Comte de Chambord

I would love to learn people’s experience with the Portland Comte de Chambord. Has it been healthy? I have a plant I got as a bareroot plant a few years back at a box store that has surprised me. It has been crown hardy enough to live without protection in zone 4 and the fragrance is amazing. It has gotten some black spot, but seems to still keep most of its leaves. I see it is a direct parent of Gertrude J. I tried to collect and use pollen of Comte de Chambord this year and have a limited number of seed.

Great idea, David. I love Comte de Chambord, it’s own-root as a band bought mid-March. It’s in a pot now, healthy, a tiny bit of blackspot, nothing major - we have 3 days of non-stop rain. The repeat is good, scent is great, and tiny harmless thistles. It’s compact & upright, doesn’t take much space. Blooms last long up to 3 days in vase.

Pink Peace as own-root is 100% clean here, low-thorn, lots of blooms per flush, upright, 4 days vase life. Its scent could use some improvement with Comte de Chambord’s great scent. I was thinking about improving Pink Peace’s scent with Basyes Blueberry’s wild rose scent, and you gave me a great option. Thanks.

David, my experience has been exactly the same as yours–bareroot from big box store, hardy and floriferous plant, incredible fragrance, some blackspot, particularly late in the season. I have not had much luck in breeding with it yet-- probably used its pollen on the wrong seed parent. I believe it can set hips. For our zone I think Portlands are a really good deal–you get the OGR look and fragrance, but you also get the ability to bloom on new wood, which is nice a severe winter takes out most of your old wood. I don’t know how hardy they are farther north from us.


Minnesota Zone 4

The Countryman is a product of Lilian Austin x Comte de Chambord. The person who grows the Countryman reported that it blooms early spring and smells great like rose with strawberry. My Comte de Chambord could be improved with something bushier and more flowers, like Gene Boerner, a good seed-parent. Gene Boerner is a blooming machine at zone 5a rose park: tons of blooms regardless of the weather (early spring, 100 degrees summer, and after fall frost). Gene Boerner is almost thornless, and has a good scent in cold weather only.

Gene Boerner’s blooms last 1 week in the vase. I keep track of how long the blooms last in a vase, since it’s an indication of how well they bloom in the summer heat. Queen of Sweden lasts 1 day in the vase, she shuts down at temp above 80. Double Delight’s bloom lasts long in the vase, and it’s loaded with blooms at 90 to 100 degrees at the rose park.

Comte de Chambord’s bloom lasts 3 days if picked in bud-form, and 2 days otherwise. The Comte shuts down in hot summer, and blooms best in cool spring and fall. Comte’ seed parent is Barrone Prevost, a hybrid perpetual - so it’s NOT a good idea to cross with Pink Peace, which has Mrs. John Laing, a hybrid perpetual as pollen. Both Comte and Pink Peace has a longer pause between flushes, thanks to that Hybrid Perpetual part.

Since the nursery that I got my Comte de Chambord from is sold out on own-root. I wonder if the Comte from big-box store is grafted on Dr. Huey? My own-root Comte is in MiracleGro potting soil, pH of 6.5. I want to find out if the health of Comte depends on the pH of the soil, or is it own-root vs. grafted, or does it depend on drainage … or all 3 factors?

I took a picture of my Comte, but could not load here, it said “file cannot exceed …” A month ago it wasn’t growing, I saw water logged in the pot while it’s raining, so I drilled extra holes. Now the new growth at the bottom is 100% clean, but the older growth has a bit of blackspot, not bad. I wonder if a grafted Comte from a big-box store behaves the same. Thanks.

Comte de Chambord was removed from my collection two years ago: I had it for twelve years and over the last 5 years of its life here, it declined and its disease problems became worse and worse, until I finally witnessed the train wreck that many people describe when they talk about this plant. It had been quite good in its first six years or so, but that wasn’t to last. It seems inevitable that this cultivar will enjoy a brief period of a few years decent performance, and then it will decline. The transition my plant took into bad health was shocking, as I had nothing but praise for its sturdiness and health in the early years.

I used it in breeding in 2002 and 2003 for a number of crosses, knowing that it played a role in Austin’s breeding. What I discovered was that when mated with modern Floribundas and Moore Miniatures, not one of the seedlings had any remontancy whatsoever. I still have a row of about 20 seedlings from the Comte de Chambord crosses, and they are all once-bloomers, and all very prone to Blackspot. I never used it in hybridizing again, nor would I recommend it to anyone. It is like using Soleil d’Or in breeding: you are going to open a nasty can-o-worms in the hopes that you will get one or two worthwhile plants. IMO the odds are very slim that will happen, very slim indeed.

Thank you, Paul, for an excellent answer to my question. I appreciate your experience. Since I cut the blooms for the vase, the Comte doesn’t pump out new wood fast enough (Paul Neyron pumps out twice faster). Pumping out new wood FAST is needed for re-blooming. Evelyn has excelllent repeat. I got sick of my Austins being too big, so I chopped them down to 1’ x 1’ mid-August. Evelyn is loaded with blooms now, next is Scepter’d Isle - the rest can’t re-bloom, new growth isn’t fast enough.

Winter-kill to the crown, and a rush of melted snow & spring rain helps to regenerate Comte’s vigor in my zone 5a. Looking outside, it’s weird to see my Comte with BS upper half, and the lower half with new growth is 100% clean. Comte won’t be good elsewhere without winterkill and new growth.

I’m getting suspicious that the health of soil and own-root vs. grafted play a factor besides the genetics of a rose. Kim Rupert is right that bare-root from big-box store cannot measure up to own-root in terms of health. The $4 Heirloom rose I bought from Walmart is a total wimp, gave me 4 blooms, and a BS fest when put in wet clay. I’m tempted to get “Heirloom” as own-root from Chamblee just to compare. If it turns out to be healthy, then it confirms my suspicion that putting some roses on Dr. Huey is not a good idea. If there’s proof that own-root is healthier than grafted on Dr. Huey, then it’s a supporting point for American nuseries.

Frederic Mistral own-root is a water-hog here, but zero diseases. Niels in Denmark, zone 5b, more rain & less heat than my Chicagoland, report bad rust on Frederic Mistral despite spraying. He has acidic clay. His Fred is grafted on Dr. Huey. Putting a water-hog on Dr. Huey is not a good idea. We had a mini-drought early summer with temp. up to 100 degrees and I don’t spray.

The true test of a rose’s genetics is: Is it healthy grown own-root in potting soil, with good drainage? Newly bred roses pass that test, but many of the older varieties haven’t.

Teresa, set your camera for 300 dpi. It will permit you to take your photos at the proper size and resolution for uploading to most internet sites. For older shots, use your photo handling program to resize them to 300 dpi and you will then be able to post them here. Using that setting for photos is much easier as you will not have to handle them again if you want to post or send them.

I got a very nice seedling of Arthur Bell X Comte de Chambord 7 or 8 years ago. It has glossy foliage like Arthur Bell and fragrant very double blooms like Comte de Chambord.

I’m going to have to echo Paul’s experience with Comte de Chambord. My plant was a grafted one from Home Depot. Very nice the first few years, then complete blackspot defoliation with little-to-no repeat. I gave mine away to my local rose society. No regrets at all to see it go.


It was fairly healthy here, except for mildew early and late in the year. The season length and heat were to the plant’s liking as it grew like a climber and flowered well. I couldn’t get past the numerous, Chihuahua teeth prickles breaking off in my flesh and having to be dug out and the flowers didn’t last well in the heat and aridity. The plant was OK (other than prickles). Jacques Cartier was a much better garden plant (Huey roots), so it remained and CdC didn’t. Jacques is sterile here, absolutely no sexual parts, period. But, he’s a good garden rose in this climate.

Thank you, Andy, for the info. of grafted Comte at Home Depot. I won’t buy that. Let’s see how my own-root behaves… it’s odd that it sprouts new growth really low … only after 3 days of non-stop rain. I found this info. about grafted roses: "Own-root plants tend to live longer

due to not having a bud or graft union that calluses and hardens over time leaving little space on which new shoots can emerge." I’m having that problem with my grafted Heirloom rose from Walmart. Only 1/2 of the rootball sprouted, the other half is dead, it’s very lopsided.

Comte’s growth is the slowest in my garden. Lilian Austin is next, she’s the Mom to wimpy The Prince, a weak grower on own-root. I’ll kill Lilian Austin today both for her thorns, and for slow in rebloom.

One of the things I’ve stopped doing is buying roses from places like WalMart, Home Depot, the local drug store, etc. The quality is so much inferior to roses bought at places that actually care about the quality (and health) of the roses they sell. Even though the roses from the big box stores, etc. often appear to be quite healthy and vigorous, the true test is in their performance after they have been in the garden for a while. I have taken all of these (baggy-packed and wax-coated) roses out out my garden, and have no future plans to reintroduce any more.

I wrote an article on choosing roses which can be found at I will admit, however, that my local Home Depot’s selection has improved after I wrote this article, with choices from reputable dealers. I will also note that these did carry a much higher price tag, were potted up, and were mostly from the Knockout line(s). Also remember that the people taking care of these roses before you buy them often are working for minimum wage, and the product offered often reflects this.


In my experience over the past 15 years, at least half the OGR type roses I bought from “discount” sources were incorrectly labeled, so if you buy ‘Comte de Chambord’ at HD (or the like), I think the odds are great that what you got isn’t even the correct variety. The discount growers who generate these cheapie plants have zero incentive to provide the correct variety to the customers. Their goal is to produce a cheap product and push volume, not quality or accuracy.

You get what you pay for.

Add to all the above, Home Depot uses SCAN. A program where they do not pay for a plant until it is sold. If it is never sold, they never pay for it. If it is returned, they charge it back to the producing nursery. With so many “garden centers” cutting orders or simply disppearing, the big box stores are the best hope for many producers to move product and remain in business. The company gets the product for the absolute least cost possible. They don’t have to pay for it until sells, meaning possibly never. The nursery has to eat anything they return, any time they return it.

The employees aren’t under any real pressure to maintain the plants. Why? If they look bad, they get dumped and never paid for. If they die, they get dumped and never paid for. They continue advertising “California Certified Nurserymen” available to help you, yet I have never encountered one in any HD or Lowe’s I have ever been in, even when I have asked. While I don’t buy nursery stock there, I do walk through the garden departments to see what is there.

As a general rule I agree with you about buying bareroots at these big box places, Paul and Kim. I have seen hilariously mislabelled (supposed to be Nearly Wild but actually Mutabilis), virused, and even dead roses being sold at these stores. But surely you can get lucky every now and then? The Comte de Chambord in my garden was purchased in the early 2000s before I got wise about only buying from reputable places. Nevertheless, I have had no reason over the years to doubt its identity or complain about its performance. I also got lucky with a Reine des Violettes in the same period. I bought about three other cheap bareroot OGRs at the same time and all of those were mislabelled.

Yes, you can get lucky, but I prefer a sure thing…if a friend asked where she ought to buy a rose I would recommend one of the specialist rose nurseries I have since come to rely on, rather than trusting to luck at a big box store!

Of course you CAN get lucky. I admit I’ve tried it in the past. Long before The Doctor was available anywhere other than Vintage, HD had body bag bare roots with The Doctor labels on them. I bought two. Both were Paradise. Both flowered then began throwing odd new growth which looked like Witch’s Broom or Round Up damage so both cans went right into the trash, soil, cans, plants and all. I hadn’t used any herbicides and I’d not seen that type of growth anywhere in my roses before, nor since.

I cringe at the tables full of “Arthur Bell” canned plants of all colors; the patio mini yellow trees labeled “The Yellow Rose of Texas”; the yellow mini gallons labeled “Persian Yellow”; and all the other obvious mistakes. I realize it costs money to employ workers who KNOW, much less CARE about correct labeling, but the store doesn’t care or it would be an issue. Obviously, the consuming public doesn’t really care…IF the price is right.

I hate buying roses at big box stores. These pictures are of Home Depot’s version of Double Delight. I don’t know what it REALLY is, but DD? I doubt it. The blooms are terrible and what color there is, is way off. At first I thought there might be a problem with my gardening technique, but it’s in the garden with other roses that are doing just fine. What ever it is, it does accept pollen from 1-72-1 :slight_smile:

Careful, Jeff, I think Bermuda Grass will accept pollen from 1-72-1! LOL! That thing appears to breed with anything!

I wondered why I was seeing hips on that grass!