Heirloom Roses: Zephirine Drouhin
Looking for a climbing rose that has all the beauty and hardiness of an heirloom rose and blooms all summer? Then Zephirine Drouhin is for you!
Introduced in 1868, Zephirine Drouhin is a Bourbon rose. Bourbon roses are crosses between Damask roses which bloom once a year in the spring and China roses which bloom all summer. It was a hit right from the start and remains one of the most popular climbing roses in Europe today.
Zepherine Drouhin is an incredibly versatile rose. It can be grown as a climber attaining a height of 15' to 20' high, or it can be pruned and grown as a shrub rose. Grow it on walls, trellises, arbors, fences or even around pillars. Prune it to 6' and grow it as a specimen plant or massed into a hedge.
It grows best in full sun but can tolerate some shade. It is hardy from zone 5 through 9. In zone 5, it should have winter protection.
Grown in normal to poor soil, it likes to be well-watered. Water in the mornings at the roots. Avoid watering from overhead which can encourage disease.
The flowers are dark pink with up to 20 petals and are 4 inches across. They appear in May like other heirloom roses, but then continue until frost. Remove flowers that are past their prime to encourage new blooms. Their fragrance is very strong and has been described as resembling raspberries.
The foliage is purple when young, darkening to green as it ages. The stems which are nearly thornless are also purple and can create winter interest in your garden after it sheds its leaves. The fact that it is nearly thornless makes it an excellent rose to grow if there are children in your family.
New plants can be grown from cuttings taken either in the spring or fall.
Pruning should be done in late winter or early spring. Prune away any dead canes. Then prune the upright canes by 1/3, any side canes by 1/3 to ½. Rejuvenation pruning can be done by removing ¼ of the oldest canes each year for four years.
In the fall, dead leaves, branches and other brush should be removed from under your bush to prevent the spread of insects and disease.
More heirloom roses
© 2014 Caren White