David Austin Roses and How to Care for Them in California
David Austin is an award-winning breeder known for his outstanding roses that combine the beauty and fragrance of a classic English rose with remarkable durability and resilience. He has left quite a legacy, as his roses continue to be some of the most popular, sought-after varieties around the world. If you want to capture the tranquility and romance of a classic English garden, these beauties definitely deserve a spot in your landscape.
A California Care Guide for the David Austin Rose
Like all roses, David Austin roses need 6–8 hours of direct sunlight per day and perform best in a spot sheltered from heavy winds. Rich, well-draining soil is a must—it’s worth mixing compost into the soil before planting to improve drainage and bulk it up with nutrients. They don’t like having crowded roots, so avoid planting them close to other plants—they won’t appreciate the competition! But with flowers as beautiful as these, David Austins have plenty of visual impact to make a dramatic statement on their own.
When you plant your roses in spring, water the soil around the base of the plant every 2–3 days; avoid getting the leaves and flowers wet during the evening or early morning, as this can lead to fungal growth. Established roses can be watered once per week in spring and fall, but the soil must remain consistently moist in the hottest summer months. Spreading a thick layer of organic mulch across the soil will help to retain moisture while also preventing weeds from taking root.
David Austins are known for their repeat blooms. To keep them blooming, deadhead all spent flowers and apply fertilizer throughout the growing and flowering season, all the way into the fall. As flowers fade, you can cut back the stems to tidy up the shape of the bush. You can cut them pretty short—just keep at least three leaves on the stems.
Popular Varieties of the David Austin Rose
There are several varieties of David Austin roses, all with their own unique colors and characteristics. These blooms are in high demand with restricted availability, so be sure to check our website for available varieties in-store! If you have a particular variety in mind, we may be able to order it for you, but these roses can be hard to come by—they’re just that popular! Here are some of the varieties that we carry in-store right now.
Lady of Shalott
Classical literature buffs will appreciate this stunning cultivar. It has chalice-shaped, orange-red blooms that top arching stems, gracing your garden with elegance. This bushy shrub smells faintly of spiced apple and cloves and looks lovely in containers. It’s also a fabulous bee-attractor and will keep your pollinators busy!
The Poets Wife
This dreamy rose has vibrant yellow petals that soften and pale over time. Its flower heads are exceptionally large, with a loose group of petals contained within a frame of neat outer petals. Its refreshing scent has notes of lemon, which becomes sweeter as the plant matures.
Tess of the D’Ubervilles
For the romantics, this classic climbing red rose is a must. Its striking crimson blooms are deeply cupped, set upon a backdrop of large, dark leaves. These roses have an “Old Rose” fragrance that will transport you into another era each time you walk past them. This climber is a beautiful option to adorn arches and doorways so that you can enjoy them as you move about your garden.
A picture of perfection, the Tranquility is serene and beautiful with white, rounded flowers. The buds of this rose have a whisper of yellow, but this fades as they open into pure white. Tranquility is a medium shrub that grows bushy and upright with light green foliage, creating the perfect backdrop for these roses that will keep blooming throughout the season.
A prolific large shrub or climbing rose with sunny golden blooms; the Graham Thomas cultivar makes a fabulous choice for arbors and entryways. This variety reaches up to 12 feet in height, and its colossal beauty will completely transform your garden, bringing a charming, warm glow to the scenery.
Voluminous, candy pink blooms with a delicate, fruity scent and exceptional disease resistance make Olivia Austin a top pick for English gardens. How sweet of David Austin to name one of his most beloved cultivars after his own granddaughter! This variety is in low supply, so get it while you can.
We hope our California Rose Care Guide will help you cultivate these magnificent David Austin classics! Visit Roger’s Gardens to see all the available varieties that are ready to plant now.