How to Grow Most Fragrant Roses: 9 Science Backed Tricks

Raul is an Editor at BalconyGardenWeb and an expert in flower and herb cultivation based in Phoenix, Arizona. A frequent speaker at horticultural events, he is also an active contributor to Facebook flower groups. Holding an MBA degree, Raul blends his gardening skills with strong leadership and analytical abilities.
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Not satisfied with the scent of flowers in your garden? Don’t worry! We’ll tell you how to grow the Most Fragrant Roses!

Learning these secrets about growing the most fragrant roses will help treat your senses with soothing natural scents. Don’t worry if you are not an expert rosarian; these tips will make you a pro!

How to Grow Most Fragrant Roses

1. Plant Heirloom Varieties

You may ask why heirloom roses? Well, these old-fashioned flowers have a superior fragrance due to their lineage dating back centuries – they evolved to prioritize fragrance.

It is because of their strategic cross-pollination, which preserved and intensified their scent. They also have a broader genetic makeup than the new hybrid roses, which makes their scent more impactful.

The other contributing factors are essential oils (myrcene, geraniol, and citronellol) that have a higher concentration in Heirloom roses – vital components for the strong fragrance.

Some of the best heirloom roses you must grow for their scent are:

  • Madame Isaac Pereire’: Has an intense, raspberry-like fragrance.
  • ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’: Its pale pink blooms offer an intense scent.
  • ‘Comte de Chambord’: Has strong and rich fruity notes.
  • ‘Cécile Brünner’: Has a sweet scent.
  • ‘Mme. Ernest Calvat’: Offers a strong fragrance.
  • ‘Climbing Lady Hillingdon’: Its apricot-yellow flowers have a strong, tea-like fragrance.

2. Pick the Most Fragrant Roses

The easiest way to enjoy the best-scented roses is to pick the most fragrant ones! In rose kingdom, Hybrid Tea, Floribunda, English, Damask, and Bourbon Roses are among the most aromatic ones. If you ask us, our top picks are:

  • ‘New Dawn’: It stands out with a classic rose scent with subtle hints of spice and apple.
  • ‘Mister Lincoln’: Another rose with a distinct classic note that’s more full-bodied.
  • ‘Gertrude Jekyll’: Offers a heady fragrance with strong notes of lemon.
  • ‘Double Delight’: Has a unique spicy scent profile with a creamy undertone.
  • ‘Scepter’d Isle’: Not too subtle nor too strong – this one has a mix of myrrh and almond!

3. Proper Spacing Equals More Fragrance!

The scent of these plants depends solely on essential oils, which are most concentrated in the petals, and from there, they get dispersed into the air – this is how we perceive their fragrance.

If the roses are packed closely together, or if the plant is in a close vicinity with other ones – there will not be a good airflow – preventing the dispersion of scent molecules.

Proper spacing between plants eliminates the chances of the air becoming stagnant. Crowded plants can also create a suffocating environment, increasing the risk of fungal diseases.

You can also grow them near a patio and by a living or bedroom window – this way, you’ll get their fragrance easily!

4. Do Not Forget the Companion Plants

Fragrant Roses Companion Plants

Planting roses with fragrant herbs like lavender or rosemary can enhance the overall scent of your garden. Plus, these will also help in deterring pests that might damage flowers.

You can also try growing Alliums and members of this family – these are quite potent to combat aphids and black spots.

Growing a trap crop like nasturtium will attract aphids to itself, deflecting them from roses.

Note: These may not directly enhance the fragrance of roses, but they’ll keep the plant safe – meaning more flowers, which equals more fragrance!

5. Focus on Soil pH

Rose plants prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5. Any range below or above can disrupt the nutrient uptake of the plant, hampering the production of essential oils.

By maintaining the right pH level, you can help it play a vital role in the production of better flowers and scent compounds.

For this, get a pH meter and check the level of the growing medium.

  • Adding sulfur or organic matter like peat moss can lower pH.
  • Applying lime can raise the pH.

6. Pruning and Deadheading for Fragrant Blooms

This might sound counterintuitive, but hear me out!

There might be a chance that a certain flower doesn’t have that many scent compounds – so having it on the plant makes no sense. It would be a good idea to smell the blooms and snip the ones out that are not as fragrant as the other ones.

What this will do is:

  1. It will save the plant’s energy that’s getting wasted to maintain a less fragrant flower.
  2. It will make way for a more fragrant bud.
  3. The energy thus saved will be spent to make the remaining, more fragrant flowers last longer!

Also, focus on removing weak or inward-facing canes to redirect the plant’s energy into producing robust and fragrant flowers. Another way includes deadheading spent blooms, which helps redirect the energy to produce new flowers with a fresh fragrance.

7. Avoid Overfeeding Nitrogen Fertilizers

You should avoid overfeeding your roses with nitrogen-rich fertilizers, as it can promote excessive foliage growth at the expense of flowers.

Opt for 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 feed. This means the fertilizer has a higher proportion of phosphorus and potassium compared to nitrogen to ensure a good fragrance.

In addition to this, organic fertilizers such as bone meal, can be beneficial as it is rich in phosphorus, which supports root development and flowering without excessively fuelling foliage growth.

8. Proper Sunlight

In order to enjoy the best fragrance, you have to ensure that your rose gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. This will encourage the robust growth of flowers and enhance the production of the essential oils responsible for fragrance.

9. Mass Planting

More flowers equal more fragrance – a simple rule, right?

Planting 5-8 heirlooms and the most fragrant varieties together that we have mentioned above is the best way to enjoy the fragrance!

It will not only intensify individual rose scents but will also encourage a fusion of fragrances that can fill the air with bold rose scents!

Put these Things in Your Rose Planting Hole for More Flowers

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