About China Roses
By Steve Jones
Master Rosarian

Not surprisingly, the china roses were found in China. These small, repeat-blooming roses make ideal landscape roses. Only a few can be exhibited as the blooms are small (not that should matter to judges, but it does), and the largely non-fragrant, semi-double blooms are loose in form and not on strong stems. The few exceptions are Mutabilis and Green Rose which do win their fair share of trophies. Modern Roses 12 lists 219 chinas.

The chinas are mostly resistant to blackspot, but can get powdery mildew. They grow vigorously in the southern US and thrive in Hawaii. Known for their petals that change color as they age. Great repeatability, most will outbloom many of today's roses. Due to their small stature, chinas make excellent container grown roses. Most of today's red colors (and white streaks in the petals) came from breeding with chinas. 

Some of my favorite chinas in no particular order:

Green Rose (<1856)  Love it or hate it, I love it. It "blooms" most of the year and can win the dowager award. Also makes a great filler for arrangements and fits well into "green" landscapes. The green petals are reverted petals/sepals. A US special as it was found in the South.

Mutabilis (<1894)  The largest of the chinas, it can grow into a 7 foot wide mound. Fully clothed with foliage, this rose is an awesome landscape accent piece. The blooms have the most dramatic change of light yellow to pink then to crimson red before dropping. Due to the colors, it is nicknamed the Butterfly Rose. 

Old Blush (1751)  This rose never stops blooming! The pink blooms come year round on a 3-4 foot mound. This is the "Last Rose of Summer" made popular by Thomas Moore's poem of the same name.

Rouletti (1815)  The smaller version of Old Blush, plant grows to 3 feet. This is the parent to the miniature roses, making them hybrid chinas.

Pink Pet (1928)  China or polyantha, right now it is classed as a china. Small pom-pom type blooms on a 2-foot plant. Can win at shows but sprays are leggy. Also known as Caldwell Pink.

Archduke Charles (<1837) -- Another china with dramatic color changes. Not as well clothed as other chinas.

Eugene de Beauharnais (1838) -- A bourbon-china, the blooms are more bourbon, the plant is more china. Full, purplish blooms on a small plant to 3 feet. Can win at shows, has a great fragrance. Kitty Belendez does quite well at rose shows with this rose, especially in collections.

Miss Lowe's Variety (1887)  I love this deep pink single petalled china. The blooms turn deep pink to red before dropping. Grows about 3 feet.

Papa Hemeray (1912) -- Most people who see this rose ask what rose it is. Single petalled red blooms come in nice sized sprays. Very clean and vigorous plant to 3 feet.


© Copyright Steve Jones. All rights reserved.

Originally published in "Rose Ecstasy," bulletin of Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society, 
Kitty Belendez, Editor.

Photos © Copyright by Kitty Belendez

For questions about Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society, contact:
Kitty Belendez
Updated December 19, 2017

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