Suggestions for repeat blooming roses with a strong damask s

I’m going to visit with someone Friday that is interested in growing repeat flowering roses with a strong damask scent to try to distill essential oils- perhaps even in a greenhouse. I’m trying to brainstorm a list of cultivars for him to consider growing. I can think of ‘Crimson Glory’ and maybe ‘Comte de Chambord’. It would be great if the roses had a very very strong scent and actually the petals kind of went down hill kind of fast (soften, don’t last that long). There are many different volatile (becomes a gas) molecules in rose fragrance and a specific blend comes together that has some alcohols as I understand it to get the characteristic damask scent. It seems roses with that scent don’t have as good of petal substance maybe partly due to the alcohols impacting the longevity of the cells.

Roses like ‘Mister Lincoln’ might be worth suggesting, but the goal is something that blooms a lot and energy diverted to long stems would limit flower production. From what I remember ‘Crimson Glory’ was a pretty compact and manageable plant and was even more strongly scented. There are roses like ‘Double Delight’ that might be worth a try and does seem to have a strong damask component, but also other components of scent too. Some of David Austin’s roses seem to make some sense to try, but most of those I’m familiar with seem kind of lanky and lax with nice blooms, but maybe a bit stingy. Are there any out there that are a but more tame and have that strong damask scent and bloom somewhat continually?

This sounds like a fun project and hopefully he can make it work.



Hi David,

maybe Sweet Chariot?

Radox bouquet- I got one sort of by accident. Very fragrant. Not sure how free-blooming. I had it severely potted. Cr Gl is about the most fragrant of those I grow now. Always very compact, not impressively winter hardy but OK to near 0 F.


There for awhile I would only order roses that had strong fragrance and good repeat. This is one of the reasons I ended up with so many HTs in my garden. Crimson Glory is my favorite rose of all the varieties I grow. It does very well here in Des Moines and I would definitely recommend CG for this purpose. Double Delight also does well here and the own root plants that I have now, have done better than when I grew them budded (more branching, better winter survival, tons of blooms, and a lot more manageable size).

A few of Crimson Glory’s descendants have reasonably good fragrance as well (although IMO not as strong). Mirandy, Queen o’ the Lakes, Country Doctor, Alec’s Red, Curly Pink, Velvet Fragrance, and Oklahoma are some that are descended from CG that I think have a strong enough fragrance to at least be considered - if I can smell them, I figure they must be fragrant to most others. I used to grow Chrysler Imperial, which, if I remember correctly, was always in bloom and had very good fragrance too. It did well in a zone 4 garden with some protection for the winter.

I would also highly recommend Jardins de Bagatelle as it has a very strong fragrance (for me), somewhat compact and bushy shrub, lots of petals, and always in bloom. This variety is one of the few that I have replaced whenever I moved. Other varieties that I grow that I would recommend for scent, repeat bloom, and that do reasonably well here in Iowa are Annapurna, Barcelona, Pink Peace, Sachet, Secret, Sheer Bliss, Sheila’s Perfume, Stephen’s Big Purple, and Tiffany. Bella’Roma, Etoile de Hollande, and Ophelia are also grown but need a little more attention.

I’m not sure if any of these have the damask scent you are looking for, but I do know they are fragrant for me and do well enough for me to keep them. I grow most of them on their own roots, and because winter is a big concern for me, I just give them a little pile of leaves to protect them through the winter. I did not spray this year for the first time and all but one or two of these did very well. We’ll see if this holds over the next few years.

I wish I could recommend some more varieties that are not HTs but I just recently started branching out to other classes.

Rosy Future, perhaps, is a non-HT that carries this line of fragrance. It itself, however, is sweeter.

I have a Climbing Miniflora/Floribunda from Rosy Future x Alec’s Red. Sometimes Rosy Future sports into a Cl. MiniFL, which is what happened in my case. The scent? Fruit and Damask, LOL.

Like Andre, I’m not sure of the exact nature of the fragrance that any rose has, but I can tell when a rose is fragrant. ‘Mirandy’, ‘Chrysler Imperial’, and ‘Oklahoma’ all have the same sort of fragrance as ‘Crimson Glory’, and the fragrance is in the petals rather than the pollen. Of the three, ‘Mirandy’ probably blooms the most, but if total petal count would give more extractable fragrance, maybe the others are just as good because they have more petals per flower and would thus compensate for not producing as many flowers. Of this group descended from ‘Crimson Glory’, ‘Papa Meilland’ and ‘Charles Mallerin’ are similarly fragrant. ‘Charles Mallerin’ was always less vigorous and less productive for me. ‘Papa Meilland’ is relatively vigorous, but grows relatively long canes–not quite as long as ‘Mr. Lincoln’.

‘Guinée’ has a powerful fragrance but is not very hardy and never repeated during the season here in West Virginia.

Some of the Austins, such as ‘Heritage’, produce lots of fragrant flowers, but some don’t repeat well. ‘Heritage’ does repeat well, and it will save you a lot of labor in the removal of petals since the flower usually drops its petals the second day. I’ll leave other discussion of Austins to those who have grown more of them.

‘Rose de Rescht’ and ‘Reine des Violettes’ are strongly fragrant, but do not repeat much if at all.

Relatively few modern shrubs have a lot of fragrance. Some of the Fruhlings series have good fragrance, but they do not repeat well and they take up a lot of real estate.

If your friend would like to make the production season more compact, R. damascena trigintipetala (‘Kazanlik’) and some forms of R. alba are what the commercial people commonly use.


Fragrant cloud is compact, productive, and relatively healthy.

Fragrance is usually described as turpentine.

David, what zone is this person in? There are many roses which might suffice, but it would strongly depend upon where they are and whether or not they want to grow under glass or not. If they’re where it’s really cold, perhaps utilizing the once flowering, cold hardy OGRs actually used in commercial production may work best. If they’re where more moderns can be employed because of milder climate, the HTs, etc., might be decent suggestions. A lot should also depend upon the actual disease pressures where they want to produce the product. I’d imagine if they’re wanting to use the oils for consumption, even simply to apply to the skin, they’d want to do it as organically as possible. Personally, I don’t want to put anything on my body which has been sprayed with pesticides or fungicides. Who knows how much of all that will carry over into the oils harvested?

I’d think until those questions are answered, suggesting potential types and varieties is futile. You can’t really decide Mr. Lincoln sounds like the best choice, then decide to raise it in Zone 4.

In the early Twentieth Century, Dr. Franchesci decided to do the same thing in Santa Barbara, CA. All the preparations were made and the business begun when it was determined the area was too arid to support the perfumery. The oils and alcohols evaporated from the flowers so quickly and in such large quantities, very little remained to harvest. If this person is somewhere in the upper mid west, where the climate is more severe and humid, perhaps they’d be better off using Damasks? Kim

Paul Barden has created several repeat blooming, fragrant, ogr types. Siren’s Keep, Janet Inada, Oshun, etc… one of those might be what you’re looking for.

Thank you everyone!!

This person is here in zone 4 and they tried ‘Kazanlik’, but there was too much dieback to bloom well. I think somehow providing some winter insulation would suffice to make it work, perhaps with high tunnels or some other structure. They have a greenhouse now, so repeat blooming roses to help keep people employed extracting year round seems like a possibility. Also confined air spaces in greenhouses makes sense to try to pump such air through water for rose water. They have the desire to grow organically. There is a cut rose producer in Plymouth, MN (Len Busch Roses) that tries to grow as organically as possible that would hopefully offer some of their pest control techniques. Burning sulfur for mildew control would control mildew (I’m not sure how it fits into “organic” labeling or if it would make the rose oil stinky). There are essential oils of cloves and I think spearmint people have found to be successful in spraying over roses to control powdery mildew in greenhouse settings.

I think going with ‘Kasanlik’ with some winter protection of some sort makes sense because the rose oil quality should hopefully be what the market is used to and maybe be less costly than using that precious greenhouse space for production of roses. Otherwise, to make it pay for a greenhouse here with the potential for year round, or nearly so, growth, fragrant repeat bloomers on compact plants that flower a lot may be worth trying. However, before he gets a whole bunch of plants to go into production, it would be wise to know if the rose oil in the end is acceptable from a variety not typically used for rose oil.

It sounds like people generally agree that ‘Crimson Glory’ is a super fragrant rose that is compact and high on the list. Also, some of its offspring. ‘Double Delight’ is super fragrant and worth trying even though it is slightly different than a typical damask scent. I wonder what kind of rose oil scent ‘Angel Face’ would give? It is really nice in terms of fragrance, but definitely not that classic damask scent. ‘Sweet Chariot’ is a nice mini (polyantha-like), but it may be hard to efficiently pick those small flowers.

There are some nicely fragrant more modern roses people mentioned (‘Sheer Bliss’, etc.). I wish there were more with the traditional damask scent in the newer ones.

Thank you everyone!!! Hopefully he can make it work.



David, even under glass, they might be better off exploring any florist varieties which might produce Damask scent. Those types are often selected for their abilities to flower under cooler temps and lower light levels. I’d think providing what “heat lovers” require to flower might out strip the profit potential. Perhaps they could employ several types, each suited to producing at various times of the year? Crimson Glory is going to require more heat to produce well than say the dark red florist types successfully brought to market over the winter months. Finding one which is suited to the winter month production containing the desired scents would be more difficult.

I don’t think he’s going to find a modern rose with the oil production of something like Damasks. They express scents, but not as pure as the OGR version and not in the intensity they do.

Angel Face tends to produce sharp + citrus – often.

I have Comte de Chambord and also Baronne Prevost, which has similar damask scent. Only problem is, that the scent does not seem to stand hot weather. In cooler climates one might get more out of them. In hot climats, Double Delight and Big Purple, also Carruth’s varieties, which have damask scent, might work better.

I have just potted many Comte de Chambord crosses, made in last summer. I have been fully surprised by the amount of early germinations. Especially Sevillana(Meilland) seems to like Chambords pollen.

I doubt you’d ever notice Angel Face’s scent over the stench of the Triforine, though.

It blooms leafless, haha.


I have a seed grown Damask from eleven years back that is like a very double Autumn Damask (It is probably an open pollinated seedling from damascena bifera), producing three or four crops a year. It is also significantly more compact than most of its clan; it has not exceeded four feet tall X five feet wide. I cannot comment on its hardiness in extreme climates, but it is a far better plant in my climate than dreary old Kazanlik, which is always dying back and behaving badly.

Anyway, this is an excellent time of year to dig suckers, if you think your friend would like to grow this Damask. I know I have a photo of this somewhere, but it will take some looking…


[attachment 207 damaskseed02.jpg]

David, this is the remontant Damask I mentioned above.

You might suggest Dolly Parton.


That bloom on your seedling D. bifera is lovely and certainly an improvement on the original bifera which I once grew. Thanks for sharing the photo.

Happy New Year to you and all,

jim p