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Rosa chinensis

Previously known as:

  • Rosa bengalensis
  • Rosa chinensis 'Mutabilis'
  • Rosa gallica var. mutabilis
  • Rosa semperflorens
  • Rosa viridiflora
Phonetic Spelling
RO-zuh chi-NEN-sis
Description

China Rose is one of the oldest cultivated roses, having been introduced before 1894. It is a large shrub rose native to the temperate areas of Sichuan, Hubei, and Guizhou provinces in southwestern China. The genus name Rosa is the Latin for rose; the specific epithet indicates its origin. The flowers appear from April through September in groups of four or five. They are one and a half to two inches across. The petals can be single, semi-double or double in form colored white, pink, red, or purple. Some are slightly fragrant. The China Rose known as 'Mutabilis' has flowers that start out cream then mutate through deepening shades of pink until they finish a deep red. This change takes place in such a way that it is possible to have flowers of every color on the bush at the same time. When the small fruits, rose hips, begin to mature to their bright red color in June, the bush makes quite a sight.

As with most roses Butterfly Rose enjoys full sun; moist, slightly acidic, well drained loam; moderate watering, and good air circulation. In the south, a full grown China Rose can reach six feet in height and spread. When planting try to allow for one foot of space all around the mature plant. This will promote good air circulation and reduce chances of foliar diseases. Do not water from above. This too can lead to foliar disease. Water at the base and use mulch to conserve moisture. As with all roses, deadheading will promote further flushes of bloom. Prune China Rose in the early spring. Look here for a guide to pruning shrub roses.

Because of its mature size, Butterfly Rose makes a good specimen plant or can be used to provide height in a garden bed. It also makes a good hedge. As it attracts honey bees, include it in a pollinator garden.

China Rose is susceptible to Black Spot, Powdery Mildew, Rust and Rose Rosette. Maintaining good growing conditions is the best way to manage these foliar diseases however you can find information for controlling them here. They will be attacked by aphids, Japanese beetle, borers, scale insects, thrips, rose midges, leafhoppers and spider mites. You can find information to help with the identification and control of these pests here. These plants are frequently damaged by deer.

VIDEO Created by Elizabeth Meyer for "Trees, Shrubs and Conifers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Semperflorens'
Tags:
#deciduous#drought tolerant#honey bees#cpp#fruits fall#fruits mid-summer#fruits late summer#fruits early summer#scent
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Semperflorens'
Tags:
#deciduous#drought tolerant#honey bees#cpp#fruits fall#fruits mid-summer#fruits late summer#fruits early summer#scent
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rosa
    Species:
    chinensis
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Grafting
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    China South-Central and Vietnam
    Distribution:
    World wide in Temperate Zones
    Wildlife Value:
    China rose flowers are visited by honey bees. Birds eat the hips. These plants are frequently damaged by deer.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 6 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Medium
    Appendage:
    Prickles
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Pome
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit of all roses are called hips and are considered a good source of vitamin C hence all those teas with rose hip in them. The hips appear any time from June through November and, if the birds will let them, can survive the winter. The ovally shaped hips of China Rose are under one inch in diameter and red in color.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Good Cut
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Wheel
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    The flowers of China Rose are under two inches in diameter but they are carried in groups of four or five so do have an impact. Some are slightly fragrant. The single petaled bloom has five petals. Sometimes the petals are sem-double or double. The colors range from white through pink to red or purple.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Insignificant
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The compound leaves of China Rose are two to four and a half inches long and carried alternately. There are three to five one inch to two and a quarter inch by on half to one inch leaflets though sometimes seven leaflets are present. Young leaves are reddish purple changing to dark green on top and lighter green beneath. Both sides can be slightly hairy. They have slightly rounded bases with a pointy tip. The margins are serrated.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Description:
    The early growth of China Rose stems is a very attractive reddish purple. As the stem ages it turns from purple to green then brown. The stems are covered in thorns, correctly called prickles.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Patio
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Cutting Garden
    English Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Problems:
    Frequent Disease Problems
    Frequent Insect Problems