How long do roses live?

katefisher(Z7_NorthernCA)December 1, 2007

So tonight my husband asked me about people who grow roses and how rose growers tend to not tolerate plants that don't perform. Shovel pruning and all that. From this the question arose as to what roses tend to live a long time given the right circumstances. I really did not have an answer for him. Do certain roses shine in the longevity department? If so what are they? I know a lot of folks here have roses from friends and relatives that are quite aged. I'm curious to know what some of those might be.

Thanks in advance.


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jerijen(Zone 10)

Have you read about the Tombstone Rose?
See the link below.

And there is a rose at Hildesheim Cathedral, in Germany, which is said to be 1,000 years old.
"A wild rose tree grows in the church courtyard. 15 meters tall, it is believed to be the oldest wild rose tree in the world. The tree was blooming here even before the church was built. There is a legend about this wild rose. Once upon a time, a king while out hunting lost a sacred relic containing a lock of St. MaryƂs hair. His men looked everywhere and finally found it in the forest, hanging on a wild rose tree. The king thanked God and built a cathedral where the rose tree stood." (Pictures I've found -- well -- nice story?)

Anyhow, a virused, budded rose my Grandmother had is growing reasonably well in my mother's yard. It had to have been planted some time between 1954 and around 1980.

How long a rose can live probably rests in the whim of the gardener -- but I think that guy in San Jose we can't mention made a good point, when he said: "Gardens don't long survive them as made 'em."


Here is a link that might be useful: Tombstone Rose

    Bookmark   December 1, 2007 at 11:34PM
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Thanks Jeri!

Very interesting. I will check out your link and appreciate your thoughts. 1000 years eh? I love the concept.


    Bookmark   December 2, 2007 at 11:59AM
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i know i've seen a place near here that have a red rose bush growing in the pasture near the road, no traces of a house or anything. I guess they outlasted the house anyway.
j&p book beatiful roses made easy, "...own-root roses appear to have greater longevity...a grafted rose...can run out of steam after 3,4,or 5 yrs" but then i've also read where some people plant their grafted roses deeper than normal to let the rose grow it's own roots.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2007 at 7:38PM
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seil zone 6b MI

My Mom planted this Pinocchio rose at the house here in 1954 and it's still blooming beautifully for me every year.

I have no idea whether it was grafted or not but I'm sure by now it's gone own root. It's a tough little guy and comes back every spring even if it's died down to the ground.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2007 at 8:12PM
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ARE describes China and Tea roses in the South living to be over 100 years old.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 8:43AM
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seil, shame on you - I just fell in love with your Pinocchio rose and I bet I will never find it - what pretty flowers!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 12:42PM
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Thank you everyone for your responses. That Pinocchio is awfully pretty!


    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 1:18PM
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I've some roses in my garden that were planted in 1959 - coming up on 50 years soon. And a potted, grafted Safrano that is at least 40 years old, though it is showing signs of age. Doubt if any of these are going to live longer than I do because the first thing a new owner will do is bulldoze the lot. I've had neighbors who recommended doing just that - and installing a lawn.
If a bush doesn't succumb to winters, it can live forever.
But most hybrids are dependent on proper pruning to keep young - if the older wood is removed on a consistent basis the bush is never older than its oldest cane.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 4:12PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Thanks every one. I am bad though. As far as I know the only place you can get Pinocchio is to special order it from Vintage and it takes about 2 years to get. Sorry.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 11:02PM
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Thank you for the information on your roses. I suspect that when I reach 50 I will be showing signs of age also:) Are we talking about reduced bloom production on Safrano?

Seil I checked Vintage Gardens as you said and this rose does need to be back ordered. I put myself on the list. If/when it becomes available I will update this thread.



    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 12:00PM
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There is a 150 year old rose in Hartford at the Butler McCook House--a house preserved for historical reasons. The ramblers on the pillars at Elizabeth Park in Hartford are over 100 years old. Another old garden is "Mrs. Hershey's Rose Garden," not far from Hershey Park in Pennsylvania. It isn't so much the variety but the effort people have made to keep the garden going for future generations.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 11:04AM
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Safrano's problem is that it is down to one cane which has some bare pith showing. I've scraped away the bark on the bud union and will do it again but it is not throwing new basals so think it will have a limited life expectancy. It is still flowering very freely - as much as a dozen blooms at a time and right now is loaded with small buds. The color is much better inside since the sun doesn't bleach them out.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 11:49AM
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The roses my great uncle planted in the 1920s are going strong at my mom's house. We don't know the variety, but it's lovely and apparently ironclad.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 5:18PM
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Len511, I've also heard that grafted roses run out of steam, 5-10 years or so. I'm wondering if that is happening to mine? I'm very new to rose growing, actually only have one right now that I'm "learning" on. It's a hybrid tea, I forget what the color is called, its like a peace rose but cream with pink on the edges. For the first few years it was beautiful, but now half of the wood is dead. It doesn't have pests or any disease that I can tell, so I guess I'm doing something wrong. But the half that's still alive, seems to get smaller all the time. I guess its dying but I don't know what to do.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 2:45PM
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I just received Pinocchio but I'm in Europe. I ordered from a German nursery named Rosenhof Schultheis. I don't know if they ship to North America though. They do have some very interesting roses...


    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 3:50PM
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