. But when the conditions are right, it rivals Double Delight. Sheila's Perfume won an award for fragrance but even she can have her shy days.

I don't grow too many roses but I found this to be true with other fragrant plants also.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 2:19AM
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seil zone 6b MI

I'd give my eye teeth to get a Camelot mislabeled as FC, Kim! I've been trying to get that one for years but every one I buy labeled "Camelot" has been something else!

Interesting about Gypsy, though. I wonder if that isn't what I've got. I've been totally under whelmed by this rose from the beginning. It rarely blooms, has little or no form and when it does bloom they just fly open in no time and, like I said, not much fragrance to speak of. Sound like Gypsy to you?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 10:35AM
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lovemysheltie(5/6 Chicago)

Hmm. I grow a Fragrant Cloud purchased from my local nursery. It has always been extremely fragrant in pretty much all weather conditions (sun, rain, mist etc) so I would guess you got a dud or a mis ID'd rose.

But I understand what the other posters are saying- I have an Austin rose William Shakespeare 2000 that I got from Chamblees whose 1st flush as a band had 0 fragrance and then suddenly it started smelling great. So... who knows?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 10:46AM
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Your best bet for finding a Gypsy for sure would be Vintage Gardens. They KNOW the roses, and, while not impossible, receiving a mis named plant from them would be less likely than other hit and miss efforts. Currently, it's only custom root, which is expensive, but you have to determine what it's worth to you to obtain the right one.

Until five years ago, I dealt with contract growers here in Southern California. They have lists of the roses they bud...supposedly. In cases of very distinct roses with none that resemble them greatly, they have the right rose. I've not received anything other than Peace labeled as Peace. Camelot and Gypsy both came as Fragrant Cloud. Cherry Parfait, when still pretty new, came as Double Delight. Paradise came as anything mauve. The climber Golden Glow came as the HT Gold Glow and vice versa. Just about anything orange to pink came as Tropicana. Anything red, fragrant or not, came as Oklahoma and Mr. Lincoln. Oregold was anything yellow, regardless of how yellow. There were many others which resembled the named rose, but which definitely weren't.

These companies remain in business because of price and quantity. They serve the big box segment of the market because they can provide cheap, named, budded roses in huge quantities. Because they limit their production to a smaller list of varieties, they produce masses at very low prices. They permit a business to order in several different ways, each one determining how much the individual roses cost. If you want to cherry pick and specify the names you wish and want grade 1 plants, they would cost you as much as $2.75 each wholesale cost. This is before they are potted and grown into bud and bloom plants. You could allow them to choose what they needed to get rid of, specifying type (HT, floribunda, shrub or climber), how many of each and which grades you would accept. You could order simply by color, when you would definitely get more mis named plants because of foul-ups in the fields, or just order a quantity and leave everything else up to them. By not being picky about what you received, and ordering by the thousands, you could drop your wholesale cost to as low as about .85 a plant. You have to at least triple the cost for a bud and bloom plant, so picking the varieties and grade would result in at least a $9 blooming canned plant. Letting them dump whatever they had too much of and needed to get rid of could provide you with around a $3 canned, blooming plant. Of course, there were no guarantees of them being properly named and no freedom from viral infection. They weren't guaranteed to live, but were guaranteed to be alive when received. If planted properly and cared for appropriately, they usually lived and flowered, whether they were correctly identified or not. This is likely what you're seeing in the "home improvement" stores as there are many growers who avail themselves of such contract growers as they can pump out the product much less expensively than anyone can produce their own.

If you want a plant less likely to be virus infected; more likely to be true to name; in higher percentages of higher grades; held in proper conditions to keep them fresher until shipping and with a guaranty to be true to name and live longer, you bought from J&P, Week's, Star-Meilland, etc., but the wholesale costs of their plants were double to quadruple that of the contract growers, depending upon how many of each variety you ordered and whether they were true bare roots, body bagged or potted. This was also the only way to get the new, patented roses everyone came in looking for.

While you can luck out and find a decent plant of a rose true to name in the contract grower category, your chances are much lower than if you bought from the major producers. And, if you wanted anything newer, you had to buy from the majors as newer is always more highly controlled and more expensive unless someone had excess and dumped them wholesale to reduce their inventory while the demand was still high. It hasn't been uncommon to find new, patented varieties mis labeled as something non patent and sold cheaply to reduce stock and avoid royalty payments.

Of course, in recent years, the world has changed because of the collapse of so many markets and producers, but that only means it's worse now than before. I realize much of the fun is finding the "bargain" plant of what you want, but the odds are getting worse against your getting a decent plant of the actual rose you want in those selections. Last spring, at my local Lowe's, I encountered tables full of variously colored roses all labeled Oregold. You could buy a red Oregold, a pink Oregold, etc. Imagine trying to straighten that one out years from now. Kim

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 12:51PM
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Wow! Thank you all for your suggestions. Just to set the record straight, I remember that I bought the roses at Home Depot, not Lowes. I had no idea that so many roses are mis-labeled. Thanks for the heads-up Kim. That was a real eye opener! I thought if the label was permanantly affixed to the pot, the rose would be correct as labeled. From the explanations here, I'm pretty sure I got stuck with a couple of Gypsy bushes. I've been commenting to my husband that the blooms open so quickly you can't even enjoy them. They go from bud to flat open in a few hours! I don't remember my Fragrant Cloud doing that. It's been about 12 years since I had roses. For those of you who do have Fragrant they open quickly like that? Thanks again.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 5:34PM
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You're welcome. It doesn't matter from whom you buy the roses, the wholesale, mass producers are likely the same. Even in other markets, they probably function very similarly as that's what there are usually funds for at such low prices and mass quantities. Kim

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 5:49PM
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