Image source – Pixabay
Roses have been said to exist on Earth since 500 BC. Today, horticulturists have documented the existence of over three hundred rose species in the world and over ten thousand varieties that have been produced through selective breeding. The flower has been associated with unconditional love, spirituality, mysticism and peace. They have even gained prime importance in world-famous literary works. This famous line from William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet.” has been quoted time and again in a wide range of contexts.
What roses symbolize
A blooming rose is considered to be a symbol of love a fertility. While a wilted one is seen as a harbinger of sorrow. In the popular movie Beauty and the Beast, the story revolves around the falling petals of the rose. Several artists and musicians have paid their tribute to this beautiful flower through songs such as Rose Garden and Yankee Rose. Rose is the most cherished motif of tattoo artists and painters all over the world. The flower also teaches important life lessons. As Khalil Gibran quotes, “The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns – the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious to the rose.”
What makes this flower so appealing to everyone? Its incomparable beauty and captivating fragrance! Rose petals are said to have potent effective antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-parasitic properties. The petals also act as the perfect garnish for your salads, smoothies, ice creams and other desserts. They are also said to attract good luck and affection. Due to these characteristics, the flower has garnered its well-deserved royal recognition as the ‘Queen of flowers’!
Every rose variety is unique. Several roses are named after great women. Their strength, grace, indomitable courage and inspiration are qualities people look for in their roses as well. One such variety of rose known to main is the Queen Elizabeth rose. It occupies a special place in the hearts of anthophiles – people who love flowers. Elegant, regal and one of a kind, the rose exhibits all the characteristics of Queen Elizabeth 2 herself. Reflecting her qualities of strength and poise, the rose was aptly named after her when she took over the reins of Great Britain in 1952.
A rose named after the Queen herself
The credit for developing the Queen Elizabeth rose goes to Dr. Walter Lammerts, a plant researcher and horticulturist in the United States. In the 1950s, he created this variety of rose by cross developing a hybrid tea rose called Charlotte Armstrong with a floribunda (Floradora). Dr. Lammerts bred the Charlotte Armstrong variety in 1940. It is a hybrid tea rose with a strong fragrance and a deep pink color. The floribunda variety grows in clusters and has a mild fragrance. Both varieties are robust plants that are highly resistant to pests and diseases. The Queen Elizabeth rose is a beautiful amalgamation of the characteristics of the two rose varieties. Dr. Lammerts named this new variety ‘grandiflora’, or the grand flower.
When Dr. Lammerts bred the Queen Elizabeth rose, little did he know it would gain unfathomable stardom over the years. The rose is a proud patron of five prestigious horticultural awards. The rose is a proud patron of six renowned awards:
- The Portland Gold Medal in 1954
- All-America Rose Selections winner, USA in 1955
- The American Rose Society Gold Medal in 1957
- Gold Rose of the Hague in 1968
- The World’s Favorite Rose in 1979
- Award of Excellence for Best Established Rose in 2015
A quick guide to grow your own Queen Elizabeth rose
If you are thinking of growing your own Queen Elizabeth rose, this ‘Things to know’ list will serve as a guide:
1. Size: Like its cousins of the same genus, the Queen Elizabeth rose is a shrub. However, it can grow up to a towering height of 10 feet (ca. 3 meters), with a width of 3 feet (0.91 meters) to 4 feet (ca. 1 meter). A fully grown plant will give cupped or double blooms whose petals have a diameter of 10-12 centimeter on an average and 26-40 centimeter in some cases. An interesting characteristic of the Queen Elizabeth rose shrubs is that unlike most rose plants, these shrubs have very few thorns.
2. Color of the blooms: The petals are light pink on the inside and a darker shade on the outside. The lightly scented flowers often surprise onlookers with their salmon, shell pink and silver pink shades. They bloom from summer to autumn and attract numerous butterflies and delight humans. The dark-green, leathery leaves allow the plants to survive the scorching heat as well as the dry spells, as the leaves retain water.
3. Soil type: The plant grows well in soils that are rich in clay and loam. Fertile soils that retain moisture serve well for the Queen Elizabeth rose plant. While it does not need a lot of water is low on maintenance, it does require ample sunlight for the flowers to bloom to their full glory. You must add a balanced fertilizer to the soil at regular intervals. Avoid nitrogen-rich fertilizers. They provide a lush, green texture to the stem and leaves of the plant, but do not stimulate flower growth.
4. Plant location: The ideal location to grow this rose shrub would be in plant beds, flowering hedges, patios and containers. The plant can also serve as a jaw-dropping, fragrant decoration for your courtyard, cottage and garden.
5. Cuttings: The plant has long stems. As a result, once the blooming season is over, you can easily get multiple cuttings from the shrub and replant them. Each cutting should be about 25 centimeters long. Cut only those stems that are long and healthy. Be aware of the rose replant disease. It affects roses that are planted in soil already used for growing other roses. Always use fresh soil for your cuttings. As much as 19 other rose verities can be obtained from the Queen Elizabeth rose. One of them is names Princess Margaret, after the Queen’s sister.
6. Planting: Before planting the rose cutting, place it in water for a few hours so that the roots are well hydrated. Queen Elizabeth rose is a tall plant. If you are planting it in a pot, ensure that the pot’s capacity is more than 60 liters. Place a few blocks of Styrofoam at the bottom of the pot. The Styrofoam will help the plant drain excess water. Use a multipurpose compost to fill you pot. Once the pot is half full, place your rose plant in the pot and continue filling the pot with compost. Lightly pat the soil to ensure there are no air pockets. After potting the pant, water it generously, The water must seep into the soil and reach the plant’s roots.
7. Care: While the Queen Elizabeth rose is a hardy plant, you need to take good care of it to ensure it grows well. Make sure that you water the plant well in the morning. You can place mulch at the plant’s base to retain moisture. Gently pluck out any faded blooms or flowers and leaves that have fallen in the plant bed. If you are growing the plant is in locations that have a moist climate, make use of fungicides. Regular application of fungicides will keep black spots, mildew and rust at bay. Regularly pruning the plant will encourage new growth. Bear in mind to prune it only up to one-third of its height. Your efforts will reward you with those much awaited, delightful pink blooms.
8. Protecting the plant from pests: The Queen Elizabeth rose plant is highly resistant to pests, but not immune to them. To secure your plant, it is important to do a regular inspection of the plant. This will help you detect any pest infestation early on and implement the necessary curative measures. You can use insecticidal soap or any effective horticultural oil to control the pests. Water your plant well before spraying it with insecticides. Horticulturists suggest using the insecticidal spray in the evening to reduce the drying time and increase retention time. It is crucial to educate yourself before you use any spray on the plant. You do not want to end up killing your beautiful rose plant instead of the pest.
9. Where can you get the rose: The rose is available for sale on several online platforms that sell flowers. When ordering online, it is advisable to read a few reviews to know whether the plant would reach you in a healthy shape. You can also check with your local nursery. Since the Queen Elizabeth rose is popular, most nurseries would have rose cuttings or source it for you from elsewhere. Once you get the rose cutting, it is important to follow the steps mentioned above to ensure your plant grows well. All plants, regardless of their maintenance, need love and care. Your Queen Elizabeth rose plant is no different. Care for it well and you will soon be rewarded with fragrant blooms that your neighbors would be envious of.